What should retailers do to stay relevant in the face of technological disruptions in this ever-changing retail landscape? Industry experts shared insights into global trends and retail transformation at the second edition of the Retail Revolution Seminar, held on June 30 at Four Points by Sheraton, Singapore. Muneerah Bee reports…
“IT’S not what you sell … it’s how you sell,” said Simon Ong, deputy chairman and co-founder, Kingsmen Creatives — the company that has been helping many retail corporations all across Asia to transform their malls and stores into exciting and experiential destinations.
He shared this gem of wisdom at the recent Retail Revolution Seminar and it summed up what forward-thinking retailers have been doing when restructuring their stores to create multiple customer touchpoints so as to bring the retail experience to life in today’s fast-changing environment, offline and online.
Ong also opined malls should take a few steps back and create more attractions. He suggested allocating 30% of mall space to attractions for entertainment, where families can easily spend around five hours within the mall. “We should target all the touchpoints — the kids, mothers, fathers and grandparents so that they are all occupied. That’s what malls should be.”
Presented by NYCU Media, the second edition of Retail Revolution Seminar on June 30 at Four Points by Sheraton in Singapore focused on the theme Retail Transformation — Delivering Value, Convenience, and Seamless Shopping.
Attendees were treated to insightful presentations from Ong, Anson Bailey, head of Consumer & Retail, ASPAC, KPMG China, and Lim Yu Xian, an analyst at Euromonitor International; they covered topics such as the future consumer, global trends and retail transformation.
In the fast-changing world of offline and online retailing, agility to adapt and innovate is a key success factor. During his presentation, Baily stressed: “Retailers today absolutely need to stay agile.”
Following the presentations, Thomas Fell, senior vice-president, Retail, Diebold Nixdorf, joined the speakers for an engaging panel discussion on future of retail, facilitated by Kenneth Tan, a partner of NYCU Media.
At the discussion, Lim agreed with Ong, saying that malls should be places for social activities and also create the digital offerings. She cited the example of how the Great Singapore Sale (GSS) introduced the GoSpree mobile app this year and it contained all the discounts and special marketing events by GSS.
Lim added: “They should come up with more new strategies as well. For example, a lot of malls in Singapore are engaging in pop-up stores to gain more retail footfall since they have a lot of empty shop spaces. So instead of letting them go to waste, they are using them for pop-up spaces instead. This is an example of how shopping malls can still be relevant.”
Fell observed that while shops would be smaller, they would be more digitalised and more integrated to the long tail of retailing assortment. He explained: “The time where a retail associate in the store say ‘If it’s not over there at the end of the aisle, we don’t have it any longer’, is over.
“As soon as the customer is in the store, you have to lock a transaction, whether it is a digital one or a physical one. Bringing this together as a seamless experience will be the task of the future. It is a necessity to integrate yourself through all these channels and to be really consumer-centric in every single thing.”
The second part of the seminar in the afternoon saw several deep-dive sessions where Andrew Phay, regional vice president,
Retail Segment – Asia-Pacific, Diebold Nixdorf; Franck Paduch, regional business development manager, Systems and Automation, Schaefer Systems Asia; and Anthony Chan, head of strategic products and experience consulting, Greater Asia, Sitecore, shared key insights into revolutionising checkout to drive seamless retailing, automating to better meet demands, the different omni-channel engagement scenarios with customers and other issues.
With a theme on “storelution” (store revolution), Phay shared how using video analytics as a measurement tool as well as
for queue management can enhance retail businesses. “Video analytics in retail is not new; it has been around for more
than a decade. In most cases, it started off as a loss prevention system, to make sure there is less shrinkages,” he said.
Today, video analytics, when implemented and calibrated correctly, has reasonable accuracy to measure how many consumers passed by or entered the store, whether they have been there before and how often and when. It can also indicate the most shopped fixtures and products, shoppers’ dwell times and stops as well as “hot and cold spots” in the store.
“Video as a measurement, I believe, is mature and accurate. In the past, it was used for a different purpose and today more so than ever, it is actually the rightful tool and many retailers already have it in their store,” he added.
The technology topic continued as Paduch spoke about supply chain complexity in an ever-changing market environment, changing business parameters and patterns in e-commerce, as well as the approach for selecting the right picking-technology. He gave indepth examples of warehouses and logistics centres throughout Asia that are leveraging automation to optimise day-to-day processes.
Chan brought some excellent insights on omni-channel engagement with customers along with some specific cases of companies that are doing well in this area by providing immersive online tutorial experience via video, bringing actionable insights to present an engaging and immersive experience to customers, integration with point of sales system and beacon, among other initiatives.
He ended with an encouraging note to attendees to “go disrupt”. He said: “Think about doing something else. Start
small and start somewhere right now. Go and disrupt the market. Don’t get disrupted.”
The speakers then launched into a deep-dive discussion on Disrupt Ourselves Today for Tomorrow and took some questions
from the participants for a meaningful exchange and dialogue.
Uplifting regional retail
The seminar was a good platform where retailers could listen to the experts in the industry in one venue. Evelyn B. Salire,
secretary-general of the Philippine Retailers Association, said: “The event was very interesting and gave us a lot of insights
about the trends and the development in the global retail industry.
“There’s a lot to learn and a lot to share with our retailers in the Philippines.” She added: “We are assured — and I am confident because Retail Asia is the leading publication on retail and has access to all the experts in the industry — and it can help the retailers in the region upgrade their business and their competencies.”
The Retail Revolution Seminar 2017 ended on a high note with a lucky draw where three lucky attendees walked away with attractive prizes. More importantly, participants took home useful insights on the transformation that the retail industry
is going through and the areas that can be improved on as we move forward in this ever-changing landscape.