EpiCentre moves focus away from Apple

EpiCentre Holdings has launched its first Live Out Loud (LOL) concept store, in a bid to reshape Singaporeans' digital lifestyle experience, by making a myriad of products readily available in a one-stop shop.

While often synonymous with the Apple brand, with the EpiCentre stores flaunting a similar, minimalist look, the new LOL concept store aims to offer products from dual platforms such as iOS and Android. Among the list of digital lifestyle products available include the 2017 Microsoft Surface Pro, Samsung and Huawei smartphones, in addition to the iPhone and Macbook. To keep up with the Singapore government's push towards Smart Nation, LOL is also offering smart gadgets such as wearables for correcting postures, smart doorbells and smart pet feeders that can be controlled using mobile devices.

In a conversation with Marketing, Kenneth Lim, chairman, EpiCentre Holdings said that with the opening of the Apple Store earlier this year, it was time for EpiCentre Holdings to review its strategy moving forward. According to Lim, EpiCentre Holdings named the new concept store LOL because it wanted a term that Singaporeans were familiar with to aid with brand recall. Going forward, 70% of its retail outfits will be changed to that name.

"We are moving towards selling both Apple and Android products. But we don't want to be like companies such as Harvey Norman or Courts, where you can find everything inside. We are more selective of the products we sell and look to offer premium, lifestyle-driven items," Lim said. He added that EpiCentre Holdings also wanted to leverage on its "strong branding" of being synonymous with Apple to launch LOL.

Moving forward, EpiCentre Holdings intends to roll out the full range of premium products at LOL. Lim said the company made the decision to unveil LOL a few months ago by closing its EpiCentre Apple Premium Reseller store at ION Orchard in April, to carry out an expedited revamp before launching the new concept store. He added:

You don't want too much of a down time in retail. You have to quickly renovate and bring it back.

EpiCentre Holdings chose to kick off the new concept store at ION Orchard as it was the company's flagship store back then. According to him, the EpiCentre Apple Premium Reseller stores in Singapore and Malaysia will be converted into LOL concept stores. The company is also looking expand into Cambodia and Vietnam.

With the launch of LOL, EpiCentre Holdings is also focusing on its membership platform, which offers tiered memberships to consumers. "This is something we are working on at the moment and are putting a lot of effort into it to offer more perks to our customer base," Lim said.

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