Courts Causeway Point is a testbed.
A weak retail climate in Singapore is well publicized. Courts, a furniture and consumer electronics retailer that currently operates 15 stores in Singapore is not spared, with sales in FY16 down by 3% year-on-year. In response, Courts has recently focused on cost management and costs are coming down in different areas including the interior designs of their stores. Stan Kim, CEO of Courts Singapore, noted that the newly revamped Courts store at Causeway Point that underwent frequent changes in layout and product placement in an aim to make it more productive will serve as a testbed for the next generation store model, before it is rolled out to other stores locally and in the region.
Asked why there is a need for them to invest in physical stores given the rise of e-commerce, Kim explained that they feel it is not about choosing one over the other. He believes that it is important to ensure that different customer touch-points continue to stay relevant to customers, in accordance to their shopping habits.
“Based on our data, 50% of online sales are from Click and Collect, which suggests that shoppers still want to visit physical stores whilst shopping online. The strategy is really about creating a omni-channel approach,” he said.
Courts Causeway Point was officially opened on April 16 and Kim said that a strong and positive reception over the opening weekend drove double digit growth in overall sales and services revenue, demonstrating the importance for brick-and-mortar retailers to continue investing in improving the in-store experience, while maintaining relevance in the growing e-commerce sphere.
According to Kim, retail rental costs constitute a large part of operating expenses. In order for retailers to survive and thrive, they came to realization that the store needs to be productive whilst being aesthetically inviting for shopping.
Not only does the new store look better with a one-of-a kind LED shopfront and instore digital signages that serve to engage customers, it also is designed to increase productivity.
For instance, Courts Causeway Point is the first consumer electronics retailer in Singapore to use modular systems for product displays. Starting with 20 “universal tables” for the IT category, the size and format of each table can be easily customised to accommodate the retail season, store promotions and the changing size of products.
This means that there will be less material wastage as fixtures no longer need to be discarded and built from scratch multiple times a year.
According to Kim, another way they’re increasing productivity is by outfitting the store with magnetic panels, on which most in-store posters will now be attached to.
“Updating posters will be a much quicker affair and the team will not have to contend with the time-consuming process of removing and installing traditional sticker-based wall posters. Other posters in the store will also be conveniently hung from frames attached to the ceiling,” he said.
They project that the modular systems and magnetic panels will increase productivity by up to 50%.
At the same time, Kim noted that the store is the first in the Group to launch end-to-end services packages to cover their customers’ installation, maintenance and repair needs starting with the IT category.
As all queries, troubleshooting and follow-ups can be managed by tech specialists based at the store, time stretched shoppers will no longer need to deal with agents separately.These bundles will be rolled out to all categories in the next six months. Also for the first time, shoppers will be able to trade in their old digital and mobile products for store credit, even if they weren’t purchased at Courts.
“We feel that these measures, together with a more attentive service team, will go a long way in enhancing the overall shopping experience with Courts, said Kim.
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