Computer retailer Incredible Connection intends augmenting its stock levels for the festive season, despite having to increase prices to compensate for the weakened rand.
CEO Dave Miller says that peace of mind is probably the best thing to be selling a nervous market at Christmas time.
"There is still some money in the market, but our main motivation for being confident of good Christmas sales is that consumers are going to spend carefully and so they will look for quality products backed by good pre- and post sales service," he says.
"We're well positioned in both areas, as we sell only the top brands and our service is focused on ensuring that customers stay with us for life. So, for instance, if a product is within its warranty period cannot be repaired within 10 days, we simply replace it with a new one or give the customer his money back.
"Also, our Incredibles On-Site service – in which technicians go to your small business or home to help with technical problems – gives customers the comfort of knowing that their Christmas purchases will have legs; that they won't be stranded with a piece of technology that they can't get to perform the way it should.
"Having studied our market extensively through formal research, we believe that the voluntary ownership we take of the customer's lifecycle with his or her technology will more than offset the unavoidable price increases that all retailers will be forced into because of the wildly fluctuating exchange rate.
"It does us no harm, of course, to be a one-stop shop – in which consumers can get any kind of technology product, in any price range, for any age range, and for both sexes. That takes a fair bit of the anxiety out of shopping for loved ones when your rand buys you so much less than it used to."
He adds that, the more consistent and reliable a retailer is, the more willing the customer is to spend with the company – whatever the economic climate.
"But at times like this, when all of us have been taken by surprise by the suddenness of the volatility of the rand, a confident retailer has an astonishingly steadying effect not just on the consumer but on the market as a whole."
Miller says that because Incredible Connection, like most other retailers, operates off an average costing model, where the exchange rate directly impacts the cost of a product and the company has not been able to take a forward commitment it will be obliged to increase the price of that product.
"But we are not here to exploit the consumer, as we've done before with issues affecting rand strength or weakness (like the oil price, financial market turmoil as a result of the sub prime crisis for example), when the rand strengthens we'll drop our prices accordingly. In the interim, we will mitigate increases wherever we can and ensure that, whatever the customer buys, we can offer the best possible value for money."