SOUTH AFRICA – The battle for market share is intensifying among South Africa’s major retailers, with Pick n Pay the latest to fire a salvo through its price comparison promotion, Brand Match.

South African consumers are closely eyeing their personal balance sheets as ever-increasing living costs, escalating debt and poor job prospects constrain spending, rendering a fiercer fight between supermarket groups.

“Given the pressure they’re [customers] facing, they are shopping around for the best prices and deals being offered…this can take time and can be confusing.

Brand Match offers them the opportunity of not having to shop around, wasting time and money, particularly because in our price comparisons we are including special offers and promotions at our competitors,” Pick n Pay CEO Richard Brasher said on Sunday.

Under Brand Match, Pick n Pay will compare its prices of one thousand top-selling branded products with prices in other supermarket chains.

The grocer, who spent over six months developing Brand Match, worked with research company Nielsen to establish the list of one thousand grocery products that local shoppers spend the most on.

When a Pick n Pay customer buys ten or more different products, and at least one is in the Brand Match thousand, it will trigger an instant price comparison at the till.

If the total of their Brand Match products would have cost less elsewhere, the customer will instantly receive a cash-off coupon for the difference — up to a maximum R50, available to spend for their next shop.

“… It also helps us as a company. By comparing prices against our competitors every week, and offering our customers money back if and when we are more expensive, we’re putting pressure on ourselves as a team. That’s good because it will encourage us to buy better, manage stock more effectively…” Mr Brasher said.

The promotion is similar one implemented by UK retailer Sainsbury’s.

While Pick n Pay would not name any of the 1,000 stock keeping units (SKUs), they did say that the compilation covered the best-selling grocery lines in its stores.

“Our smart shopper [loyalty programme] data shows that for the most part, our customers are buying an average of less than half of these” he added.

Pick n Pay is using two independent research groups to collate the prices of these one thousand products at other supermarkets.

“Prices are gathered from a minimum of two stores per region of each supermarket group,” the group added.

Woolworths’ bigger store, supermarket strategy continues to perform well-encouraging its customers to complete their shop and spend more with the retailer.

Over the past three years, the company has aimed to be the destination of choice for grocery shoppers in the upper living standards measure (LSM) 8-10 segment by extending its ranges, expanding stock-keeping units, offering more branded goods, introducing more bulk, investing in price and expanding space.

“One of the things we’ve got better at is listening to our customers, they wanted more choice, more brands and better values and we drove the business in that direction,” CEO Ian Moir said last week.

The company has upped its marketing by moving into broadsheet advertising. Its Daily Difference catalogue, that showcases price promotions, is available in its stores, as well as in newspapers — as Pick n Pay’s and Checker’s ads are.

August 31, 2014;

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