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ION Orchard marks 15 years as a premier retail destination

The mall is proactive in conducting surveys to identify trends and optimise its tenant mix.

In its 15 years in the industry, ION Orchard has transformed itself from more than just a shopping mall into a destination for retail, dining, entertainment, and lifestyle. This would not have been possible without its balanced tenant mix catering to all and maintaining exceptional customer service across all fronts.

Orchard Turn Developments Chief Executive Officer Yeo Mui Hong said her team that manages ION Orchard ensures that the mall has a mix of international and homegrown brands amongst their tenants to cater to the preferences of locals and tourists.

“We constantly reinvent our tenant mix to introduce new and emerging brands, unique experiences through thematic pop-ups, brand exclusives, and multi-sensory events and activations,” Yeo told Retail Asia.

For example, ION Orchard housed the Louis Vuitton x Supreme Collection in 2017, which Yeo said attracted over 300 people to queue up early in the morning for the launch.

The mall was also selected amongst 20 stores globally for the launch of Christian Dior’s Air Dior Capsule Collection in 2020. For pop-up installations, ION Orchard was also the first destination to host the Fendi Newsstand in 2018.

“All these efforts set us apart from our competitors and cemented our position as a premium lifestyle, shopping destination for our shoppers, and also for those who seek the latest trends and brands,” Yeo said.

Balanced tenant mix

To ensure that its tenant mix is aligned with consumer preference, ION Orchard conducts regular market research and in-depth focus studies to understand the demographics and shopping patterns of the community, said Yeo.

“This will help us identify the type of retail businesses that are in demand and also some of the highly sought-after brands in the mall,” she said. “It will also help us develop targeted marketing campaigns for our shoppers.”

Last year, for example, Japanese brand The Onitsuka launched its first Southeast Asian flagship boutique at ION Orchard. Finnish lifestyle brand Marimekko also opened its flagship store with a café concept within the mall.

Most recently, ION Orchard also welcomed athleisure brand HOKA, marking its first official store in Singapore.

To cater to the demand for beauty products, Yeo said they revamped the B2 area to devote a beauty cluster which included the bespoke Jo Malone concept store in Singapore, Diptyque’s store with a unique interior design in partnership with local designers, and Hermès’ shop-in-shop beauty concept at the escentials store.

“As ION Orchard seeks to strengthen its foothold as the leading premium retail mall, we also aim to partner with brands that provide one-of-a-kind experiences resulting in ION Orchard as the de facto destination for experiences that can’t be found elsewhere in Singapore,” Yeo said.

“These new additions reflect ION Orchard’s ongoing efforts to curate a diverse and appealing range of options, catering to various tastes and preferences among shoppers and visitors,” she added.

Enhancing retail journey online and offline

A part of ION Orchard’s 15-year journey is the transition to digitalisation to introduce interactive offerings to enhance the retail experience.

So, as part of the anniversary celebration, ION Orchard created an Instagram filter where shoppers can participate by taking a selfie using the holographic photo effect.

“We will continue to roll out a series of hyperreality and augmented reality video experiences that blur the line between the real and virtual worlds. We want to excite the audience online, yet entice them to experience ION Orchard in person,” Yeo said.

On the tenant side, retail spaces are embedded with various technologies such as click-and-collect services, digital kiosks or interactive displays to create a seamless online and offline experience.

Zara, for example, reopened its two-floor store at ION Orchard now, equipped with technological tools that are integrated with its online platform. Its app offers a feature that allows customers to search online for items in the store and pick them up within two hours to check available stock.

Yeo also noted that the store has a self-checkout area and a special area to collect online orders.

Aside from brands, ION Orchard also partners with artists to launch interactive displays and immersive installations to engage shoppers. For its Spring-Summer 2024 campaign, ION Orchard partnered with Australian artist Amanda Parer to present the Garden Luminescence: ‘Lost in Enchantment’ installation for the first time in Asia.  

Staff training

ION Orchard employees also play a crucial part in turning the mall into a destination. Yeo said they provide the ION P.R.I.D.E. — Personal Responsibility In Delivering Excellence — in-house training programme for the staff “to maintain an impeccable service standard.”

The management staff, service providers, including housekeeping, and security, as well as tenants attended this rigorous training.

Its Concierge team is also multilingual to assist with mall and membership enquiries across channels, including phone, email, web chat and WhatsApp. “They are also trained to assist shoppers with special needs, a service that not many malls offer,” Yeo shared.

“We recognise the importance of cultivating a customer-centric approach to our work and prioritising continuous learning and professional development. This has been our core driver from the start,” Yeo said.

“2024 is the biggest year for us yet, as ION Orchard marks its 15th anniversary,” she added.  “We will continue building on the successes we have carved out for ourselves in the past 15 years and remain steadfast in delivering the best for our shoppers.”

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