The Essential Group would like to welcome Arthur, Tersia and the whole Snel family from Seabreeze, a highly respected retailer based in Amanzimtoti, KZN, to the family.
To frame this article, it’s important to discuss the main reason Seabreeze felt comfortable to partner with The Essential Group.
Previously, most supplier accounts were being run through a central head office group account, creating a relationship gap between Seabreeze, the individual store, and their suppliers. As a result of this relationship gap, the Owners of Seabreeze experienced a serious constraint on their ability to maximise their entrepreneurship to be able to act decisively on local opportunities as they arose. The central account itself, became more of a problem than the helpful service it was expected to be, and in fact, was likely to cost Seabreeze substantial bottom line contribution for early settlements and other deals they relinquished to their Buying Group.
Conclusion: The central account service was a burden to the business.
Solution: The Essential Group offerings. Customised to a specific need.
Result: In the first two months since partnering with EBuild, the store has enjoyed 22% growth in their gross profit, which has been attributed to having direct accounts with suppliers.
Seabreeze felt constrained by having to rely only on the (strong) retail brand name they were associated with, which in today’s world, is problematic. Consumers and businesses alike expect more than a brand name from those they will support. Things such as being genuinely involved in one’s community, building meaningful relationships with customers, looking beyond the boundaries of the store and into “how can I help build this community in a sustainable manner” are crucial. Once again, being able to exercise entrepreneurial flair was being hindered by corporate compliance.
Conclusion: Seabreeze needed the freedom to act on their entrepreneurial abilities.
Solution: Essential Growth Solutions and the customisable Eco-System
The simple truth of it all is that different “Buying Groups” have different offerings and they all have a place in the South African context. The Essential Group has positioned and resourced itself to attract members that align with our strategy, that ensures storeowners retain 100% control of their business, while supporting them with customised value adding options for exponential growth towards business maturity in retailing.
For a store to switch from a powerful and justifiably well-respected retail brand to another, would require a compelling business case that was well-aligned to achieve long-term goals.
So, with summary of the history that was constraining growth, as above, what is it that attracted Seabreeze to the Essential Group?
The Power of the “Pack":
Initially, the key components of establishing any long term relationship should be getting to know one another.
- Do the values, strategies and cultures align?
- Is there a feasible change-management strategy, from a current status quo, that mitigates the risk?
- Does the change align with both parties long term goals?
- Is there belief in the common Vision?
- Can we help each other grow, sustainably?
The decision-making process was thoughtful, thorough and comprehensive in every way and afforded the Essential team the opportunity to “test” our Eco-System model in a real-world scenario from a Retailers perspective.
All credit to Arthur, Tersia and their management team, who questioned and challenged every aspect of the offering, then, once satisfied with the alignment, acted decisively and quickly. Within a month, old signage was down and new signage was going up, agreements with suppliers were well underway, email addresses, websites, social pages and other customer-facing branding was being changed.