Cash Converters is now ready for Polokwane!
When the economy is getting consumers down, it pays to be in a business that offers affordable household items and easy access to cash…
Founded in Australia 34 years ago, Cash Converters arrived in South Africa in 1994. Today the brand has 750 stores worldwide with 62 locations across South Africa and is on track to open another six by the end of the year. But the really exciting news from National Franchise Manager Neels Meiring is that sales have bucked the trend experienced by so many retail brands – they are going up. What’s more, is that Cash Converters is now expanding into Polokwane!
“Our stores have experienced double digit growth over the last four years, this despite the depressed economy,” says Meiring. “We’re firmly in expansion mode.”
A 3-pronged approach
While Cash Converters started out by focusing on the retail of pre-owned household goods, the company has continued to innovate and introduce new products to spur sales and attract new customers. Franchisees now also offer a range of personal cash loans, for instance. The CashAdvance product is an instant cash loan against a customer’s valuables, while the PayDay Advance product is a short term cash loan against their next salary.
“We created these additional revenue streams for franchisees by listening to our customers and developing products to meet their changing needs,” explains Meiring.
A more recent innovation saw Cash Converters team up with FNB to launch its “Cashies Card”, an electronic payment solution set to replace in-store cash pay-outs to customers. PayDay Advance customers now have the option of receiving their loans on an electronically loaded prepaid Visa card as an alternative to cash. This new card offers customers the safety of PIN protection and convenience of unlimited free point-of-sale swipes, as well as the ability to withdraw money at any ATM.
“It’s a positive for our franchisees too as they no longer have to keep huge amounts of cash on hand to trade this product,” adds Meiring.
The franchisee’s primary source for procuring stock is via the Buy Shop where customers bring in pre-owned goods to sell, or via the House-Buys service offered by participating stores.
More than a helping hand
Cash Converters franchisees benefit from an easy-to-follow business model based on international best practices and extensive training and support. Initial training lasts two months, two weeks of which is spent in the classroom covering the theory. The balance takes place in-store. Ongoing training and support is also available.
Communication is crucial too, says Meiring. “We are in constant contact with franchisees to keep them updated with trends and market movements,” he adds.
“This sharing of information allows us to constantly sharpen our pencils and ensures that we provide the best products and service possible.”
The key to success
If you’re a “smous” at heart, this is the opportunity for you, says Meiring. “Our franchisees are energised by the buying and selling process, and they’re excited at the thought of what will be brought into their shops next.”
According to Meiring franchisees are expected to be hands-on operators and should have some previous business experience. “The better the understanding franchisees have on how a generic business works, the more successful they will be.”
Cash Converters has attracted a broad spectrum of franchisees over the years. “We have former bankers, business owners and corporates who have chosen to take golden handshakes on our team,” Meiring adds. “The common denominator is that they all wanted to get into retail and they all have the entrepreneurial drive to make a success of their stores.”
With a number of key areas across the country still open, Cash Converters is on a massive drive to identify suitable franchisees and set up new stores.
Cash Converters outlets are best suited to open-air lifestyle centres or strip malls, where the demographics of the area support the trade of pre-owned goods. Suitable sites offer easy access, sufficient parking, high levels of foot traffic and good visibility.
What keeps customers coming back for more?
Cash Converters has put a lot of work into changing perceptions of the second-hand industry, and has built a reputation for always operating in an honest and professional manner. Its six-month guarantee policy and extended warranty policy have added greatly to this favourable reputation.
“We’ve developed a great shopping experience where all customers are treated with respect,” says Meiring. “Part of our training is to ensure that our franchisees understand that the lifetime value of a customer is much more important that the possible short-term benefit of not refunding an item.”
Looking to the future
Cash Converters aims to build on the successes of the past and to focus on continuing to improve the excellent profitability of our franchisees. “The Cash Converters brand has the wind at its back,” says Meiring. “Franchisees who come on board now can still access sought after locations in all regions.”
This article first published in Oct/Nov issue of Your Business Magazine. Get your copy now in leading retailers nationwide or visit www.bizmag.co.za