The pandemic changed the way we view the world and our place in it, driving a lot of people to adopt a more conscious way of living to only support their health but to also support that of the planet. Additionally, the pandemic also affected shopping habits, leading to a significant increase in the world of e-commerce. Now for South Africa’s largest ethical and natural commerce store, this sounds like the perfect business opportunity. So why on Earth would they decide to open their first flagship store in a commercial space? We spoke to Simon Bowes, Chief Marketing Officer of Faithful to Nature
Faithful to Nature is a trusted eco-friendly brand that was founded in 2006. The brand is aimed at changing the way you shop – for the better. With Faithful to Nature, one can shop consciously. They needn’t worry about harmful ingredients or contributing to the plastic waste crisis. From this caring founding philosophy, it has developed to become one of South Africa’s favorite natural health and wellness brands.
Faithful To Nature Goes Physical
With such a strong passion for promoting sustainability, it wasn’t long before the brand opened its first physical store. However, considering the fact that we are still in the midst of a pandemic, one has to wonder how they made the decision to include a physical store under their belt, especially considering the number of people turning to online shopping.
“It’s probably the most challenging retail period in history, and we’ve decided to open. I think that retail will always exist”. explains Bowes. “Firstly, e-commerce only represents 2% of retail in South Africa, so there’s still a large 98% that lives offline.”
“The main aim is to bring access to a larger audience” explains Bowes. He adds that they examined the retail space and decided to open their store at the V&A Waterfront, located in Cape Town as it has a lot of retail response. Bowes also adds that the manner in which offline and online stores complement each other is the future of how customers may start to engage with brands.
So what about their loyal customers who would rather stick to online shopping?
Bowes shares that he hopes to convince them to visit the store by encouraging a point system. He also points out that even with the physical store, the brand will remain faithful to customers. The brand will continue to maintain the same principles that they had when they first began.
“Our main purpose is to realize a world where the products we consume do not hurt ourselves, our community, our animals, our planet.” says Bowes, “From the decision-making in meetings to how we allocate our resources from…This is how we plot forward and move forward.”
“It’s good for investment confidence that a big company like Amazon is seeing opportunities in South Africa and leveraging that…Amazon can add huge value to the global population,” said Bowes. However, Bowes does feel that it may be too soon to say whether South Africans will be buying Amazon products.
“As much as it would be great for Amazon to come and duke it out with Takealot (one of South Africa’s biggest e-commerce stores), I think it’s unlikely at this moment in time. There’s a lot of outsourcing that happens with Amazon. Also, there’s still the issue of connectivity in Africa, but I’m excited to see the future”
As of now, Faithful to Nature is dedicated to continuously providing products that conscious consumers can enjoy. As for conscious consumers outside of South Africa? There are no plans to venture out into the content – for now.
“These markets are very complex and very different.” said Bowes. “That said, we do believe that Faithful to Nature will add value to other countries.”