CapitaLand shapes Funan into Singapore’s first O&O shopping mall

By Muneerah Bee

Owned by real estate investment trust company CapitaLand Mall Trust and managed by real estate company CapitaLand, Funan unveiled its digital blueprint encompassing customer analytics comprising transaction and demographics data, robotic automation that includes Singapore’s first deployment of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and robotic arm in a retail setting, and a 24-hour click-and-collect drive-through supplemented by warehousing facilities within Funan.

Wilson Tan, CEO of CapitaLand Retail, said: “As smartphones change the way people shop and socialise, the design and operations of retail space must be reimagined to meet changing consumer expectations for an integrated O&O (online and offline) experience. With the benefit of being a new development, Funan has wired its hardware and software differently to plug straight into the phygital (physical + digital) world of today’s consumers. Positioned as the vanguard of innovation, we have infused Funan with a combination of community, passion and discovery in the design of its space. Our objectives are to empower our retailers’ omni-channel strategy, deepen consumer insights and enhance customer satisfaction through a seamless O&O user journey.”

A typical Funan customer journey begins online with an app-based booking of all the facilities within the development via the CapitaStar members’ app by CapitaLand. These services include booking and accessing the open studios in the Tree of Life experiential section, signing up for craft workshops with friends, booking tickets to a theatrical performance by theatre company W!ld Rice and reserving meeting rooms in the co-working space. The app also comes with a smart carpark feature that allows drivers to reserve parking lots in advance, find their car and pay or redeem their parking fees. Shoppers can make purchases using StarPay – the in-app e-payment feature on CapitaStar, while working professionals use the latest facial recognition technology for card-less access to their offices.

Boosting store space productivity

With a request for Funan’s automated concierge service at participating retailers, an AGV will pick up shoppers’ purchases from the store to deposit the bags at one of the 100 click-and-collect boxes at Basement 2. Shoppers can collect their purchases with a QR code sent to their phone at their own convenience or utilise the 24-hour drive-thru collection service, which is fitted with a state-of-the-art robotic arm that can retrieve their merchandise – an added convenience for those who can only pick up their purchases after Funan’s operating hours. Retailers can make use of the click-and-collect lounge and warehousing facilities at Basement 4 to fulfil their online orders from CapitaLand’s official store on Lazada.SG.

Funan’s adoption of AGVs and robotic arm marks Singapore’s first such deployment in a retail setting, according to CapitaLand. Equipped with a laser-based navigation system, Funan’s AGV can navigate the environment and human traffic effortlessly as it does not require embedded lines or magnetic strips on the ground.

To offer shoppers more personalised experiences, Funan’s digital ecosystem has been programmed to better understand their shopping habits and preferences. Complementing the transaction data from in-store smart terminals are the video analytics generated by CCTV cameras outside the stores, which capture footfall and demographic data throughout the mall and into each store. On top of accepting StarPay, the in-store smart terminals have the potential to boost retailers’ omni-channel strategy by integrating payment data with other data streams such as stock inventory, click-and-collect orders and customer relationship management for a unified view of their customers.

Tony Tan, CEO of CapitaLand Mall Trust Management Limited, said: “The rise of omnichannel retailing spells new opportunities to help our retailers do more business by increasing their consumer touchpoints while maintaining a unified view of their customers.  As a native O&O mall with omni-channel retail infrastructure enabled by the latest technology, Funan is well-positioned to attract quality tenants who are able to adapt to and excel in this fast-changing retail landscape. With Funan paving the way forward, we are looking at bringing some of the latest digital innovations and infrastructure to the other malls in our portfolio. By exploring new ways to future-enable our malls, we hope to better serve the needs of this and future generations of shoppers and create sustained value for our unitholders over the long term.”

With more than a year to go before opening in 3Q 2019, Funan has garnered strong interest from retailers. Experiential retail with workshops and spaces that host a variety of lifestyle programmes will complement tenants including Golden Village, Kopitiam, Climb Central, Carrie K., Keepers, FairPrice Finest, Newstead Technologies, AddOn Systems and T K Foto.

Located in the heart of Singapore’s Civic & Cultural District, the Funan integrated development comprises a mall; two Grade A office blocks; as well as The Ascott Limited’s lyf brand of co-living serviced residence.

 

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