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Technology to drive the future of retail

Released at: 16:55, 06/03/2019

Technology to drive the future of retail

Photo: Hong Nhung (VET)

Innovation, digital technology application, and digital communications to become the future of retail, Vincom Retail seminar hears.

by Khanh Chi

What criteria have the greatest impacts on the success of Vietnam’s retail industry was among the major questions raised at the “Future of Vietnam’s Retail Industry” seminar held by Vincom Retail JSC last week in Ho Chi Minh City. The importance of the digital technology and the customer experience were cited most by speakers.

Product has become secondary to the experience nowadays. New retail trends show that innovation, the application of digital technology, and digital communications are the future of retail, according to Mr. Geoffrey Morrison, Founder and Executive Director of Concept i, an international design studio specializing in high profile retail / commercial, leisure and entertainment projects.

“The major factor affecting the success of the retail industry is technology,” he told the gathering. “Technology creates unique characteristics, creating customer interaction with digital technology and helping customers easily find everything through their smartphones, and they can even go to a store to design or choose and order items by themselves.”

Of a similar mind, Ms. Dinh Thi My Loan, Chairwoman of the Vietnam Retail Association, said that Vietnam’s retail sector cannot develop in the context of global integration without technology and innovation.

She added that the retail chain model is the development trend now adopted by many retailers, including small retailers and startups. This model has only recently arrived in Vietnam in recent years to increase brand awareness, increase competitiveness, and raise revenue. It’s estimated that the chain model has grown very strongly in the country, by about 20-30 per cent each year in recent times.

Mr. Morrison also said the three major criteria for the development of the retail industry should be increasing connectivity and interaction, frequent customer tagging, and integrated technology to increase the customer experience, while at the same time introducing creative innovations and creating a completely new experience for customers in order to form a creative innovation ecosystem.

He also emphasized that retail space trends are changing a great deal. Many leading brands have made specific moves, with Nike decorating their store interiors as innovative homes, helping customers have a more realistic experience. Fashion and dining stores have also promoted digital applications to speed up goods receipt and payments, which ensure accuracy.

Ms. Rebecca Pearson, Associate Director, Asia, Retail, at CBRE Asia Pacific, presented figures on the prospects for Vietnam’s retail real estate market and new trends influencing consumers’ shopping behavior. Some success stories and experiences were shared by tiNiWorld, Mr. Thomas Ngo, Co-founder and CEO of N Kid Corporation, and Ms. Patricia Marques, General Manager of Starbucks Vietnam, who also provided many valuable insights on how to build branding, conduct chain model management, and how best to develop.

Vincom Retail reported its development strategy and announced its expansion plans for 2019. It will launch 13 new Vincom shopping malls, bringing the total to 79 nationwide and maintaining its leading market position. It also discussed its plans to seize upon market trends and put them into its shopping centers.

The “Future of Vietnam’s Retail Industry” seminar identified three trends: enhancing the experience at the point of sale, shopping centers becoming not only a shopping and entertainment destination but also a community of cultural connections, and technology applications increasing the competitiveness between local and international retailers in Vietnam.

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