Shoppee Malaysia Country Lead Ian Ho, who spoke on Creativity – Rethinking Strategies zeroed in on Bricks and Clicks: The evolving landscape of retail.
Introducing himself as one who wears two hats at Shopee, Ho is also the Regional Managing Director who leads the development of its business across Shopee’s seven markets besides taking charge of its business strategy and operations in Malaysia.
Touching on the global retail landscape, Ho spoke of how store closures and retail space closures in the United States have rocked the retail landscape, resulting in bankruptcies for some and a trickledown effect on retailers.
Affected retailers included Walmart, Nine West, Toys “R” Us, Gap, Best Buy, Radio Shack, Amazon, Abercrombie & Fitch, Macy’s and Walgreens, dubbed in the media as the retail apocalypse.
The silver lining is how the malls have started to adapt and change by retrofitting retail spaces to lifestyle hubs. While Dubai Mall has 20% food and beverage (F&B) composition, F&B makes up about 40% of the malls in Singapore, 30% in Malaysia and 23% in Hong Kong.
Primarily driven by China, the retail sector in Asia continues to grow.
The evolution of retailers shows how retailers have been embracing the shift of how consumers purchase, namely through shift to omni-channel retailing, click and collect, and experience stores.
On omni-channel retailing, Ho shared how Suning, China’s top retail store has over three phases since 1990 successfully transformed its brick and mortar business to an online and offline, all-category and omni-channel business.
Tracing a customer’s journey at a Suning Biu/Smart Store, he said there were difficulties convincing the salesperson who earn commission to the new format. Restructuring was done to insentivise the sales staff.
France was the first to introduce the click and collect model to complement physical stores. Thereafter, it was replicated all over the world. This business model is well suited to hypermarkets, second and third tier cities or suburbans, higher household goods consumption and basic everyday fashion brands with less emphasis on store experience.
Experiential stores, which complement online sales channels, helped reduce warehouse space. These are physical retail spaces that provide an immersive customer experience where customers need to feel and touch high-end products like apparel, electronics and furniture as is with Zara, Apple stores, Ikea and House of Vans.
Ho also showed a video of the customer’s journey at a Hema supermarket.
The e-commerce landscape in the Asean ecommerce market is expected to grow from US$14.3 billion in 2017 to US$22 billion in 2020, driven by digital consumers who continue to grow.
He also spoke about how retailers could leverage or partner with e-commerce platforms. The initiatives included complementing physical stores with e-commerce platforms; integrating online and physical stores; enhancing convenience through multiple delivery options, easing returns and exchanges; and personalising customer experiences through better data collection.
Shopee was introduced as the fastest growing online shopping platform in Greater Southeast Asia’s history. Spanning seven countries with more than 4,500 employees, it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in October 2017.
Ho showed some of the retailers and brands they had worked with and the official stores featured in their “mall”.
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