While most companies expand into Northern Africa, Van Schaik Bookstore has chosen the Southern region; Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland. “Having stores in most areas of South Africa, it made perfect sense to expand into the closest neighbouring parts of Africa. We have many years of industry knowledge and expertise to draw from and a very strong infrastructure with solid systems in place. We were also fortunate that the opportunities presented itself owing to developing relationships and seeing the potential for growth.” says Stephan Erasmus, MD, Van Schaik Bookstore.
It started in 2006 when they opened their first store in Windhoek at the University of Namibia, the second Namibian store was opened also at the University in Ongwediwa in 2012. Last year saw the company opening a branch in Gaborone at Fairgrounds Mall and four stores in Swaziland; three at the University of Swaziland and one at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology. This affords them the opportunity to service not only the students from the universities, tertiary learning institutions and schools in the surrounding areas, but also students studying through UNISA.
“Nelson Mandela expressed that he had a dream to build an Africa that is prosperous, where human potential has the opportunity to flourish, and where nobody is left behind. This goes hand-in-hand with Van Schaik’s mission to supply academic resources to all students in Africa via retail stores and digital channels, by utilizing our expert knowledge and well developed infrastructure to deliver outstanding service.” continues Erasmus.
Expanding into Africa certainly comes with challenges that you have to adapt your strategy to like setting up telecommunication systems, infrastructure, timing (since in Botswana and Swaziland they follow a different semester system), unique marketing mix and socio-economic system. “The market is currently still small as far as education is concerned; we’re hoping to grow that. Also, the funding is erratic, but we are looking at it as a long term investment.” Erasmus concludes.
This year was particularly imported as the company launched their Rewards Card programme into Africa. The programme is aimed at rewarding individual customers for shopping at Van Schaik Bookstore. Rewards Card members get access to exclusive promotions, discounts, competitions and freebies. To become a Rewards Card member, you simply complete a form in-store. For more information click on http://rewards.vanschaik.com