Pick n Pay's price war

By Staff Writer
By Ashleigh Brown, journalist, Justmoney
Pick n Pay recently launched Brand Match, a programme dedicated to helping customers find the best deals on various products. Using the Brand Match programme, Pick n Pay will compare its product’s prices against one thousand top-selling brands of other supermarkets.
The catch is that this only applies to the thousand most popular branded products. Customers have to have 10 items or more in their baskets (with at least one of the one thousand-branded products). The cash back voucher will not be more than R50 per shopping bill.
Pick n Pay will not, however, release the top one thousand brands list. When asked why not they said: “We want the scheme to operate fairly, in the way it was designed, as an assurance to customers.  Listing the products could open the scheme up to artificial manipulation.”
Pick n Pay gets the information of all the various brands by using independent research companies. 
“We are using two independent research companies to collect the prices on a weekly basis, in each region, at the major competitors.  These independent research companies ensure that the scheme is conducted accurately and professionally.  The Brand Match program and its systems and controls have been independently reviewed by our external auditors,” said a Pick n Pay spokesperson. 
The competition 
“Campaigns such as the recent Brand Match have been done for many years in the United Kingdom and is something we have looked at in the past. However the concept of matching competitor prices only works well for supermarkets that are more expensively priced and is used as a marketing tactic to appear cheaper,” said Shoprite. 
Furthermore, they said that a tool such as Brand Match would not benefit Shoprite, as their prices were already low.
“Shoprite couldn’t benefit from such a tool since we already are the cheapest supermarket group in South Africa confirmed by weekly price surveys against all competitors,” said Shoprite. 
Shoprite Checkers highlighted that 70% of the South African adult population shop at their stores, and they have achieved market share growth for the eighth year running. They said they are a business built on low prices, and offer their customers benefits. 
“The success of our strategy of lower prices every day is borne out by our more than 26 million individual customers who now frequent our supermarkets – 70% of the SA adult population now shop at our stores. Consumers thus vote with their wallets and Shoprite Checkers has achieved market share growth for the eighth consecutive year,” said Shoprite Checkers in a statement.
Pick n Pay believe they have low prices, and Brand Match will bring more customers through their doors: “We believe that our prices are already very competitive and Brand Match is our way of giving our customers the same confidence that we have in our prices.  We think it’s unlikely that any grocery shopper will find their basket across these lines to have been more than R50 more expensive at Pick n Pay,” said a Pick n Pay spokesperson. 
The need
With the increase in prices across all sectors, many South Africans are feeling the pinch, and thus are shopping around for the best deals. 
“Customers across South Africa have been under huge pressure this year.  Petrol prices, electricity costs, inflation and interest rates keep going up.  Family budgets are under strain.  Customers are shopping around for the best prices and deals.  That takes time and can be confusing. 
“That’s where Brand Match comes in.  Every time a customer shops at Pick n Pay, they can be assured that – across one thousand branded products – they will get the best price for their basket, or be rewarded with a voucher for their next shop.  Even if a product is on special promotion, that’s the price we include.  It’s as simple as that: we compare prices so our customers don’t have to.  If we’re more expensive, you get a coupon for the difference,” said Richard Brasher, CEO of Pick n Pay.  
Furthermore, a Pick n Pay spokesperson said that Brand Match was designed to help their customers with the branded products that they are most likely to buy in their weekly shop. 
“With 1000 top-selling products included, it is likely most customers will have one or more in their basket.  These 1000 products represent 47% of all sales of branded grocery items at Pick n Pay.  The customers who shop with us most regularly for their main grocery shopping buy on average only 450 different products from us over a year,” said Pick n Pay.  
How it works
When a customer at Pick n Pay buys 10 or more products, and at least one of them is a Brand Match product, then an instant comparison will be made. If the total of the Brand Match product would have been cheaper elsewhere, the customer will receive a cash-off coupon to the value of the difference in price. 
“I’m excited about Brand Match.  It shows our customers just how determined we are to give them the very best value,” said Brasher.  This also includes products which are on special at other grocery stores. 
Justmoney’s sister website, Moneybags, has an article with 10 handy tips on how to save on your grocery bill, here.

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