In April, Statistics SA revealed that 55,000 SMMEs would not survive the pandemic, with at least a further 42,350 job losses from this sector.
Business-owners that were able to provide an essential service or make use of online shopping were some of the few that narrowly avoided becoming a statistic. Long-standing Pietermaritzburg family-run business, Hall's Retail is one of these businesses that relied on their forward-thinking technological adaptations to stay relevant through the nationwide lockdown.
"The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to look inwards for the first time in a long time to decide where they are wasting money, how they can optimise and how can they make their processes more efficient by using less resources," said Martin Hall, director of Hall's Retail.
Formed in 1989, Hall's Retail began after a need for adhesives and chemicals was identified by founders, Barry and Jenny Hall. Their sons Andrew and Martin joined the business and have added their own touches to the business's offering and processes.
"The world is changing, and consumers are changing every day. Often companies, especially SMMEs unknowingly neglect their customers because they aren't able to get the insights they need from the customer," said Hall.
Hall's is focused on providing the ultimate customer experience and as such the strategy has been structured to adapt to unforeseen changes and challenges businesses in the current climate may face - whether it be a pandemic, legislative, habitual or just a new generation of unique shopping preferences.
Through the successful recent launch of both a business-to-business and a business-to-customer e-commerce portal, Hall's customers are able to place orders, check order statuses and request statements from their mobile device or computer. Hall's has also implemented artificial intelligence to these portals to connect customers in real-time to their sales team for advice, orders and timeous service for all customers.
"Customer habits and spending have changed with technological advances, customers want instant gratification in a uniform, with a convenient and consistent shopping experience. Using the variety of tools available for businesses to deliver this expectation, in turn, enables us to deliver a better service," said Hall.
He continues: "We focused on a 360° sales plan to ensure that everyone benefits - our manufacturing, wholesale, contracting and small business clients and the general public repertoire we have built up over the years."
"Hall's Retail is not complete; it is a journey we are on to create a world-class brand. We pride ourselves on our ability to see and adapt to change and be innovative with our products in addressing the customer's problem with a solution," said Hall.
The Hall's family understand that, while their past methods have brought them great success thus far, they have had to adapt to survive in the new economic space.
"Change is difficult and it's easy to become resistant to it but acknowledging and embracing change will put you ahead of all your competitors," said Hall.
For more information about Hall's Retail, contact (033) 394 3976, email moc.liatersllah@selas
or visit www.hallsretail.com