Open for Business
Cash Converters continues to create sustainable wealth for its franchisees, the second-hand retail brand determined to keep the regional economy moving through challenging times
Writer: Tom Wadlow | Project Manager: Josh Hyland
In a time of unprecedented global and regional challenges, making the most of what you have is more important than ever.
The ongoing battle to contain and emerge from the global coronavirus pandemic has and will continue to see lives lost and economies strained, testing the resolve of societies all over the world as they battle to return to some degree of normality.
With budgets stretched and incomes squeezed, businesses and consumers are having to make their resources last, what Cash Converters’ Adeola Adetunji has labelled a period of ‘recommerce’.
“There is no doubt that times are tough in South Africa and the Southern African region, but our brand has shown tremendous resilience and entrepreneurial spirit, and the business continues to operate successfully,” he says. “This is the ideal time to re-evaluate how we consume goods and how we protect the world by reducing, reusing and recycling.
“Our second-hand goods are going to be in huge demand as production closes off or slows down, which is a welcome good news story – people will have the opportunity to get 100 percent of the utility for around half of the cost.”
Adetunji has been brought on board as a partner in a joint venture to expand the Cash Converters brand into the rest of Africa, ably supporting CEO Richard Mukheibir as the company looks to futureproof itself by expanding into regional markets outside of its Southern Africa stronghold.
Beyond this, in South Africa and further afield, Cash Converters has a vital role to play in keeping the wheels of the economy moving during times of difficulty.
Not only has the coronavirus dented economic activity and created an emergency health crisis, the South African business backdrop is also having to cope with political flux, oil price volatility and the ever-likely threat of financial recession.
“Africa is extremely resilient, and we will collectively emerge stronger from this period,” Adetunji says. “We must be there for our franchisees and suppliers who continue to support us and keep us going, whether they be our store owners, bag manufacturers or laptop technicians.
“Of course, we must also act responsibly in the situation we find ourselves in with regards to hygiene, but Cash Converters has huge opportunities to grow, and as a company it is up to us to keep producing positive news. This crisis will pass, and we will move into a functioning, lively economy on the other side.”
And this is exactly what the company has been doing.
Always looking for new franchisees to join its South African network, Cash Converters continues to appeal to those seeking to move from a traditional corporate environment to one of business ownership, providing the infrastructure and support needed to make what could otherwise be a daunting transition.
Indeed, the last time we caught up with Mukheibir in 2019, the CEO highlighted how the firm is poised to help rebuild and grow the South African economy once again.
“Every store that we open generates its own microeconomy around it,” he told us, “and further digitisation and expansion will only increase the positive impact of our brand, not just in South Africa but other Sub-Saharan countries we are looking at investing in.”
This is where Adetunji takes centre stage. Locally based and armed with extensive local knowledge of how to expand into new markets, the company’s newest partner also has an impressive track record working with global brands.
“Cash Converters has been working on an African expansion plan for the past year and I am excited to be playing my part in making this happen,” Adetunji says. “We are at the implementation stage and are looking to open new stores across West Africa in the second half of 2020.
“The idea is to take our learnings from South Africa and combine this with an appreciation of the local cultures and customs, adapting what we do to suit the local retail markets. This is a huge opportunity for us, as nothing like this exists on the continent in the way we have packaged it.”
Internally, the company is also well-placed to carry out this expansion and take advantage of the recommerce era.
This has involved streamlining various processes and investing in technology, activity which is geared towards enabling franchise partners to fully maximise their Cash Converters opportunity.
In 2019 Mukheibir spoke of the point of sale system named CCPOS, a solution which is hosted over the Microsoft stack platform. One of the major benefits described at the time was the potential to utilise the power of information, the data stored by the system allowing operators to monitor customer trends and stock levels.
Now CCPOS is fully in place, the company is ready to move online in the future.
However, for Mukheibir, the authenticity of the in-store experience must and will never be compromised, and ecommerce is viewed as a means to build on the customer experience.
“Although we have built out a central database and IT platform, and are perfectly positioned to utilise the data contained within our systems, the thrill of the treasure hunt in one of our stores will never be entirely replaced by an online offering,” he says.
“Online marketplaces create fantastic convenience for our customers, so while it does not replace the physical, it certainly enhances it.”
Indeed, the move to online represents a new era for Cash Converters and is another example of how the firm continues to adapt to an ever-changing environment in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa.
By embracing new ways of thinking, new ways of supporting franchise partners and encouraging an era of recommerce, the company is now better placed than ever to deal with the challenges of the day, be it the coronavirus pandemic or other causes for uncertainty.
Mukheibir concludes buoyantly: “Although the environment is difficult, we are proud of what we have achieved and are as convinced as ever in our model and its sound operations. Our message is that we remain very much open for business.”