Case Study

Making Retail Markets Work for the Poor: Why and How Triple Trust Organisation Decided to Intervene in the Spaza Market in South Africa

Practitioner's manual for conducting market assessment
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This paper captures Triple Trust Organization (TTOs) market research experience to assist practitioners in conducting market assessments targeting microenterprises and designing market development interventions. The paper introduces the spaza market and the rationale for TTO selecting the market. It describes the four stages of market research undertaken by TTO. The paper presents the TTO's vision for the spaza market:

  • Spaza market offer value to township consumers and competes effectively with formal market;
  • Spaza shops are linked with mainstream manufacturers and wholesalers;
  • Spaza owners are supported by business service suppliers;
  • Consumers have shifted 2-5% of their purchase to spaza shops.

The paper describes strategies for achieving the vision as follows:

  • Improving linkages between spaza shops and their suppliers;
  • Organizing spaza shops into informal networks to leverage better deals;
  • Linking services offered by specialized providers into the supply chain.

The paper highlights the role played by TTO in improving the linkages, including the provision of:

  • Information for filling gaps, critical for building mutually beneficial business relationships between spaza shop owners and suppliers;
  • Assistance to entrepreneurs with research;
  • Conducting the market test of new distribution enterprises.

The paper discusses the revelations and pitfalls encountered by TTO during the different stages of research process, and concludes with recommendation to agencies interested in conducting market research:

  • Mix and match various tools as per the requirement at different stages of research;
  • Engage in the process of gathering and analyzing information;
  • Arrange for high degree of investment to understand the weaker markets.

About this Publication

By Bear, M., Bradnum, P., Tladi, S. & Pedro, D.