Re: Show me the money!
With a global economic downturn looming, we already see signs that our local retail industry is affected. X mas decorations seem a little quieter and the people dining at fancy places are reduced.
In order to survive this crisis, i would suggest that retailers look beyond simply cutting promotions and instead think out of the box. Apart from death and taxes, there are two certainties about Singaporeans: they love to eat and shop. Unless there is absolutely no income, people will still need to eat, to live and pamper themselves with some retail therapy.
The extent to which this happens maybe downscaled, and consequently the total amount spent will be reduced. However, it will not be totally stopped. Hence, the aim of the retailer, the restaurant owner is to think of ways to capturing that smaller dollar in sufficient amounts to keep afloat.
Consider the typical fine dining venue, with the belt tightening measures, the number of people willing to fork out top dollar for a meal will be less, but if they make the whole experience more enjoyable, and more value for money, then people will still consider going. For a high end restaurant, mentioning value in the same sentence may seem like a travesty, but we need to realistic.
For the retailer, again the whole experience is about enticing the buyer with the feeling he is getting a good deal, and also make him happy to part with his money. A recent audiophile exhibition was an example of how Not to do this. The rental rates were higher, the retailers did not engage the buyer, there were few real deals to be had, and the door gift was pathetic. Instead, they could have turned the show around, by appealing to first time buyer with better packages, negotiate better rates to allow more dealers to turn up and give a better show. Not everyone needs a new $20 000 sound system, but there will still be new home owners who need a stereo or TV and it is up to the sellers to entice the buyers with something within their range.
The keywords should be value, service, and an enjoyable spending experience.
To beat this downturn, our people must innovate, adapt and face the challenge head-on. After the SARS crisis people in Hong Kong were hungry enough to innovate, and improve their service and enhance the shopping experience by a few notches. We need to do the same now before our favourite dining spot or shopping outlet closes down. Now is not the time to roll over and take cover, but to re-invent oneself and keep the economy ticking over.
A flip through the ads in today's papers show little innovation. Lots of "Sale!" signs but what makes one company differ from another? Consumers are also more discerning and passing off an old Sony BDP 300 for $400 or so isn't going to fool the internet savvy folks. Give us a real deal and there will still be buyers.
How about cameras? Plenty of ads, but again, most offer SRP with some cheesy freebies thrown in, and do they actually consider what the cost conscious consumer wants or are they what will entice him or her to come forth and open their wallets?
Food for thought...