In our world today, the trend is faster. And this trend, which speaks with so many languages, is transforming the essence of what it means to live in today’s world. Healthcare, hospitality, transportation and agricultural industristries have all been affected, but the sector that has experienced the biggest effect is the retail industry. The very definition of what it means to package goods and services, to market these goods and services, and receive payments for them have transformed exponentially.
Today, no reputable retail business in Africa can claim success without at least operating on a digitised level. This could be offering delivery services, non-cash modes of payments, a mobile application (software), a POS system, ecommerce, and online marketing or advertisements.
When people are looking for who to blame for this basic shift, the middle class is often fingered. They are the largest group with the financial dexterity to influence markets that belong to either the upper class or the lower class.
The middle class can quite simply refer to the people in-between the upper class and the lower class in social settings or the wealthy and poor. The middle class is usually the most populous economic range in every typically-functioning society. They are often characterized by professionals who work salaried jobs and are able to provide for themselves and their dependents with all the basic amenities. A continued pattern like this would eventually result in a section of people who are aware of what they want, how they want it, how better it can get and the buying power to back it up. They dictate the trends because they can afford to whilst also not having the luxury to settle for goods and services that does not bend to their financial and time constraints.
Gradually, we are seeing a shift from the traditional retail systems and processes to a more modern, “accessibility-based” version. This means that people are favoring goods and services that do not inconvenience them and also does not hinder their ability to flourish and exist in the high-speed “tech-savvy” world of today. POS systems have been favored as the method of choice for many retailers, ranging from traditional to multinational structures. This does not happen by chance. The era dictates this.
The number one worry that companies, especially big multinational manufacturers and suppliers, battle with is their inability to flow with the trend and have a finger on the pulse of the market. The ever-changing tastes of the public at the very unit level is often lost to these companies who have a tangible disconnect with their actual consumers. An appropriate solution to this would be the integration of the company value chain with a software that is tailored to the African markets. This software would be able to track a product from the factory, all the way to the final consumer. This would make trend predictions easier since there will be proper intelligence gathered in real time to that effect. This would also boost product quality, easy recall of defective goods and proper oversight of all company processes. KudiGo RapidGate is a perfect example of a software that can integrate seamlessly with the organizational structures of a goods manufacturing and supply company.
It is also crucial to understand the basic power that ecommerce holds in today’s world. It is one of the fastest evolving sectors with a steady growth of users as more and more of the world becomes modernized. The middle class, for reasons such as convenience, speed, accessibility and ease, are very interested in online retail services. Their access to money, tech know-how makes it easy for this economic class to boost ecommerce to be the powerhouse it is today. In 2019, an estimated 1.92 billion people made retail purchases online.
The middle class are not a group of people to be trifled with, their purchasing power can break and make a retail company. However, they are not to be seen as the enemy. They are a very necessary and integral part of the economic and social ecosystem who need to be collaborated with to ensure that top-notch goods and services are constantly provided in a healthy and competitive market.