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Introducing TFGLabs: Investment in omnichannel technology continues to transform TFG

Leading fashion and lifestyle retailer TFG shared its strategy to revolutionise the omnichannel experience and transform into Africa's leading high-tech omnichannel retailer. "We are laying the foundations to become the largest, most reliable and most profitable e-commerce destination on the continent; via a simplified, customer-centric approach, aimed at maximising group scale, minimising duplication and cost, and leveraging our incredible assets," shared newly appointed co-chief omni officer Claude Hanan. The announcement came as part of the retailer's 2021 financial year-end presentation.
Introducing TFGLabs: Investment in omnichannel technology continues to transform TFG

TFG consists of multiple award-winning, well-established brands that combined provide the consumer with unrivalled selection and choice and a world-class customer experience. “A few things separate us from pureplay and bricks competitors: Our catalogue of in-house and third-party brands, local manufacturing with quick response capability, our vast store network putting us closer to customers and a credit and value added services capability with strong customer retention rates. We have built customer relationships that span decades via the work of our talented store teams who provide a world-class shopping experience. We won’t lose this – the future of retail is omni,” added Hanan.

Leading with technology through a customer lens

To deliver this world-class shopping experience, TFG is investing in expertise and technical capabilities. This strategic focus has included the creation of a new customer capability function and the appointment of a chief customer officer ensuring the customer remains front and centre.

Further to this the group has appointed seasoned entrepreneurs as co-chief omni officers to deliver on its digital transformation strategy. They announced the launch of TFGLabs – a division within TFG operating at the speed of a startup. TFGLabs is already attracting the continent’s best tech talent to develop software and solutions that will delight customers and redefine the shopping experience, reshaping the omni-channel capabilities of the group.

This will afford it significant growth opportunities and result in the search for strong talent to take up the many new positions that this growth will open up.

Fulfilment excellence: owning the last mile

With its vast network of stores, TFG is well-positioned to offer a click and collect experience second to none in SA. With over three thousand locations, buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) brings products closer to customers, lowering delivery times and fulfilment costs, allowing cash payment and faster refunds. This strategy is highly effective internationally but is under-serviced In South Africa.

We started viewing our stores as mini-DCs over a year ago, via our one-stock initiative – enabled by RFID making every stock unit ‘visible’ to customers, regardless of its location. Many stores are within close proximity of our loyal customers, allowing us to drive down delivery times and costs.

Customers now demand an offering that allows them to buy what they want, how they want, when they want and where they want. This strategy implemented over the last few years is positioned to offer customers an always-on ‘one-stop-shop’.

Owning the last mile experience enables TFG to improve the customer experience and enhance brand loyalty. This ensures greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Providing the customer with better product selection drives sales growth, higher conversion rates and increased basket sizes. As trust is earned over time, the frequency of visits and spend per customer increases.

The click and collect function has evolved into a significant strategic advantage that positions the retailer to provide superior customer service and experience, enabling every store to become an easily accessible collection point for customers.

A revolution realised

TFG continues to reap the positive impact of a clearly defined digital strategy and is ready to revolutionise the company for the next season of growth. Established with significant scale across store and customer bases and decades of investment into supplier relationships and manufacturing capabilities – the business now plans to take full advantage of this defensible foundation and transform TFG into Africa’s leading high-tech omnichannel retailer.

“For over a century, TFG has strategically grown an impressive industry-leading portfolio of SA’s most loved brands in retail. The opportunity now exists to unleash this considerable brand portfolio online, taking advantage of the many omni-channel opportunities and further enhance its brand loyalty. The revolution of TFG’s omni channel platform offers South African consumers the brands, unrivaled selection of quality products, and the freedom to shop seamlessly across a myriad of locations. The simplicity of shopping when they want and how they want to will create an incredible strategic advantage for TFG,” concluded Hanan.

About TFG:

With 31 retail brands that trade in fashion, value, jewellery, accessories, sporting apparel, cellular, homeware and furniture, TFG is one of the leading retail groups in South Africa. Besides South Africa, TFG Africa also has a presence in Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini through various retail brands. TFG first entered the UK market through the acquisition of the premium womenswear brand Phase Eight in 2015, followed by the acquisition of Whistles in 2016 and Hobbs in 2017. TFG’s presence in the Australian market was strengthened through its acquisition in July 2017 of Retail Apparel Group Pty Ltd (RAG), a leading Australian menswear apparel retailer. TFG’s vision is to be the leading fashion lifestyle retailer in Africa whilst growing its international footprint. TFG has over 4,300 outlets in 26 countries, and employs more than 34,500 people with over 26,3 million customers (RSA).

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10 Jun 2021 14:04