Retail Industry Digital Plans: SME’s Should Know About

Importance of Launching Retail industry Digital Plans in Singapore

The retail industry deals with the selling of goods to the end-user through various channels in small quantities or a single unit. The retail sector comprises establishments like department stores, convenience stores, discount stores, and supermarkets. Today retailers can sell their goods through multiple channel options like online retailing or mobile applications, to name a few. The retail industry has become highly competitive today and is continuously evolving. It’s all about improving brand loyalty — and customers will tend to stick to brands that they know until market disruption occurs.

The preferences of customers keep on changing, and retailers need to innovate to keep pace with the changes in customer’s preferences continually. Hence, they are always updated with the latest trends and stock goods. Hence, many SME’s are coming up with retail industry digital plans to expand their business.

Technology is changing the shopping experience of the customers, and online shopping is in huge demand today. However, retailers should not consider e-commerce as a danger to them but use the opportunity to embrace digitalization and reap the benefits of both online and offline business methods.

How is the Retail Industry Expanding in Singapore?

The retail sector in Singapore is an essential sector in its economy, and goods are sold through multiple channels like supermarkets, kiosks, the internet, mobile, and mail. The industry is continually growing due to the increasing population, rise in the purchasing power, and the entry of international players.

The retail industry is a significant contributor to Singapore’s growing economy, and a considerable percentage of its workforce is employed in this sector. The government realizes that. Moreover, to cope with the challenges of the retail industry, such as increasing customer expectations, rising prices, and rise in e-commerce, the Singaporean government is taking a lot of interest in digitalization. They have understood that digitalization will increase the efficiency of supply chain processes and help to give the customers improved services. Today customers are well informed and avail of multiple purchasing options. They are not dependent on retail outlets alone. So the retail industries must start making their retail industry digital plans and embrace digital technology to stay ahead of the competition.

How to Optimally Take Advantage of Retail Industry Digital Plans?

Singapore launched the Retail Industry Transformation Map (ITM) in 2016 with a vision to create a vibrant retail industry that would be supported by a workforce with expertise in digital skills. The Retail Industry Digital Plans (IDP) for SMEs (small and medium enterprises) aims to achieve the goals envisioned in the ITM.

The IDP comprises of the following:

  • The Industry Digital Guide to help understand where you are on the road to digitalization.
  • Access to pre-approved digital solutions and consultancy services.
  • Partnership with industry leaders and pioneers for growth.
  • Provide the necessary digital skills.

Industry Digital guide: It will serve as a roadmap and provide step-by-step guidance on every stage of the journey to digitalization. The Retail Industry Digital Plans consists of the following:

Getting Digital Economy Ready

Digital solutions for you that will help in the optimum use of resources for increased efficiency.

  • Integrated point of sales: Solutions that will incorporate the collection of payment with records of customers, accounting, and stock management. It will help to monitor real-time sales conversions and stock levels at the point of sale or fulfilment. This will help to match the stock levels with the operations.
  • e-payment: Provide the customer with multiple payment options like e-wallet, QR code, or card payment which will be very convenient. This will reduce the time lost due to handling payment in cash and making multiple bank trips. It will also add more value to the cashier’s services.
  • E-Commerce: Allows the customer to buy goods at any time and place by using the internet. Selling the products online will also give them more exposure. As the goods can be sent to the customers directly from the warehouse, the cost of storing them off-site can be waived off.
  • Management of inventory: Use of a system that will monitor in real-time the stock levels, their locations, and movements easily. This will help in the optimum utilization of storage space and reduce costs. The loss arising on account of overstocking or product expiry will also reduce significantly. It will help in making proper decisions concerning the price, acquisition, and advertising of the product.

Growing in the Digital Economy

  • Payment through mobile: Providing customers with the option to pay for their goods using their mobiles. This will reduce the cost and time spent on handling cash payments and making repeated trips to the bank. It will also enable the cashier to provide a more valuable service to the client. It will also speed up the payment process.
  • Shopping through mobile: The customer can buy a product he has selected in a store and pay for it through his mobile. The customer will get an improved shopping experience as he does not have to queue for payments. It will also help to provide the customer with the latest information regarding special offers or promotions. Another benefit is that the front space of the shop can be used to showcase more products. It also allows for increased off-site storage of the products.
  • Optimization of store layout: Use tools like video analytics to monitor and analyze the traffic flow to the store. The insights will help to enhance the customer experience inside the store and make them spend more time there. It will also help in optimally utilizing the layout inside the store so that the products are placed in the best manner and their visibility is increased.
  • A platform for Resource aggregation: These platforms will help to collect the products, resources, and services at reduced costs and help in the optimum utilization of workforce and resources.
  • Self check-out: It will allow the customers to check-out without the help of the staff. The customers save a lot of time on account of not having to queue up at the payment counter. This also benefits the cashier by allowing him to provide more valuable service to the customers.

Leaping Ahead

  • Multi-channel engagement with customers: Engage with customers through many channels like in-store, social media, catalogue, and online. This will help you connect with customers more and give them an improved experience. It will also provide more visibility to products.
  • Authentication of product: This will enable the customers to verify whether their selected product is authentic or not. It will help to identify imitations or fakes of your brand and increase the belief of the customers in your brand name.
  • Digital advertising in collaboration with others: Share resources with other businesses through platforms like social media and other advertisement displays. This will help reduce the advertising overheads, increase the brand value, and get more exposure for your product. It will also enable cross-selling with the help of a complementary product or service.
  • Autonomous robots: Use robots that can function without manual control to provide services like taking orders, giving shopping guidance, and giving sales advice. This will help to interact more with the customers without any extra staff. It will then enable you to provide better quality service to the customers. You can also devote time to the services without any fear of having limitations to staff availability.
  • International e-marketplace: Utilize already established e-marketplaces to reach out to international markets and attract the customers there. This will increase your earnings by expanding the customer base and giving more visibility to your products.

Retail Industry Digital Plans: SME’s Should Know About

Digital Skill for Making Digital Plans

Digital skills will be provided to support the digitalization process for all retail Non-ICT and ICT job roles.

Non-ICT job roles: Courses that will impart broad-based digital skills and awareness to light, digital users like marketing or sales associates. Heavy digital users like chief executive officers or retail operations directors will be able to learn higher digital skills. These skills will improve their proficiency in implementing retail industry digital plans.

ICT job roles: ICT professionals like data analysts or chief digital officers will get specialized ICT skills.

SMEs will get excellent support during all stages of their digitalization process, and they have the option to either self-assess or avail of approaching the business advisors at SME centres.


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