The Foschini Group launches tech hub to drive its e-commerce growth ambitions

SOUTH AFRICARetail clothing group, The Foschini Group (TFG) has launched TFGLabs, its new tech hub to drive its omnichannel and e-commerce growth ambitions.

The new TFGLabs is led by Superbalist co-founders and seasoned online entrepreneurs Luke Jedeikin and Claude Hanan, who serve as joint chief omni-officers.

Hanan said TFG was on a journey to 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,” said Hanan.

TFG said TFGLabs was already attracting the continent’s best tech talent to develop software and solutions that would redefine the shopping experience, reshaping the omni-channel capabilities of the group.

The group said this would afford it significant growth opportunities and result in the search for strong talent to take up the many new positions that this growth would open up.

Speaking during the group’s financial results presentation for the year to the end of March  2021 held virtually earlier June, TFG chief executive Anthony Thunström said TFGLabs would take the company to the next level.

Thunström said Hannan and Jadeikin represented the best talent in South African e-commerce and were bringing their experience to help the company build on its omnichannel foundation.

“TFGLabs is being set up to operate as a software business with a highly entrepreneurial and high-performance culture,” said Thunström.

TFG, which has more than 4,300 outlets in 26 countries, reported that online retail turnover in TFG Africa and TFG Australia had exceeded management’s expectations and that its total online sales jumped by 33 percent during the year to the end of March 2021, with the strongest online growth coming from South Africa, which grew by 132 percent.

TFG said with its vast network of stores, it was well positioned domestically to offer a click and collect experience second to none.

TFG had more than 3,000 buy online pick up in store locations that brought products closer to customers, lowered delivery times and fulfilment costs, allowed cash payment and faster refunds.

Hanan said this strategy was highly effective internationally but was under-serviced In South Africa.

“We started viewing our stores as mini-distribution centres over a year ago via our one-stock initiative – enabled by Radio Frequency Identification – 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,” said Hanan.

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