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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.

The top five trends

  1. Ultimate convenience
  2. Partnerships shaping the future of online
  3. Health and freshness at the heart
  4. Social shopping
  5. Technology transformation

1. Ultimate convenience

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.

ReRetailers 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.”

2. Partnerships shaping the future of online

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.”

3. Health and freshness at the heart

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.”

4. Social shopping

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.”

5. Technology transformation

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.”

See these trends in action and gain access to free Asia insights.

Guaranteed next day delivery of letters and parcels.

7-Eleven launches Speed-D express delivery

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.

Banking services and food delivery options

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.

Supermarket, restaurant and retail experience in one location

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.

AutoCheckout and RoboCollect

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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Partnership with BingoBox, a well-known Chinese unstaffed store operator.

Two stores opened as trial

Following on from recent trials in Indonesia and India, the unmanned store has now entered the Malaysian market. A Malaysian startup, Scientific Retail Sdn. Bhd., has partnered with e-wallet provider Boost and BingoBox, who runs over 400 unmanned stores in China.

The innovative convenience store can be found in two locations – at Bukit Ceylon and the Shell Select at Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur. If successful, Shell Malaysia is ready to roll out a similar concept to 300 more stations. In addition, Scientific Retail is expecting to transfer this technology to help 500 small retailers grow its business by the end of 2019.

A seamless shopping experience

The technology is relatively simple: download the BingoBox app and scan a QR code to enter the store; after selecting your items, an automatic checkout counter will total up your purchases and charge your credit card or your Boost e-wallet. BingoBox promises a retail experience that can be completed in under one minute.

Shairan Huzani Husain, Managing Director of Shell Malaysia Trading Sdn Bhd said, “We are proud to be the first in the industry to provide this innovation to our Shell customers. Our mission is to make life’s journey better for our customers and we believe that Shell Select powered by BingoBox Retail Technology will do exactly that.”

 

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You'll visit some of the best stores to see how retailers are responding to current trends.

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