As an outdoor lover, Mr Kang Tian Tzer, Director, Outdoor Life, set up the company in 2007 to provide quality outdoor gear to fellow enthusiasts. Having established his first outlet in Novena Square, the company has since grown its presence to Wheelock Place, Plaza Singapura and also recently expanded to include an online store.
Sharing his views on the retail outlook, Mr Kang observed that the market structure has become more complex with increasing competition from overseas and online retailers. The local consumers are also more digital savvy in searching for and comparing similar products from international sources online.
In view of these new dynamics, Mr Kang decided to venture online in early 2017. “As a small retailer, we are concerned about how we can continue to thrive in the new economy. We need to be willing to try everything.” Besides its online store, Outdoor Life has also embarked on digital advertising on social media platforms and listing its products on various online portals to increase market awareness. “Our online store is an extension of our retail presence. It takes time to groom our online business and we need to start somewhere. In the future, we see it as an avenue for exponential growth,” said Mr Kang.
As his main target audience is the locals, Mr Kang decided to take part in 99%SME to reach out to more consumers. He said, “We are always careful in deciding which market to go after and picking the appropriate media. Taking part in 99%SME helps us target the locals and drive traffic to our online store on 99%SME eMarketplace.” He is also looking at using Adtiq, an affordable and easy-to-use online advertising tool to manage his digital marketing campaigns.
Adtiq is an online advertising tool created by Singtel. A pay-per-use service, it helps you plan, create, manage, and optimise online advertising campaigns on Google Search and Facebook with any budget you are comfortable with. You can also get suggestions on campaign improvements and reports that measure your return on investment (ROI).
The Closet Lover (TCL) first started as an online store by sisters, Brianna and Bertilla Wong. The brand has since expanded beyond online retail to include physical stores at Bugis Junction, 313@Somerset and Westgate.
With its online store contributing 70% of its revenue, we asked Ms Bertilla Wong, Co-founder, The Closet Lover, on the motivation to set up a physical presence. “Having physical shops complements our online business and vice versa. The online store gives customers the convenience to browse and shop anywhere, anytime, while the physical stores allow them to try the outfits and feel the material which enhances the overall buying experience. The customers are generally happier and more satisfied with their purchase when they can see the actual items they are paying for.”
She said, “For a retail business, a combination of different touch points provides customers with the opportunity to better connect with the brand. Over the years, we have seen that omni-channel marketing has improved the relationship with our customers who are more likely to return for repeat purchases.” This has driven TCL to extend their omni-channel marketing strategy through social media engagement, online promotions and organising in-store events and workshops.
As part of its online marketing initiatives, TCL recently joined the 99%SME to market their promotions on 99%SME eMarketplace as an additional avenue to reach a wider audience. The increased online exposure gives them an opportunity to touch consumers beyond their regular customer base.
For an in-depth understanding of its customers who patronise their physical stores, TCL implemented Singtel M2M Video Analytics, a smart solution that turns surveillance video footage into business intelligence. It provides insights into its customers’ purchasing behaviour in-store, which is critical for business decisions.
“Singtel M2M Video Analytics has a face-indexing functionality that helps to confirm our ‘gut feel’ about the demographics of our customers. We are able to effectively target them via our marketing activities and increase our sales by at least 10%,” explained Ms Wong. “The people counting feature, which measures store traffic, also provides useful numbers for manpower planning and placement of products to capture the customer flow. This enables better resource planning which cuts our manpower by about 20%”
Recognising the importance of technology in the future of retail, Ms Wong shared plans to develop their own mobile app, which uses the data collected from the M2M Video Analytics and their online transactions, to improve customer relationship management.