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Truly Singaporean: Meet the 28-year old marketing head of Decathlon SEA

Check out his plans as Decathlon opens flagship store in Singapore this December.

Decathlon, a global manufacturer of apparel and equipment for a range of sports with US9 billion revenues in 2014, has had an online presence in Singapore for almost three years now. With continued growth in the city-state, the next goal is to launch its first physical flagship store in Southeast Asia right here in Singapore in December 2015.

Decathlon features more than 800 stores and 60,000 employees in 22 countries worldwide. According to 28-year old Clarence Chew, who currently heads the marketing of Decathlon Southeast Asia (Singapore), the new 3,200sq.m. store will allow Singaporeans of all races, backgrounds and ages to enjoy the sports they love, from hiking to swimming to basketball.

Decathlon was founded in France in 1976 and it hopes to make the pleasure and benefits of sports accessible to all. The firm which bills itself as the third largest research and development operation in France next to French military and Renault, has 20 design teams which conceptualise and create all of the products you see in Decathlon stores, online and offline.

Chew shares that after setting up a physical store in Singapore, they aim to establish an e-commerce presence in every country in Southeast Asia in the next three years, and at least one physical store in each country in the next five years.

Who is Clarence?

Clarence is responsible for executing the marketing strategy of the brand in the region. He was the second employee of Decathlon in Singapore and he has been critical in spearheading the multinational’s entry into Southeast Asia and Australia through a targeted ‘e-commerce-first’ strategy, digital-physical concepts such as the Decathlon eXperience showroom, and the forthcoming launch of the first physical store in Singapore.

As one of the key founding management team members of Decathlon in Singapore, Clarence said that the experience of setting up the office, warehousing, logistics flow and then growing the e-commerce business into a multimillion dollar enterprise has been particularly rewarding.

“The biggest highlight of my time with Decathlon: I am very proud of the amazing team members I have had the pleasure of recruiting, all of whom have made this story possible,” he said.

According to him, one of the significant achievements he has was when he proposed acquisition of the Customer Service Department and make it part of their Marketing team. He explained that they view customers as critically important to their business and wish to have a seamless user experience with Decathlon.

“We managed to achieve this “acquisition” in the second year of business and are currently working on strategies to enhance the customer experience for our brand. The results thus far have been very optimistic,” he said.

Another exciting highlight, he shared was the merger of a conventional retail model with modern digital concepts.

“Our first foray globally into the omnichannel world was through the Decathlon eXperience showroom in Singapore, where customers can visit, view and try our products, then purchase via the built-in portals, having the product delivered to their home or office. This is a unique concept that combines the ease, convenience and flexibility of online shopping, with the face-to-face customer service of a traditional retail store,” said Clarence.

Clarence is a graduate of Arcadia University, Pennsylvania (M.B.A., Finance), and has attended National University of Singapore (B.A., Economics) as well as the Raffles Institution in Singapore.

As the person in charge of marketing in the region, Clarence said he strongly believes in three things:

  • Listening to our customers and developing our business based on their feedback. The digital age dictates that we now live or die by the word of our customers, hence why putting them first is key.
  • Hiring a great team. Alone, we are all imperfect; but with a team whose talent and skills complement each other, we can be exceptional.
  • Your word is gold. I believe that to be trustworthy, efficient and effective, one has to ensure that one always respects one’s own word and promises.

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