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Will GSS’ new digital app turn things around for the retail scene?

This year’s Great Singapore Sale (GSS) has taken a new approach with the launch of a new app delivering deals and e-coupons to consumers. Called “GoSpree”, the new app allows shoppers to compile discounts on a virtual card which can be used at designated physical stores, according to multiple news reports.

According to the Singapore Retailers Association (SRA) in a statement to The Straits Times, retailers will not be charged for listing their deals on the app, to which SRA also holds the copyright. Marketing has reached out to SRA.

The aim of the app is to reach out to younger shoppers who are technologically savvy. It also aims to help smaller stores in the heartlands pull in shoppers during GSS by incentivising the shopping experience.

It also allows retailers to send e-coupons and notify users of flash deals. According to ST, each retailer participating in GSS will also get a unique QR code for shoppers to collect. The codes will contain special deals for shoppers who scan them through the app, which is available in English and Mandarin.

In a conversation with Marketing, Linda Locke, creative director and CEO of Godmother said that the app is a good initiative and will allow customers to have greater awareness of all the offers available during GSS.

“It also breathes some life into the experience. Surprising short term offers through out the GSS period would also inject some fun and excitement,” Locke added.

Agreeing with her is Joe Escobedo, director of marketing, Happy Marketer, who added that GoSpree is a smart move by GSS and retailers.

GoSpree cuts all the marketing gimmicks and gives people what they want – discounts.

With retail spaces shrinking and more brands shutting down brick and mortar operations in Singapore, will taking a digital approach with a big shopping event such as GSS help revive the shopping scene?

According to Stephen Lampert, strategy director at FITCH:

Retail in Singapore is hurting. And even more than hurting, it has simply gotten boring.

“Anyone who’s visited just a few malls in Singapore will tell you, it’s all the same. But by connecting GSS shoppers with smaller, independent retailers, this app might just have the potential to inject some life into our stale retail scene,” Lampert said.

He explained that maybe the allure of a great deal will be enough to pique shoppers’ interest, and get them out of their usual routines, and into some of the more interesting retailers and shopping experiences Singapore has to offer.

“If this app can get shoppers out of the ‘same-old, same-old’, and into something different (while getting a great deal) than this app will certainly make GSS more appealing to shoppers of all kinds,” Lampert added.

Will this lead to more sales?

While all three industry players agree the app is a good idea, will the app be sustainable to keep shoppers interested in the long run?

Locke is of the view that this boils down to how well the app is communicated to consumers. This ensures that enough consumers download the app prior to and during the GSS period.

“There is no mention beyond Union Pay of reaching out to tourists and that should be a target market as well,” Locke said.

According to Happy Marketer’s Escobedo, GSS generally results in a spike in retail sales during the campaign followed by a significant dip in the months thereafter.

“While the GSS is a great initiative to boost sales over the short-term, the organisers should consider making certain elements of the app available throughout the year to sustain sales,” Escobedo explained. He added that aside from English and Mandarin, it also makes sense to add other languages such as Bahasa to the app, as many shoppers from across the region come down for the GSS. Incorporating social media should also be a strategy SRA looks at, Escobedo said.

“By allowing shoppers to share how much they saved on a particular item on their social media account, it spurs their friends and contacts to try the app too. No one wants to miss out on a good sale!” he explained.

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