Reaching Africa’s Traditional Trade: A Route-To-Market Strategy

What is Route-To-Market?

Essentially a route to market is a route between you, the manufacturer or wholesaler, and the target demographic that you wish to buy your product.

A Route To Market (RtM) strategy is also known as a Trade Marketing And Distribution Strategy or a Sales Execution Strategy.  Whatever you choose to name this strategy it is vital to your businesses success.

Because the RtM provides a detailed plan on how to get your products from your factory or warehouse to your customers efficiently, it may also help to reduce costs.

The importance of South Africa’s Traditional Trade market

Andreas Maritz, Strategic Growth Executive at VSC says, “Route-To-Market in Africa is very different to those strategies used in First World countries simply because Africa has a very large informal customer base.  More products are sold in Africa through spaza shops, street side vendors, shabeens and hawkers than through shopping centres.”

According to a recent report from Retail Brief Africa on Traditional Trade in South Africa, around R150 billion in cash is spent at the estimated 150 000 spaza shops every year, which contribute as much as 5.2% to South Africa’s GDP and employ 2.6 million people. The total market value of the township economy is estimated to be R900 billion (USD50 billion) with approximately 60% of the market considered formal and 40% informal.

In the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa Traditional Trade accounts for well over 50% of the retail industry.

Identifying, Mapping and Quantifying Traditional Trade in South Africa

VSC has partnered with Frontline Research Group (FRG) who are traditional trade experts.

Steve Johnson, Managing Director at Frontline Research Group says, “We have been conducting retail census and retail audits in the traditional trade sector since the ‘90s.  We understand Africa because we have literally walked the streets, driven the roads and hiked the bush of this wonderful and complex continent.  We have geomapped over 2.5 million retail outlets in Africa and we have gathered a variety of retail data on  these outlets.”

This data has enabled Frontline Research Group to develop a detailed analyses on the traditional trade and thus provide strategic insights to companies wanting to expand operations or enter new markets.

How to reach Traditional Trade

VSC Solutions have a highly-experienced team of consultants that understand the complexities of Africa and have formulated proven methodologies and market-leading modelling tools to improve distribution and sales networks.

Grant Marshbank, CEO of VSC Solutions, says, “Our advanced route planning and optimisation technologies are interactive and user-friendly, and designed to improve daily planning and service delivery while monitoring the cost-effectiveness of your transportation strategy.”

“The combination of VSC’s route-to-market technologies and Frontline Research Group’s geomapped data creates significant opportunities for businesses wanting to penetrate or expand their operations in the very important traditional trade market,” adds Grant.

The advantages of this coalition of technology and data are enormous.  If you would like to access new customers and save time and costs in doing so, then please contact Andreas Maritz, Strategic Growth Executive, on 072 049 5824 or


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