The changing retail industry in Singapore : How to survive
Getting The Basics Right.
The Singapore retail industry is facing a challenging transitional period. Retail sales are declining resulting in more and more vacant spaces in the shopping malls. Resulting in a declining Retail Rental Index for the past nine quarters.
Retailers need to recognize that customers are demanding a faster, better and more interactive shopping experience and this is the goal that they need to work towards. To solve these issues there are lots of offerings available in the market, however, most of the available solutions are more gimmicky rather than solving the issue. Many retailers still remain unprepared and are still using a traditional way of selling and promoting their products. As eCommerce is disrupting this industry, retailers need to ride the wave before they drown.
Retailers need to acknowledge that customers’ product or brand discoveries now start online. Sophisticated customers now educate themselves online, assessing products, comparing price and benefits. Marketplaces, online advertising channels, social media, and price comparison websites are all channels that retailers need to be present in. Savvy retailers have acknowledged this and are experimenting by using the retail space as an experiential space.
Equipped with this knowledge, retailers need to set themselves up for multi-channel channel selling. The key to scale is automation. Retailers need to get their underlying processes and systems set up effectively.
Considerations when moving to online include:
- Digitalising your product catalogue
- Ensuring all your IT systems link and are in real-time to enable must have’s list real-time stock visibility
- Having efficient fulfilment processes in place
- Getting the right team on-board or up-skilling your existing workforce
- Choose a system that works for your business to automate processes for scalability.
The great thing is that the Singaporean Government recognises and supports the need for change. SG government looks to raise e-commerce sales to 10% by 2020.Financial support can be found through their SME go digital programme – some blurb on how the Singapore Government is supporting retail digital transformation
One of the first steps in building a solid foundation is to have a comprehensive digital product catalogue (product data feed). This is all the information surrounding a product which is required to sell it online. This includes the product image, description, stock. This can be used for a variety of of digital sales channels including your own website , marketplaces or other digital advertising channels. This is the base underneath the icing of a cake. If it is done badly it can require lots of IT attention and will create lots of issues in the long run. Uploading your product catalogue to a range of digital sales channels requires lots of manual work unless you have a large IT team as every destination has different data requirements. In Singapore, time and labor are not something that we are blessed with abundance. Therefore getting the foundation right is the first essential step to transform a traditional retailer to an etailer.
CrescoData can help make your digital transition a less painful process. Contact us if you need help getting your products into a digital format. We can help with the initial upload of files and remove manual jobs such as image resizing. Once you have your digital product catalogue CrescoData can help to publish it to various marketplaces, ad channels, shopping comparison and other automation engines or destinations for maximum brand visibility. All product, stock and price updates are automated removing the need for manual updates.
A house must be built on solid foundations for it to last. The same principle applies to retail industry transformation.