Day Three Opening Remarks

The final day of NRF Retail Big Show Singapore began with opening comments from Guillaume Sachet, Partner, Advisory at KPMG in Singapore. Before joining KPMG Global Consumer & Retail, Guillaume drove digital transformation, innovation and investments as Head of Strategy at MediaCorp. He was subsequently appointed Head of Social to manage social media and digital marketing activities and build impactful campaigns.

Guillaume summarised the first two days of the conference, suggested multiple themes had emerged.

Firstly, the ‘customer theme’. Guillaume spoke about how customer centricity and innovation was an important driver of success for all retailers. He referred to Domino’s innovation over the last 15 years, including Domino’s Pizza Tracker, Anywhere Solutions, Domino’s Hotspot and Pinpoint Delivery.

Secondly, the ‘technology theme’. He specifically called out the work of L’Oréal and the launch of their portfolio of skin and hair diagnostics platforms, including their GenAI-powered personal beauty assistants, a GenAI Beauty Content Lab called CREAITECH, and their revolutionary hair dryer based on infrared light technology. He acknowledged L’Oréal’s recently acquired Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence entity, ModiFace.

Thirdly, the ‘product theme’. Herein, he encountered the work of ‘FairPrice Finest’ and their first experience supermarket located at Clarke Quay, which showcases its commitment to continuously reinventing and elevating the retail experience.

Fourthly, the ‘data theme’, where he recalled the fireside chat between Paul Zahra and Nicole Sheffield. He specifically referenced Wesfarmer’s OneDigital business, which brings together the group’s digitally native businesses, including the OnePass membership program, the Catch marketplace, and the Group data asset.

Finally, the ‘sustainability theme’ has also emerged across the first two days. Guillaume referred to the keynote address by Amazon’s Mathsy Kutty, Anne-Laure Descours, Chief Sourcing Officer for PUMA, and Angela Langmann, Start-Up Advisor & Mentor. Specifically, the work PUMA has been doing PUMA to meet EU regulations.

Excitedly, Guillaume presented briefly the findings of a newly researched KPMG research report titled, ‘Navigating the future of seamless commerce in Asia Pacific’.

After three years of COVID-related disruption to traditional in-store shopping patterns, a return to a more ‘normal’ shopping environment has put into focus how much consumers driven online over that time would return to stores.

KPMG research of 7,000 consumers across 14 markets in the region reflects multiple patterns and expectations among consumer groups but one over-riding conclusion is clear: The era of seamless commerce has arrived and while both online and offline channels remain popular throughout the region, traditional retail business models are unlikely to meet the expectations of many of today’s consumers.

Retailers and brands will have to adapt or face potential consequences of not moving with the market.

In recent decades, the Asia-Pacific region has been at the forefront of retail transformation, notably in its early and extensive adoption of online platforms which have played a much larger role compared to the rest of the world. While online is now more important than ever as a retail shopping channel, others such as live streaming and social shopping are growing at differing rates in many locations.

Marketplaces, once at the vanguard of retail transformation, are now coming under attack from new players, including department stores and other multi-brand retailers developing sophisticated, personalized platforms to recover market share they may have lost online. Many brands are developing direct-to-consumer divisions, cutting out the traditional retail resellers.

Today’s consumers are paying greater attention to the sustainability credentials of both brands and retailers – not just of the impact of their purchases on the planet, but how fairly farmers and factory workers are rewarded for their productivity. In payments, e-wallets, QR codes and app-based solutions are eating into the role of cash in many markets, although in markets with large populations of unbanked consumers, the transition is slower than in other markets where technology is coveted.

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