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Singapore to Boost National Brands, Innovation, Internationalisation

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Low Yen Ling, Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Culture, Community, and Youth has unveiled the Retail Industry Transformation Map (ITM) 2025, which will be spearheaded by Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG). This is in collaboration with industry leaders, labour organisations, and other government agencies.

It will focus on establishing a core of international Singaporean brands and enhancing the quality of jobs in the sector. The Retail ITM was created in 2016 with an emphasis on the deployment of digitisation and automation technology to increase productivity and minimise the sector’s reliance on personnel. Since the inception of the Retail ITM in 2016, the sector has achieved significant progress in terms of digitisation and productivity gains.

“The refreshed ITM supports our vision to build a strong and vibrant retail ecosystem. Over the past few years, our retailers have shown great resilience and tenacity to embrace change,” says Dilys Boey, Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Industry Clusters), EnterpriseSG.

She encouraged merchants to be bold in conveying the stories behind their brands, designs, and goods, to explore new channels for engaging consumers, and to experiment with novel experiences to win over new customers both locally and abroad.

The Retail ITM 2025 Strategies

The COVID-19 epidemic has accelerated the search for distinctive consumer experiences, as well as the trend toward digital-first company structures and omnichannel shopping.

Coupled with an increase in middle-class consumers in the region, as well as government and private sector efforts to stimulate sector revitalisation and vibrancy, the Retail sector is positioned for future growth and transformation. Hence, the Retail ITM 2025 will be divided into four strategies.

The first strategy would be to encourage internationalisation by developing global Singapore brands. The updated ITM promotes Singapore brands to access new markets, expand regionally, and internationalise through various forms.

EnterpriseSG will collaborate with e-commerce platforms to give SMEs access to global and regional B2C e-marketplaces. It will also collaborate with Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to promote and highlight promising brands to boost Singapore’s brand position abroad.

The second strategy is revitalising retail by launching new experiential concepts and innovations. Unique in-store experiences, augmented by customer participation via social commerce, are vital advances to which retailers must react to remain relevant. Flagship stores that provide new or improved experiences are critical to retaining local and worldwide customers.

The updated ITM also urges merchants to invest more in product innovation to distinguish themselves from worldwide competition. EnterpriseSG will collaborate with Trade Association Chambers (TACs) such as Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC) and Singapore Fashion Council (SFC) to assist companies in building knowledge on sustainability and developing capabilities to create sustainable products and pursue sustainable business models.

The third plan would be to bolster Singapore’s position as a lively lifestyle destination for global businesses. Fostering global and local brand collaborations is another way to attract global companies into the local retail ecosystem, and it is a win-win situation for both brands in terms of reaching new client groups.

The fourth strategy is to accelerate job and skill transformation while also creating quality roles for locals. The Retail ITM 2025 will boost local talent streams to enable new retail business models. This, combined with ongoing attempts to automate manual work and streamline backend operations, will help to lessen organisations’ dependency on foreign labour.

Government agencies including EnterpriseSG, Workforce Singapore (WSG), and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) will help more businesses upskill and reskill workers in emerging retail roles such as e-commerce-related roles, digital marketers, data analysts, brand managers, and product designers.

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