COVID-19: Retailers struggle amid uncertainties about reopening, recovery of sales
29 May 2020
Article highlighted that the retail industry in Singapore has been reeling off from the economic impact of COVID-19. The retail industry has seen its biggest drop in 22 years in March, even before the circuit breaker. Even as fashion retailers look forward to re-opening after restrictions have eased off, it may not bring an end to their woes if travel restrictions are still in place. Samuel Tan, course chair of TP’s diploma in retail management, opined on the challenges and opportunities facing retailers during and after COVID-19. Director of NYP’s Singapore Institute of Retail Studies, Megan Ong shared that retailers should take advantage of this current downtime, undergo short courses on e-commerce, and work with suitable partners to roll out their e-commerce business. To this end, the government has announced a few concessions, and most recently, a S$500 million plan to spur businesses to adopt digital tools amid COVID-19. Despite the concessions, retailers say pivoting online involves cost and other challenges such as having to negotiate with the brands they represent for rights to sell the goods online in Singapore. SP’s Marketing lecturer Lucas Tok agreed with the retailers’ sentiments, adding that it can be hard to understand what digital platforms offer to retailers, or which site suits them best if they went a marketplace platform.