Wednesday, July 24, 2024

BHG SINGAPORE: Experiential Retail with Digital Technology

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the retail landscape and shifted department
stores’ long-term plans, and BHG Singapore was not exempted. Faced with these
challenges amid its five-year transformation plan, the Singapore-based department
store chain sought to transform into a new business model. Its Chief Financial
Officer, Jheeva Subramanian, discusses the company’s plans for the future.

“True to our transformation strategy, we want to evolve from a department store into a lifestyle destination. We rolled out various initiatives over the past two years which include upskilling the workforce to complement our digital transformation plans and launching our private brands to provide differentiation for shoppers.

With the revamp of our Beauty floor at our flagship store in 2020 where we introduced over 40 new international brands, facial services, café, retail technologies like Instant Gamification, virtual makeup try-on tools and the interactive wall Lift & Learn; we witnessed growth in the division the following year. We also achieved fourfold growth in our e-commerce channel last year, which became profitable six months after its launch on July 20.

In 2022, we are introducing new business models and refining concepts that were introduced in the previous years.

We are in the process of refreshing our Home and Living floor which is expected to be completed within the first quarter of 2022 with new brands, experiential counters, workshops, tutorials and digital integration.

We will introduce AI-based technology in our customer relationship management (CRM) and e-commerce platforms to enable a more personalised shopping experience based on consumers’ shopping patterns and gain a deeper understanding of their needs and expectations.

We also seek to enhance and unify our customers’ experience offline and online.
Customers will soon be able to virtually walk through the stores, browse products, and gather detailed product information and recommendations via interactive videos or tutorials that recreate the discovery experience offered by our staff in our physical stores.

Incorporating Digital Technology

Beyond 2022, BHG Singapore aims to leverage technology and pivot to a new business model to position ourselves as a community engagement destination that caters to various lifestyle needs.

Among the initiatives to achieve this include introducing the endless aisles concept, providing a channel agnostic shopping experience and 5G network implementation at our flagship store for the use of smart shelves, augmented reality and smart mirrors. We are looking to embrace the Internet of Things by launching smart products and apparels to provide added value for our customers.

The pandemic has inadvertently hastened the adoption of new technologies which made our target audiences more receptive to our transformation.

We are fortunate to be supported by a brilliant, passionate and determined team. Embracing experimentation and being comfortable with uncertainty were the defining factors that led to our success, and I am excited to see how the business will evolve with the introduction of the new business model.”

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