A textbook example of effective cross-border expansion
Those familiar with the way we do business won’t be surprised to hear that there was nothing random about this project. The move was
meticulously planned and the highly successful Grand Opening of the first store attested to the fact that nothing was left to chance.
To get the ball rolling, the OBC Group entered into a development agreement with African Alliance, an investor seeking attractive retail opportunities in neighbouring countries. They already have a presence
there and are keen to build on this.
We jointly identified a suitable site in the rapidly growing Nhlangano district of the Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). On the strength of African Alliance signing up as the anchor tenant, a new strip mall was built to our specifications and we could secure prime exposure for our brand.
The impact of this development on the local economy (and the business potential this offers the operator) cannot be overestimated. Up to now, locals simply did not have convenient access to a butchery that combined range, quality, price and service in the unique way OBC does.
On the 25th of March 2019, our cross-border expansion plans became reality. The first OBC Better Butchery store on foreign soil started trading in the Nhlangano district of the Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland.) In response to the enthusiastic reception the brand received, a site has been secured in Matsapa and we expect the store to open in July 2019. An additional site may be secured before year-end.
This has now changed.
- The interior of the new OBC store is airy, well-lit and attractively merchandised
- The range on offer is tailored to meet
- Staff are friendly, knowledgeable and
Add these factors together and it is easy to see why the store draws shoppers like a magnet but another aspect comes into play as well.
Because many locals had visited South Africa or had even lived here for some time, the OBC brand was already familiar to them. They were excited that they now can shop at an OBC store at their own doorstep.
A truly grand Grand Opening
Well before 07:00 AM on the day of the grand opening, a throng of shoppers had formed outside the store, eagerly awaiting its opening.
They were anxious to get into the store as early as possible because they wanted to get their hands onto some of the exciting opening
specials. They needn’t have worried. We made sure that there was sufficient stock to meet demand not only on opening day but every day there after as well.
Whilst opening specials were available on opening day only, those who had missed out or simply wanted a second bite at the cherry were
well catered for. Grocery vouchers to a total value of E30,000.00 were made available and every day throughout the first 30 days of trading, one lucky shopper who purchased goods for as little as E80,00 or more had the chance to win an E1,000.00 shopping voucher. During the pre-opening campaign, a wide range of media was used to alert shoppers
to the opening of the OBC store. The outdoor advertising boards (see next page for an example) proved especially successful in getting the message across.
Extensive media coverage
Eager shoppers weren’t the only ones who were excited that the OBC brand had finally arrived at their doorstep. Two respected local newspapers, the Swazi News and the Observer on Saturday, devoted full pages to reports on the store opening. Indeed, the Observer on Saturday quoted one shopper as saying, “The OBC store has come to Nhlangano at the right
time. Even low-income earners can now find everything they need in one place and buy it at prices they can afford.”
Ambitious roll-out programme
Not surprisingly, the African Alliance representatives were thrilled by the local population’s acceptance of the first OBC store. Branch manager Lucky Manana was quoted in the press as saying, “My excitement is equal to that shown by the shoppers. It is clear that the opening of this OBC store in the southern part of the Kingdom was what the people were waiting for. I want to thank African Alliance’s directors for their foresight in making this investment. “Motivated by the people’s endorsement of the OBC brand, African Alliance’s directors have
set funds aside to finance the establishment of up to 10 stores in the Kingdom of Eswatini within the next three years. Not only is this good news for shoppers throughout the land, it also means the creation of much needed jobs for the local population in areas where work opportunities are scarce.
Our presence in South Africa remains our key focus
There is no need for our established and future South African franchisees to worry that we might take our eyes off the ball when it comes to serving our home market. Our move across South Africa’s borders does not change our commitment to our established South African
franchisees. In addition, many untapped opportunities remain available locally and we are determined to exploit them.
Opportunities there for the taking
It is interesting to note that although over 50 OBC stores are up and running, market research confirms that there is potential for double this number of stores or more. We therefore have put plans in place to increase the current number of local stores within the next five years or so. This opens up opportunities not only for newcomers to the OBC Family but also for established franchisees who successfully operate one or more stores and want to acquire additional ones. This is an attractive investment opportunity because our target market, LSM three to six, continues to be the largest market segment by far, and also the fastest-growing. It has consistently shown huge appetite for the daily essentials we offer and this will not change in the foreseeable future.