‘Retail-tainment’ key to Orchard Road’s revival: Experts

The Centrepoint along Orchard Road will soon go through another facelift to make itself more attractive to shoppers and tourists. But in an increasingly competitive landscape, malls along Orchard Road must also offer other leisure activities and facilities to complement the retail experience, according to property experts.

Orchard Road receives more than seven million visitors each year, but it is facing competition from new attractions and hotels in Singapore outside the shopping belt.

Second Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran announced recently that the Government is gathering feedback on how to rejuvenate the 2.2-kilometre stretch in order for it to remain a competitive retail destination for tourists.

Property consultants said activities and services can help improve the shopping experience. Mr Desmond Sim, head of research for Southeast Asia and Singapore at CBRE, said: “The retail environment is definitely more competitive and … retail malls are no longer pure plays of transactions. You have to do other activities.

“Our guys have coined the term ‘retail-tainment’ – where you go into a retail place and you do a lot of things. You can go for a spa, kids’ lessons … as well as things like parks and museums so as to engage the whole age spectrum. Activity is important, and through such activity, hopefully they will start spending as well.”

Other property consultants also mentioned social media as another way for mall owners and retailers to engage shoppers amid rising competition from digital retailers.

“It is important not only for the shopper’s experience but it also helps mall owners and retailers understand shifting in profiles of shoppers,” said Ms Lee Siew Ling, director of retail at Jones Lang LaSalle Property Consultants.

“By making use of social media, it will help them to understand the changing demand and cater to that. This is especially for high-street brands, where a lot of brands are accessible via shops and online. There are less reasons now for shoppers to go to brick-and-mortar stores to purchase a product.”

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 2 Apr 2015

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