Shirley Maltz, CEO of HomeChoice Holdings. Picture: HETTY ZANTMAN
Shirley Maltz, CEO of HomeChoice Holdings. Picture: HETTY ZANTMAN

Listed household goods retailer and financial services group Homechoice is gearing up to improve its digital offering to further enhance sales.

Digital is now the second-largest and fastest-growing sales channel for Homechoice, representing 15.4% of total sales, up from 12%. With market capitalisation of R4.7bn, both its retail and financial services (Finchoice) are digitally focused, with mobile sites and websites but it also has call centres and sales agents’ networks.

CEO Shirley Maltz said because digital adoption was growing exponentially, Homechoice had chosen a new retail commerce platform, which would go live later in 2018.

Having launched a new credit facility on mobile phones called MobiMoney, which Maltz said had enjoyed a very positive response, Homechoice plans to further develop the technology to include additional products and services with mobile wallet functionality.

In FinChoice, almost 70% of loan transactions are via its proprietary digital platform. "Our clients are very tech-savvy and transact 24/7 through our USSD [Unstructured Supplementary Service Data] and mobi sites".

While the digital enhancements have made the retailer accessible, some customers have vented on the development on social media. They complained about the lack of monthly communication on their accounts, while others have been dissatisfied with slow payment and refund processes.

Maltz said the technological upgrade would "improve the look and feel, the speed and the customer experience of our mobi sites and we are improving our USSD sites all the time".

Last week Homechoice reported a 12.7% increase in group revenue to R3bn for the year to December 2017, driven by "above market growth" in retail sales of 16.8%, and a strong contribution from Finchoice.

The group said it continued to be negatively affected by the National Credit Regulator’s new affordability assessment regulations. The need for customers to provide documentary proof of income had adversely affected revenue, increased operating costs and required continual investment in systems.