Local retailers should make shopping more fun, memorable

Many stores here remain focused on selling products instead of embracing new retail concepts that stress giving shoppers memorable experiences, according to professional services firm Ernst and Young.

Mr Andrew Cosgrove, its global lead analyst for consumer products and retail, said firms need to offer more than simple transactions and should use artificial intelligence to personalise shopping.

He spoke to The Straits Times on the sidelines of The Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit at Marina Bay Sands yesterday, where he told the audience that "buying" will be the automatic and mundane purchase of necessary items, while "shopping" will merge with entertainment to provide an immersive and enjoyable experience.

Mr Cosgrove later told ST: "Retailers need to think much more about what they can give consumers above and beyond what they are selling."

Luxury fashion brand Ralph Lauren, for example, installed interactive mirrors that recognise the clothes shoppers hold, and can display the available sizes and colours.

The lighting in fitting rooms can also be adjusted via the mirror to show how the items look in different settings.

Associate Professor Ang Swee Hoon from the National University of Singapore Business School said Singapore companies generally lack the capital and expertise to adapt to new retail trends, especially since many of them are small and medium-sized enterprises.

Mr S. Iswaran, the Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations at the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Minister for Communications and Information, said the goal of being a Smart Nation by 2025 shows how Singapore recognises the important and transformative role of technology.

He cited local furniture firm Commune, noting shoppers can use its 3D floor planner and virtual reality simulation to recreate their home and visualise how the furniture will fit inside it.