Averting the retail apocalypse: lessons from 2 Singapore malls

By Hafizah Hazahal

SPH Magazines



The impact of e-commerce on brick-and-mortar retailers has been documented at length. The continuous shuttering of physical shopfronts has even led to the term “retail apocalypse” being coined in the United States.

In Singapore, the subdued retail market has seen some big names such as Banana Republic, GAP, and Carrefour exiting the market in the last decade. The latest retail real estate data shows retail vacancy rates increasing to 8.7% from the last quarter.

Singapore’s tech-savvy population has driven rapid adoption of peer-to-peer sales and online aggregator marketplaces. People are attracted by a wider variety of offerings at better value in addition to the convenience of shopping wherever they are. Some of the world’s biggest e-commerce players are aggressively targeting the Singapore market due to the buying power of the affluent population.

To counter this decline, some brick-and-mortar retailers are finding ways to lure consumers to their stores, ranging from personalised consumer experiences to cross-concept offerings. Technology is also being used to augment the physical shopping experience.

To complement these initiatives, two retailers have also reached out to SPH Magazines to engage their customers, reach new ones, and increase footfall to their establishments.

The microsite launched by SPH Magazines for Raffles City received 66% impressions above the set target.
The microsite launched by SPH Magazines for Raffles City received 66% impressions above the set target.

Raffles City: inspiring with stylish content

A centrally located mall targeting a broad spectrum of shopper profiles, Raffles City grappled with the double challenges of a weak retail environment and stiff competition from many other malls in the area.

The company approached the SPH Magazines team to help harness its 32nd-anniversary celebrations to drive purchase desire and intent, while boosting awareness of the mall’s anniversary and accompanying promotions across a broad audience.

In the assured and trusted hands of our team of editors, designers, and stylists, the mall’s anniversary celebrations were given a creative and stylish spin. The team created a microsite for Raffles City, which worked to drive up purchase consideration by incorporating elements designed to inspire (fashion spreads), inform (how-to content), and drive purchases (gift guides).

The microsite was then promoted through SPH Magazines’ comprehensive suite of channels across Her World and Nuyou, reaching more than 1.1 million consumers. The touch points included native display ads, Web site skinning, social media posts, and interstitial ads on digital magazines. 

Not surprisingly, the campaign delivered a whopping 66% impressions over and above Raffles City's original target!

The daily surprise calendar for Millenia Walk offered promotions and discounts of interest to an array of shoppers.
The daily surprise calendar for Millenia Walk offered promotions and discounts of interest to an array of shoppers.

Millenia Walk: delighting and surprising customers

Millenia Walk faces a slightly different challenge from Raffles City. A specialist mall that targets the more up-market and design-conscious consumer through artisanal and bespoke offerings, Millenia Walk needed to deepen engagement with a smaller consumer base and still sustain a certain level of footfall.

It came on board with us during the year-end festive season last year to promote its tenants and their unique offerings, and highlight the mall’s festive activities and offers.

We created a fun 12-day calendar that unveiled a daily surprise in the form of special promotions or free gifts. As the surprises cut across a variety of products and services such as technology, homeware, beauty, and food, the mall was able to appeal to differing consumer interests, keeping them motivated to revisit the mall during this period.

The calendar was hosted on a specially created microsite within herworld.com, which also contains information on the mall’s happenings such as craft workshops.

The fun creative approach garnered 5,355 unique visitors to the microsite.

About Hafizah Hazahal

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