When I think back to the first few days of “lockdown” I remember how I tried to work out a strategy to try to get around the rules. At first it was unbelievable to think that one could only go to the store once a day. We worked out ways to even jog, only to quickly slip back into the store. We thought our “shopping days are over”. Even not being allowed to go to the office was terrifying at first. And now?

Checkers 60/60 are seen everywhere. People buy houses and live in towns or cities different from where they used to live, but still work for the same company.

All that was missing was a “MIND SHIFT”. During “lockdown” there were quite a few such mind shifts. COVID has forced us to think differently.

It was like yesterday that some of our SPAR customers approached us during “lockdown” to develop an online platform for them. As some of you probably know, SPARs belong to individuals with ownership very different from Pick & Pay and totally different from Checkers. Due to this diverse ownership and the way stores operate independently to SPAR head office, the group had no online platform during COVID. Of course, it was chaos at many of these stores and initially, they took orders via WhatsApp. To cut a long story short, one of our companies ended up developing an online platform for some of the stores. The platform’s name is ShopStop and is still used by some of the SPAR stores. Naturally, SPAR South Africa realised that they could not continue to function without an online system and then made a major effort to develop such a platform. SPAR2U was developed and is operated by most of the stores.

Here are 4 of the biggest advantages of online shopping:

The fact that almost every industry has repositioned itself for online sales has made a new world of products available. Today one can buy any possible product online. At LANDRANI®, which is 25km outside Oudtshoorn, Takealot delivers any article. From groceries for the restaurant to refrigerators, stoves, furniture, etc. EVERYTHING IS DELIVERED

I remember the one year my wife and I attended a Meatmaster auction at the Bloemfontein Showgrounds. We drove the van and trailer so we could drive the purchases home after the auction. Among other things, I bought a very nice ram that year. Pictures were taken and there was great excitement. Until I get to the van and see that the window is broken. Two Apple laptops, my wife’s handbag, etc. stolen. What an anticlimax it had been. I personally think twice before going to an auction because even with good security my weekend was spoiled.

Home Delivery
Logistics and driving with a trailer is really just an annoyance. Our roads are getting worse and vehicles more and more unroadworthy. In the last month I have already received 3 flat tires. Just outside Ashton I had to change a tire in 37 degrees. As with shopping, it’s a lot less trouble if the Checkers 60/60 motorcycle rings our bell than if we have to drive to Checkers.

Time saving
With the Bloemfontein auction, I drove from George and had to sleep over because it is impossible to drive, buy and drive back again in one day. It literally took 3 days to seize.

So why does online sales work in the consumer goods market?

The merchants have managed to create enough trust in the system so that the consumer feels comfortable with the risks surrounding an online transaction.

What does this have to do with sheep farming?

Well, me and my team of programmers had a cabin meeting and decided that our IntelliFarm™ data will address the trust aspect and the ShopStop platform gives us the perfect access to the digital world. By integrating the two we have all the tools to literally duplicate what has been happening in the consumer goods market since COVID and apply it to sell some of our animals. Of course, this does not replace our soft auction strategy, we will operate both. The soft auction, with its digital component, is for groups of 20 animals where the online platform will only have a minimum requirement of 5 animals.

And so the LANDRANI® Meatmasters “app” is born. An app on which some of our animals will appear for sale directly to any buyer anywhere in South Africa. Just like Checkers has their motorbikes and SPAR their cars, we have decided to make a delivery service available once a month from the Cape to Pretoria. Of course not delivered to the farm, but at central points on the route.

We are going to aim to go live within the next two weeks. And as already mentioned we will expand the platform to IntelliFarm™ users once we have paid all our school fees.

As always, I will keep you posted on our progress.