The Big Read: Live streaming and gamification are fueling the rise in “retail” amid the e-commerce pandemic boom



Although Mr Tng believes Theo10 has successfully transitioned to online retail as the majority of its sales are online, it has not been easy.

From deciding on the right platform to learning how to design and market your product lists that stand out from the competition, to dealing with delivery problems – it was one challenge after the other that Mr. Tng and his team had to overcome.

A spokesman for the Singapore Retail Association said many new users were not quite ready for the digital pivot, even though they saw the need and it has been a costly journey for many retailers to date.

Despite the challenges, retailers know that sticking to the status quo is not an option.

But the steep learning curve and high cost of really developing an online arm that seamlessly merges into the offline part of the business has taken some retailers by surprise.

Prof. Tuli said it was important not to think of digitization in binary terms.

“We tend to assume that you will either digitize or not. That’s not the case … It’s a continuum … It doesn’t mean you are starting to become like Amazon, “he said.

Even the complexity of live stream commerce can vary between retailers, Prof. Tuli said. A retailer can take a simpler approach where the medium is only used to talk about the product and viewers are then asked to go to the online or physical store to buy it.

This would be at a much lower cost than when compared to live streams that integrate payment solutions that allow customers to purchase on-site.

How much retailers should digitize really depends on their products and their business model. It wouldn’t make sense for a corner shop under a public housing block with just two employees to open an e-commerce platform, said Ivan Zhou of Techsun.

However, you can take baby steps. For example, starting a click-and-collect service or setting up a WhatsApp group with other residents of the housing estate and engaging with them by notifying them of promotions, he said.

Although digitization is critical, it should not be seen as a panacea for retailers, said Prof. Tuli.

Ultimately, unique products and good customer service are still key, said Prof. Tuli.

And since the dealers here continue to drive innovations via the digital channel of their choice, other interesting products can be processed in the virtual space in the near future.

Pornsak previously said that a law firm reached out to Mdada to sell legacy planning through their live stream sessions.

While this isn’t even close to the rocket launch service sold during a live streaming session in China last year, it may be a harbinger of things to come here.

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