Customer Satisfaction Drives Spar Passion
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Callum Philp
With more than 12,000 stores around the globe, the SPAR name is one of the most recognisable in the retail world; a cachet that Zimbabwe’s arm is leveraging to full effect in becoming the most sough-after store in the country.
With a presence across four continents and more than 35 countries, the reputation and notoriety are firmly in place in establishing a concerted influence on individual markets, but this isn’t to say that the Group doesn’t diversify to remain relevant in each operating country.
It has been an adherence to local consumer trends, market conditions and indigenous produce which has endeared SPAR to the Zimbabwean public since the mid-1960s.
Expanding and developing amid the wider country’s own progression, SPAR’s core attributes have really come into their own in recent years, with industry uptake and customer demand much more conducive to the Company’s primary vision; “To be the most exciting, innovative and sought-after retail brand in Zimbabwe”.
Operating more than 100 stores 12 months ago across its SPAR, SPAR Express and SaveMor platforms, the subsequent year has comprised a three-pronged strategy, in line with its main continuous improvement ethos, to introduce more stores, diversify its products and to introduce new ideas and technologies to the industry at large.
The former is a continuation of an expansion that has taken place since SPAR’s inception in the country, as the Company stated last year: “At SPAR we are committed to developing the SPAR business by offering stores with modern layouts and the promise of world-class shopping. This commitment has enhanced our reputation as a progressive and exciting brand and supermarket business.
“We continue to focus on customer care through initiatives and programmes designed to enable our stores to provide the best possible service to our customers, especially through our service departments.”
With the main complement of stores supported by its vast array of ‘Little Heroes’, the platform on which to introduce new products and new concepts is unrivalled in the country, and SPAR utilises this competitive advantage to dictate market maturity also.
One such introduction to its stores in 2015 has been the launch of its Spar Payzone technology, an in-store booth enabling customers to not only shop, but to take care of their banking requirements also; further monopolising the turnkey, one-stop shop model that has led SPAR to becoming the dominant player that it is.
Making a difference
Alongside Payzone, SPAR will also run a loyalty programme in partnership with other brands in Zimbabwe, spanning clothing, retail and security sectors among others.
Once again this emphasises the influence that the Company has on a national scale in Zimbabwe, and is compounded by its corporate social responsibility efforts also.
“There are three important factors in the continued growth of this unique organisation of independent retailers. Firstly, we have great pride in the achievement of being the world’s largest food store chain. Secondly, in SPAR we understand that it is our people who make the difference. Finally, we are passionate about meeting the real needs of our consumers,” the Company stated.
Making a difference goes far beyond providing the best quality or best price of food, drink, cleaning products or cosmetics; also embracing the need to enrich the wider communities.
This vision stems back to its inception and the origins of the organisation itself where Dutch wholesaler, Adriaan Van Well first outlined his philosophy of working in collaboration; whether that be with wholesalers, fellow retailers, or the communities themselves.
This process begins by making its products available and accessible to as many people as possible; an initiative currently being honed in on through its ‘locked down’ feature which guarantees certain prices on products will remain the same for a month.
Further outside of the SPAR domain, the Company is equally proactive through projects such its Community Benefits Scheme which supports its annual Pensioners Day by putting on activities for older members of the community.
At SPAR’s Braeside outlet, the Company has built upon its previous job creation projects to further enrich the community through the construction of a community borehole.
“Our wish has always been to offer our community something that will benefit them for longer, on a more sustainable basis, and we finally have that very thing,” explained the outlet’s owner, Daren Lança at the time of the opening. “We value the community in which we operate in and the support of our local residents is immeasurable. By opening up this water facility, we are simply giving back to a well-deserving community and hope that this makes life a little bit more comfortable for everyone.”
Initiatives and engagement such as this, alongside the ‘shoppertainment’ that SPAR has pioneered within its stores, continues to build upon the trustworthy brand name that SPAR has formed in Zimbabwe, and indeed the world.
And with a new employee structure in place to ensure that the same developments are being made internally, it will undeniably continue to be the customers who benefit most in years to come.
“You, our valued customer, come first. Your satisfaction drives our passion,” the Company concluded.