A recent report on Channel NewsAsia by Tan Soo Jiuan, Associate Professor in the Department of Marketing at the National University of Singapore Business School, highlighted the growing importance of omnichannel model for e-commerce outlets in Singapore.
This is a local reflection of a global trend as demonstrated by Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods and the popularity of the Amazon Go store in Seattle. Recently, online fashion company, Bonito, opened its third brick-and-mortar store in the reopened Funan mall.
Online luxury goods retailer, Reebonz, runs multiple physical spaces in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia and Myanmar, to let customers see and feel the luxury products. In addition, several online shops have experimented with strategically located pop-up stores.
Associate Professor, Tan Soo Jiuan, highlights three key purposes served by physical outlets of an online retailer: 1) Creating consumer visibility and top-of-mind recall when consumers look for relevant products, thereby driving shoppers to its online shop; 2) Allowing potential consumers to try new products; and 3) Reducing operating costs by the physical store acting as a pick-up and return point, while carrying smaller volumes of items.
Another report in Channel NewsAsia from December 2018 talked about how small Housing and Development Board (HDB) retailers, located in the midst of Singapore’s public housing developments, are venturing into the online space as part of a tie-up with Alibaba owned Lazada, in order to extend their reach beyond the immediate neighborhoods they are located in. The retailers signing up on Lazada also expressed their belief that a combination of online and offline channels would work best.
(Sources: Channel NewsAsia)