Ought to Changi Airport Have Pivoted Its Retailers On-line Earlier?

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Unsurprisingly, as passenger traffic and visitor numbers fell during the pandemic, the retail stores at Changi Airport also saw a sharp drop in sales.

Passenger traffic is still below five percent of its pre-pandemic level, and retail sales are down 74 percent this year.

While Jewel Changi Airport continues to be an attractive retail and entertainment complex, things weren’t as rosy as they were before Covid-19.

Jewelers with over 280 brands and as early as January retail stores were struggling to meet their sales targets. This corresponds to the assessments of the sales staff from eight out of 17 branches.

A fashion store retail manager even said that “a lot of people come here to eat and see the waterfall instead of actually shopping.”

Changi Airport is expanding its online platform

To help airport retailers reach non-travelers in Singapore, the Changi Airport Group has expanded its offering on its online shopping platform iShopChangi.

Customers can now choose from around 17,000 items on the iShopChangi platform, more than three times as many offers as before the outbreak.

In June, Changi launched Changi Eats’ grocery delivery service. 40 brands now offer over 800 food, beverage and snack items on the platform.

The number of orders received had almost quintupled since it was launched.

Changi Festive Village / Photo Credit: Time Out

The group has also announced that it will be launching a range of experiences and activities over the coming year-end holidays.

These experiences and activities include glampcations and glamping at Jewel Changi Airport, as well as educational family camps at the Changi Experience Studio.

The brand new Changi Festive Village across from Jewel Changi, Terminal 3 and the newly built Terminal 4 will host winter, dinosaur and Tokidoki-themed attractions for all ages.

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Pivot could have happened months ago

eCapitaMallScreengrab from eCapitaMall

This is not the first time a mall has come online. On the one hand, the CapitaLand Malls launched two online platforms in June – eCapitaMall and Capita3Eats (pronounced as “Capita delicacies”).

eCapitaMall is a curated digital shopping mall with merchandise from retailers, most of whom also operate in CapitaLand’s shopping malls in Singapore, while Capita3Eats is Singapore’s first shopping mall operated grocery ordering platform.

In addition, Marina Square took Lazada on board as the first shopping center and, together with its tenants, created a virtual shopping center in the app.

Some brands are Benjamin Barker, Island Shop, King Koil, Pororo Park SG and Kiztopia, which already have their own virtual shop windows in LazMall.

As a result, eCapitaMall and Capita3Eats have shown results in increasing tenant revenue as CapitaLand saw a recovery in all business areas in the third quarter of 2020.

More than 2,000 tenants were integrated on the three platforms, an increase of 25 percent compared to the previous quarter. In addition, eCapitaVoucher sales in Singapore have increased more than 200 percent since the start of the year.

This begs the question why the Changi Airport Group is now only turning its retailers online instead of accessing it a few months ago.

iShopChangi has always been an existing shopping portal that you could fall back on.

Passenger traffic is a big part of their business, and travel has stalled for more than half a year so they could have acted faster.

This could have increased some of the impact on their retail business if the pivot had come earlier.

Selected image source: HardwareZone / Departures

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