The retail business in Uganda has been steadily over the recent years owing to the steady rise of a middle class in Uganda.
By Billy Rwothungeyo
The retail business in Uganda has been steadily over the recent years owing to the steady rise of a middle class in Uganda. The growth of a middle class and their need for one stop shopping, the retail business has attracted players from Kenya and South Africa. “Gone are the days when people used to fear walking into a supermarket. People today are more informed about shopping.
That is why retail business is growing,” Willy Kakuru, the manager of Ntinda branch. Even in the midst of the onslaught from foreign players, a local supermarket; Capital Shoppers has stamped its mark on the industry. From a small store in the busy area of Nakasero, the supermarket has expanded to have branches in Nakawa, adjacent to Makerere University Business School (MUBS), Ntinda and more recently, Garden City mall. Kakuru says that the fact that Capital Shoppers is one of the major players in retail business is a testament that they are doing many things right.“You cannot grow in business by accident.
We are thriving because of the special attention that we give to the needs of our customers,” he says. “That shows us that we are doing very many things right. We have it in future plans to expand our services even beyond Uganda’s borders,” says Kakuru Patience Aryaija, the Human Resources Manager at Capital Shoppers says they work for “people” as opposed to working for an “organisation.” “We are motivated towards serving the customer, than simply satisfying our bosses. This gives everything we do a personal touch,” she says.
What gives Capital Shoppers the edge?
Kakuru says Capital Shoppers is taking a deliberate effort to serve their clientele better by locating their branches strategically. “Most of our branches are located where there is secure and enough parking space, so that customers have peace of mind while shopping.” he says. He further says the customer loyalty programme, where clientele are given cards on which they can redeem whenever they shop above a certain amount of money is a major plus for their customers. “Other players in the retail business also have such cards, but the rewards are more competitive.
We offer up to 4% discount, others are giving 1.5% or 2%,” he says. “We try to keep our prices as low as possible so we can attract customers from different classes. In our supermarkets, we receive diplomats, as well as students, that shows you how we serve pretty much everyone who can access our branches.” Kakuru also says that says that the supermarket makes efforts to get as much feedback from customers as possible. “We have customer feedback forms that we give out to our customers. We ask them to be as sincere as possible about what they think about our services,” he says. Aryaija owes the mercurial growth of Capital Shoppers the variety of goods, both local and imported.
A few years back, the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU) launched a campaign dubbed “Proudly Ugandan”, to encourage Ugandans to consume more Ugandan products. Some stakeholders in the retail business have been criticised for not giving Ugandan products the same mileage as imported ones in their stalls. Aryaija says Capital Shoppers treats products equally. “We give each product its own space, whether it is Ugandan or from somewhere else.
This makes shopping easy. We have so many Ugandan products, when you look at the plastics, the milk, even simple brooms,” she says. Besides rewarding customers with points, Aryaija says Capital Shoppers have vouchers that they issue to different companies. “If a company wants to reward employees with, for example, Christmas presents, instead moving the gifts into the workplace, you can give them (employees) vouchers and then they come and shop from our outlets,” she says.
Capital Shoppers’ unstoppable growth