Stores in Hong Kong and Singapore have suffered a sharp drop in footfall because of COVID-19, but they can use this period to revamp their strategies and minimise lost sales from physical stores, an industry figure suggests.

Carson McKelvey, CEO of Hong Kong-based retail solution provider Tofugear, addressed this topic in a recent webinar hosted by marketing software company Emarsys.

“We are seeing as much as 50% decrease in watches and fine jewellery, and up to 60% decrease in luxury and fashion,” he reported.

And even “need-based categories” are suffering from lower demand; 37% of Hong Kong consumers plan to spend less on household goods and appliances, for example, while 38% of Singapore consumers are cutting expenditure on electronics.

But McKelvey believes retailers and brands with strong digital-commerce capabilities will enjoy exponential growth in these channels for the rest of the year.

He cautioned against making marketing strategy all about marketplaces, however, explaining that these, in themselves, are “not a valid strategy”.

“Don’t just think you can start selling online by going on marketplaces,” he said. “Marketplaces are useful as part of the strategy, especially for customer acquisition, but they shouldn’t be your end-all and be-all strategy for online.”

They are certainly a quick way to get online and start promoting products to consumers, but this comes at the expense of “very limited control over the customer experience”.

“A lot of it has to do with just how marketplaces work,” he said. Brands have little flexibility and sway over marketplace UX to make sure that customers have comparability of the products presented to them.

Tofugear found inaccurate representations of products to be the top frustration for Hong Kong consumers when they shop online. This was also one of the biggest hindrances for Singapore buyers – second place behind expensive shipping.

Both retailers and brands therefore must balance reliance on marketplaces with a direct relationship with the consumer, McKelvey maintained.

For more details, read the full article:  How to align your retail strategy with what Singapore and Hong Kong consumers want. This is part of a special WARC Snapshot focused on enabling brand marketers to re-strategise amid the unprecedented disruption caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

Sourced from WARC