One of the sectors that are expected to be hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak is definitely the retail sector.
Since the main mode of virus transmission is person-to-person contact, concerned Singaporeans understandably try to avoid going to crowded places.
These concerns, coupled with fewer tourists arriving, have led to a sharp decline in the number of visitors to shopping centers in recent weeks.
The tourism sector in Singapore is also likely to suffer a blow. The number of visitors is expected to decrease by 25 to 30 percent this year.
For one, the department store OG recently announced that it will close an hour earlier at 7.30 p.m. than at 8.30 p.m. It has also started measuring the temperatures of all employees and customers.
In addition to OG, local retailer Habitat von Honestbee has also announced that it is closed until further notice due to a "significant reduction in walk-in traffic" due to the outbreak.
In addition to these retail stores, there was also a decline in visitor numbers in the F&B branches. The regular queues at Jewel & # 39; s A&W and Shake Shack are reportedly no longer visible.
What else do retailers do to stay relevant?
As companies try to find ways to mitigate the impact of the virus, a small group of companies are increasingly turning to digital tools to ensure that business continues as usual.
For MC2, a company dealing with curtains and blinds, they are used to organizing group meetings involving over hundreds of homeowners.
After the virus broke out, MC2 chose Facebook Live instead to avoid crowding large crowds in their showroom. This definitely fits the saying "If customers can't come to you, go to the customer".
The same applies to the Ruhens water treatment brand, which has activated its mobile showroom and brings its products to interested customers by arrangement.
This way, potential customers don't have to travel to their showroom and can avoid large crowds in the same place.
Photo credit: resting
On the other hand, the luxury consignment store LuxLexicon, which has a physical shop front at The Centrepoint Orchard, expects its business to slow by 20% due to the decline in pedestrian traffic.
LuxLexicon founder, Florence Low, told Vulcan Post that to mitigate the slowdown, they are now offering free delivery services for all local buyers and free pickup services for their shippers who sell through them.
In addition, LuxLexicon recently turned to live streaming from Facebook. Items are sold through "live bids" so customers can continue to shop from the comfort of their own home.
In this uncertain business outlook, it remains even more important to stay in touch with customers.
Slow sales are also expected for F&B companies. The owner of the Basil & Mint Hawker stand at the Amoy Road Food Center, Lum Von-Nie, told Channel News Asia that her weekly sales had dropped 20%.
Fortunately, it offers grocery delivery services through grocery companies. As a result, it has helped reduce their losses by 10% instead of 20%.
Only in difficult times do we see certain companies stand out from others – and it seems retailers are increasingly turning to digital efforts to do just that.
While non-FMCG retailers (Fast Moving Consumer Group) are campaigning for a drop in customer frequency and a slowdown in business, supermarkets and pharmacies are seeing an increase in customer visits.
At the end of last week there was a shopping frenzy among Singaporeans – masks were always sold out, and people panicked to buy everyday supplies like rice, toilet paper, instant noodles, and more.
Selected image source: Marketing China