SMU unveils new research focused retail centre

Singapore Management University (SMU) has launched the Retail Centre of Excellence (RCoE) in partnership with SPRING Singapore and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

A retail insight-sharing hub, RCoE focuses on generating and disseminating actionable knowledge for retailers in Singapore and the region. It ultimately hopes to establish Singapore as the regional retail hub for Asia Pacific.

It also aims to empower retailers with knowledge through research and insights, as well as construct an ecosystem comprising groups such as retailers, retail experts and SMU faculty to advise on the latest industry trends. The RCoE strives to tackle industry challenges and help retailers boost their productivity and innovation levels. Founding members of the RCoE, helmed by SMU professor of marketing Kapil R. Tuli, are DFS Venture, Microsoft, Harvey Norman, IKEA, Popular Holdings, Decathlon and Tiffany and Co.

The centre also seeks to attract and develop a talent pipeline through academic curriculum, which include masterclasses for industry stakeholders, managers and c-suite executives, as well as leadership training and internships for SMU undergraduates and postgraduates. SMU faculty experts will also share research with traditional and non-traditional retailers to enhance industry knowledge, in a bid to help them grow their retail businesses locally and abroad.

"Through the work of the new Retail Centre of Excellence, we will be able to nurture a pipeline of young talent who will be excited to make retail their career and to contribute fresh ideas and perspectives. Retail organisations will also benefit from research by our faculty experts, offering evidence-based insights of relevance to business and industry," professor Lily Kong, SMU Provost, said.

"The fast-changing consumer landscape and advent of new technologies present challenges but also bring about opportunities for retailers. We believe that Singapore is ideally positioned to support retailers to develop insights about the Asian consumers, and create new omni-channel retail concepts to gain market share," Thien Kwee Eng, assistant MD, EDB, said.

"RCoE will be a valuable addition to the local ecosystem to strengthen retailers' innovation and talent development strategies to capture these growth opportunities," she added.

"Through RCoE, retailers will be able to gain deeper insights through retail-centric research which we hope will enable them to pioneer more innovative concepts and solutions. SPRING will continue to work closely with industry partners to drive transformation and support retail businesses in capturing new opportunities," Ted Tan, deputy chief executive, SPRING Singapore, said.