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Singapore's retail digital plan to help Kampong Glam merchants go omni-channel

Kampong Glam could soon become Singapore's first digitally-enabled neighbourhood.

KAMPONG Glam could soon become Singapore's first digitally-enabled neighbourhood. The Malay enclave has been identified as the first of many neighbourhoods that will undergo a digital revitalisation, as part of the the Retail Industry Transformation Map (ITM).

"Kampong Glam, a traditional neighbourhood that is both rich in culture and heritage, will embark on a journey to transform the precinct and its merchants," announced the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) at its first-year anniversary event on Friday

The IMDA and partners will co-develop a digital roadmap to enhance the digital capabilities of merchants in Kampong Glam and transform the visitor experience in the precinct. IMDA's partners include Spring Singapore, the Singapore Malay Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and One Kampong Glam association.

The digital roadmap - expected to be completed in the next three months - aims to empower retailers to go omni-channel, and improve existing IT infrastructure (such as wireless connectivity) to support upcoming technological implementations.

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"When completed, it would be an interesting showcase that interweaves tradition and digital technologies," said Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the event.

Under the Retail ITM, the IMDA will be equipping the more traditional retailers in Singapore with new solutions to go omni-channel, so that they can sell not only from their physical shops but also be competitive online and fulfil deliveries efficiently.

These solutions include enabling retailers to become more visible to consumers that are within their vicinity, hence increasing the probability of making a sale through quicker delivery lead-times and customer familiarity. They also include allowing retailers to manage inventory, receive orders and publish products onto e-commerce platforms, and exposing retailers to new business models such as e-commerce and federated locker platforms.

The IMDA will too promote the use of digital technologies such as sensors, robotics, augmented and virtual reality, as well as artificial intelligence to enable retailers to deliver richer and more immersive customer experiences. These will be rolled out at shops, malls and neighbourhoods.

"For example, if customers are unsure of what to purchase, a kiosk or device could suggest what to buy based on a list of questions," said the IMDA.

Alongside these initiatives, the Retail Industry Digital Plan (IDP) - a digital transformation guide for small and medium enterprises - was launched as part of the Retail ITM on Friday. The Retail IDP is the second of many blueprints planned under Singapore's effort to restructure its economy. The first to be launched was the Logistics IDP, which was unveiled on Wednesday.