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Asia Trends 2019
Our top five trends shaping the Asian retail market and influencing retailer strategy over the next year and beyond.
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FamilyMart has launched its first laundry-convenience store in the Sanchong District of New Taipei, Taiwan.
7-Eleven is testing trial facial recognition payment at one of its stores in Tokyo this month.
7-Eleven will open a pilot store in collaboration with NEC. The store will be approx. 10-20 sq m and will only serve NEC Group employees. To access the store, staff will need to preregister themselves. They will then be able to enter the store by scanning their employee ID or be authenticated by a facial recognition system. To checkout, shoppers will need to scan the bar codes of products and identify themselves in the same way as before. Payment will then be deducted from the salary of the individual.
Last month, we outlined how retailers across Japan are facing increasing challenges to hiring staff at their stores. Retailers are therefore using automation and technology to drive in-store efficiencies as part of the solution. The retailer's latest initiative is small in scale and restrictive, but could be the first step towards introducing more unstaffed stores in the future. It could be rolled-out to new stores, for example, dedicated to shoppers from selected companies to service office and factory workers. While the pilot store will have no cashiers, staff members will be on hand to place orders and stock shelves
Unstaffed 7-Eleven stores in other markets, such as South Korea and Taiwan, operated by area franchise partners already exist. These unstaffed stores are more typical in size and product range relative to other 7-Eleven stores in the network.
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We’ve identified the top five trends shaping the Asian retail market and influencing retailer strategy in 2019 and beyond. Nick Miles, our head of Asia-Pacific, discusses each one and reveals what it means for suppliers in the region.
Changing lifestyles mean shoppers across Asia are becoming increasingly demanding. Shopping little and often is a growing trend and consumers expect to be able to source products anywhere, anytime and anyhow they like.
Retailers are adapting their operations in response. Convenience store chains continue to rapidly expand their networks and stores are using space in new ways. Retailers are developing smaller, more unique stores, and online delivery times are being cut.
Nick said: “Convenience is not purely about speed. Retailers that are able to meet different shopper demands through their stores, ranges, services and the experience they offer will win. These experiences will need to be fast, relevant and seamless. So, suppliers will need to ensure they also have the necessary flexibility in their businesses.”
Over the past few years, major partnerships have helped share expertise and accelerate online growth across Asia. These partnerships come in many forms as retailers, suppliers and technology businesses increasingly look to blur the boundary between offline and online. In 2019, we expect to see more partnerships emerge, existing ones develop further and the influence of Asia’s largest online players to spread across the region.
Nick said: “Asia’s online landscape is incredibly fluid and competitive. Collaboration between partners will help online expand both within individual markets and across borders, faster than previously thought. Suppliers should ensure they stay on top of the latest online partnerships.”
Asian shoppers are increasingly aware of the importance of healthy living, fresh food, nutrition and product sourcing. That’s thanks to factors like growing levels of affluence, improved education, targeted government campaigns and historical food safety scares. Retailers are responding by highlighting healthy ranges and freshness using innovative concepts, layouts and technologies.
Nick said: “Fresh food, foodservice options and health and wellness ranges will feature more prominently in-store in the future as retailers respond to changing shopping habits. Suppliers should be aware that competition for space in-store will intensify.”
Social commerce is rapidly growing in importance across Asia. Brand communication via social media platforms is commonplace, influencing shopper behaviour and giving smartphone users easy ways to shop online. Innovations will continue to emerge in 2019, as retailers and suppliers deliver targeted marketing and new ways to make online shopping more social.
Nick said: “Shopping via social media platforms is a key route to market in the region. Retailers and suppliers must therefore truly understand the landscape and have a clear social media strategy to engage shoppers and stay relevant.”
Asian consumers are exceptionally open to new technology. In 2019 we will be keeping a close eye on digital and technological innovations in Asia. We’ll look particularly at those helping retailers to differentiate their offer and raise service levels. Those that help them develop stores set up for an online future and deliver more efficient operations in the face of rising costs.
Nick said: “Technology is revolutionising the food and grocery industry in Asia. This could have big implications for how shoppers interact with brands in store in the future. However, it’s not only about a focus on customers – it’s also about reducing costs and improving efficiency. Suppliers need to understand which technologies are set to have the biggest impact on their category.”
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Guaranteed next day delivery of letters and parcels.
Starting from today, you can get your mail delivered at more than 3,000 7-Eleven stores in Bangkok. The service is a joint venture between CP Group, Thailand’s largest grocery retailer and local delivery company Dynamic Logistics.
Next day delivery is guaranteed for all packages that are received before 9pm. In addition, packages can be tracked via the Dynamic Logistics website for added security.
Other value added services have also been recently introduced at 7-Eleven. The retailer has partnered with Thailand’s Government Savings Bank to offer shoppers basic banking facilities, such as deposit and withdrawal of funds.
Earlier this month, 7-Eleven Thailand started a food delivery trial to limited areas within Bangkok. Ready-to-eat meals and snacks can be easily ordered through the LINE messaging app and will be delivered to you within 30 minutes.
Click here for the latest news and developments about 7-Eleven Thailand.
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Singapore online concierge service opens innovative bricks-and-mortar marketplace.
Launched this week, Habitat by honestbee is the online concierge’s first entry into offline grocery retail. Occupying 60,000 sq ft, the store at Pasir Panjang contains a supermarket with more than 20,000 Asian and global flavours and ingredients.
In addition, it houses 15 different upmarket dining concepts, such as an oyster bar, a Japanese pancake café and organic salads. There are future plans to introduce food workshops and other lifestyle masterclasses.
Habitat by honestbee also features the world’s first cashless, automated checkout system integrated with a robotic collection system. Shoppers deposit their items at stations which automatically scan, check out and pack these items. Together with the retailer’s e-wallet, called beePay, shoppers are promised seamless, secure and fast transactions.
Pauline Png, VP & Managing Director of Habitat by honestbee, said, “With its launch, we now provide tech-enabled convenience, value and quality through food in both the online and offline experience. It is a unique combination of a full supermarket, speciality grocer, dining and interactive lifestyle destination.”
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We've developed a single, universal methodology for calculating food and consumer goods retail data, supported by our programme of primary and secondary research. This makes Datacentre the most reliable and robust source available for data of this type.