, Singapore

Experts suggest 3 strategies to capture Singapore’s ‘e-window shoppers’

Retailers are advised to use chatbots, provide try-on tools, and show inventory to make online shopping more convenient.

Singapore brands can cater to the growing trend of e-window shoppers through personalised shopping experiences such as chatbots for customer service, augmented reality offerings, and real-time inventory checks.

“When people [do] e-window shopping, they’re looking at specific products, but also potentially what other products could be suitable for them… so a lot of customisation would be required to cater to these consumers,” Yi Hui Toh, country manager of marketing firm, AnyMind Group Singapore, told the Singapore Business Review.

Notably, Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData’s retail division, said winning over e-window shoppers requires curation and offering items relevant to consumers.

Humans in chatbots

The first key strategy that Yi Hui recommended is that brands should have chatbots or live support staff that can encourage consumers to sign up for loyalty programmes, and membership programmes, or even gather relevant data to interpret consumer trends.

A recent GWD study showed that Singaporeans value free delivery (48%), loyalty points (40%), coupons and discounts (38%), reviews from other consumers (31%), and next-day delivery (30%).

“Communication-wise, a lot of people on marketplaces are looking for fast answers to whatever questions that they have,” he added.

A fine example of a live chatbot, according to the GlobalData study commissioned by Amazon, is the “chat & shop” function introduced by Thailand-based Central Group. Apart from allowing consumers to talk to personal assistants, the chat service accepts shopping lists and completes purchases through the brand’s channel hosted on the LINE application.

Inventory checks

Another strategy to deal with e-window shoppers is updating them on the inventory count of the product. Yi Hui recommended that brands should have a “strong backend” infrastructure or a logistics partner to ensure that stock levels are optimized.

“We also need to ensure that the amount of inventories is stable, and across peak periods such as the mega sales,” he added.

In relation to this, GlobalData’s study also recommended fast deliveries to attract e-window shoppers. One technology for this is through the use of drones, which are a “good solution for overcoming issues related to manpower shortages.”

It can also reduce costs and save time for last-mile delivery, especially to remote locations.

One example of this is the Sentosa Development Corporation which teamed up with ST Engineering and Foodpanda to pilot drone food deliveries from Sentosa’s restaurants and eateries to St John’s Island, one of Singapore’s Southern Islands.

Try-on tools

The third strategy to reel in e-window shoppers is through try-on tools, a GlobalData study showed. Lazada, an online commerce platform, is already doing this through a virtual try-on experience for users.

“This uses augmented reality and artificial intelligence to allow shoppers to sample luxury products and view real-time videos and images of themselves with the products applied,” read the statement.

Checking in-store vs online

According to Angelia Phua, director of research at JLL Singapore, the retail rental market is poised for growth this year. It is seen to grow 2.6% year-on-year in 2023. The strong tourism arrivals and rising workforce traffic are also helping in the decline of vacancy rates in the submarkets.

As this happens, the GlobalData study also showed that nearly half of Singaporeans visit physical stores for inspiration before making their purchases online whilst the other half look at products before purchasing at a physical store.

One way to cater to these shoppers is by providing a QR code for every product, which consumers can scan and browse online for details, said Yi Hui.

“Because for the physical store, it’s hard to have all the descriptions about the product being listed up there so when they can actually scan and look at it online, they’re able to get all the details about the products,” he explained.

Also, he cited that AnyMind’s clients in Korea do not allow buying products in a physical store instead the consumers can try the products there and purchase them online. Afterwards, the product will delivered to their homes.

Common products being brought online and collected physically are clothes, food, cars, and high-value items, Yi Hui said.

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