Magazines Archives - 2009 November

Retail Asia Roundtable – greeting a new generation of consumers
Story 4 - Special Review

The verdict is out. Online and mobile retailing is set to take on the retail landscape in Asia, a panel of experts at Retail Asia Roundtable 2009 unanimously agreed. And with a new generation
of consumers taking on the shopping scene, retailers are also beginning to up the ante on cultivating relationships with their customers to provide the best shopping experience possible.

These were some of the discussions that took place at the annual forum, aptly titled New Realities in Asian Economies: New Paradigms for Asian Retailing. The roundtable was held during the 14th
APRCE in Seoul, South Korea.

Organised by Retail Asia, the session was attended by close to 100 retailers from the Asia-Pacific region. In opening, Steven Goh, Retail Asia Publishing’s executive chairman and the event’s moderator, said: “When the world was plunged into an economic meltdown never seen … since the great depression, the suddenness and depth of the downturn was amazing. But that
was not the only surprising thing.

“What was also surprising was that the green shoots of economic recovery seem to be sprouting very much sooner than expected.”

He continued that in light of this, the session proved topical, especially in Asia, which many market observers and analysts have cited as the focal point of the global economic recovery.
Delving further into some of the key trends in Asia, keynote speaker Michael Yee, managing partner at Accenture Asia Pacific, focused on the new generation of consumers, dubbed as the
millennium generation, who are beginning to change the face of consumption and retailing. This generation, said Yee, has grown up in a world where connectivity and the Internet are
a part of daily life, where “they want experiences 24 hours a day, every day of the week”, and
have a completely different way of thinking and shopping. “This generation is the generation
that retailers now need to start thinking about,” Yee maintained.

Yee noted that mobile commerce is also on the rise. “In fact, we think that 10 years from now, most e-commerce transactions will be done from the mobile device, and [clearly] this will impact the way the
consumer shops,” he said.

Retailers now need to take a broader view of retailing, Yee averred, citing the transition that shopping has made from the shop floor to the virtual space. “Brick-and-mortar retailing alone is not
going to [be enough] to make it, [and] with the Internet and mobile commerce… Retailing is now 24/7. Because of the dynamic nature of consumers [who] are always connected, retailers need
to understand the consumer at all levels,” he reiterated.

MasterCard’s vice-president of commerce development, Nagesh Devata, also opined that in terms of retail formats, consumer spending is moving “towards e-commerce and the Internet”.

“Many retailers are innovating during this time, investing in their businesses and looking at
new ways to improve the customer experience. We are also seeing retailers trying to diversify their approach [towards consumers]. It’s not about discounting, it’s about providing an experience, about
really cultivating that relationship with consumers,” Devata said.

David Bray, senior director of retail, Asia Pacific at JDA Software, noted that in adopting online retail, it
is important not to fall into the trap that many traditional retailers do, by setting up their online business as a separate entity instead of integrating it into their business. “Retailers need to incorporate
online retail into their current business in order for it to become successful,” he explained.

The session also explored how retailers can hire and retain the right staff for their organisation. Yee shared that one area of sourcing is in-house, where a pool of talent with different skill sets is readily available.

He pointed out that to ensure retailers are not “fighting a losing battle” by recruiting and losing their staff, they need to keep them challenged and give them opportunities to explore their job scopes.

MasterCard’s Devata also disclosed that staff with experience in the retail industry is “extremely valuable” in other industries, illustrating MasterCard’s own hiring policy of actively seeking
people with retail experience.

“The retail industry and the retail make-up is about transactions, which in our perspective is the fundamental aspect in how to make that transaction. There is a very unique expertise and insight that comes from those who work within the retail industry that really translates across product, across payment and across a number of industries,” he stated.


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2009 Nov Stories:

Is the global economic recovery already on ... ? - Part 2: Probably yes; and it won’t be business
as usual for Asian retailers ...

14th APRCE drives home retailers’ role in the economy

Asia-Pacific retailers celebrate resilience at Retail Asia’s award and gala dinner

Retail Asia Roundtable – greeting a new generation of consumers

Ambiente 2010 undergoes complete restructure

Hong Kong International Stationery Fair expands

Singapore to host inaugural expo on traditional medicine

Philippine retail industry’s new credo: ‘Be kind to the environment’

GCH Retail targets a ‘jolly green’ Giant

Snapshots of ‘green’malls in Singapore

Asian shoppers focus on value buys, says study

MRCB Land to transform KL Sentral Park into a smart urban centre

Study: Retailers need to lead the way in food safety

Rakuten continues overseas expansion

Goldsoft joins MRCA, gears up for local and overseas expansion

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