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How a Hong Kong retail store is embracing disruptive technology – Part 2

A recent report noted that a Hong Kong retail store has been embracing emerging technologies since 1999.

In Part I of this piece, OpenGov Asia reported covered the company’s innovative concept store. It can be found here.

Part II will cover how the company plans to embrace tech in the future and how it will adapt it to meet its needs.

The company’s founder stated that the company’s long-term investment in new technologies has been driven by asking how the company can serve its customers better in terms of information and engagement, adding that technology can make purchasing decisions easier.

He noted that the majority of traditional retailers are still unsure about whether the innovations will take on, whether they should invest in the technology. But it is essential if businesses want to remain competitive, especially when the new customer population consists of millennials, who often prefer to shop and interact online.

The founder believes that despite the slow uptake of online shopping in Hong Kong, online and mobile shopping will be significant in the future. He cites the Hong Kong government’s Smart City initiative to boost wi-fi connectivity and encourage e-payments as a major driver in years to come.

It was noted facilities established to enable fast retailing through mobile are gaining momentum in Hong Kong and the region has everything quite well developed, but the market will dictate the change and if business owners do not accept these changes, they will “fade out and become history”.

The founder stated, technology is a must if retailers wish to you competitive.

There currently isn’t a definite percentage of the company’s online sales vs. in-store sales – as many transactions begin online and end offline – or the other way around. However, there isn’t a particular need to attribute a sale to either channel.

Perhaps retailers who do feel this need are missing the whole point of omnichannel. If pushed to nominate a figure the founder stated that the company does 20 per cent online sales and 80 per cent offline; the ratio is expected to change to 40/60 within a year or two.

For the company’s leadership, the application of technology to enhance the customer’s experience and engagement is definitely the road to go and to develop together with more applications and technology, just like the robot, so as to reduce the customer service burden on store staff.

It was stressed that the robot and any other technology implemented by the company must integrate with human staff, not replace them; what he describes as “a balanced fusion of technology and people”.

While Pepper is expected to become popular with its ability to provide instant information and master data about product features, etc, human staff will be enabled to then migrate into higher added-value areas.

Customer response to the AR and VR technology to date has been promising and is driving sales of goods after people look at them either online or instore.

Customers’ confidence in their purchases is boosted because they have seen on a screen how a sofa will look in one part of a room and a rug in another.

Technology is dynamic; constantly improving, updating and becoming more user-friendly.

The founder hopes that together with efforts by the Hong Kong Government to encourage start-ups working to develop technology, the service and retail sectors will help drive its adoption in years to come as well.

As the company’s technology journey continues, the apps it uses will continue to be refined and upgraded with more features and will be made as user-friendly as possible.

Currently, there are other initiatives are the development stage and are, therefore, not ready to be disclosed to the public. More robots are being, with expanded functions and most of them will speak English as well.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.