July 24, 2012
In Singapore, online stores find life offline
While brick-and-mortar retailers are busy ramping up their online presence, online businesses are getting physical. In the U.S., examples include eBay testing out pop-up shops, Amazon reportedly planning a Seattle store and Gap Inc.’s Piperlime announcing a store, also in Seattle. Here in Singapore, Groupon launched a retail concept store, a first worldwide, in the busy Suntec Mall earlier this month. And popular online fashion retailer Doorstep Luxury, which is based out of Singapore, set up shop at the edge of the Central Business District.
While Singapore consumers are no strangers to online shopping—according to Paypal, Singapore’s online shopping market is slated to reach $3.45 billion in 2015—they still prefer “face-to-face interaction” and a physical presence, Groupon Singapore’s Adrian Tan told Asia One. Plus, the 4,400-square-foot store is a way for the company to meet its customers, who can redeem their purchased goods or browse, buy and print deals. Tan said Groupon may take this concept to other markets if Singapore tests well. Miranda Lindsay-Fynn of Doorstep Luxury, which has an international customer base but focuses on Southeast Asia, says the 2-year-old brand is also looking into opening outlets abroad. So far she’s found that “some people come and browse and then order from home when they’ve decided what to purchase.”
Fashion bloggers are also testing out a retail presence. Trendy Millennials in Singapore have long shopped for inexpensive clothing and accessories on local fashion blogs, the most popular of which achieve cult status among their largely female audience. Several of these have built a physical presence, including Modparade, which opened in the youthful Haji Lane shopping area, and MDSCollections, which has three mall stores and a fourth on its way. As The Business of Fashion recently noted, “It seems clear that pure-play e-tailers will increasingly need to embrace multi-channel strategies.”
Image credit: Jacqueline Seng/CNET Asia