MODERN RETAILERS have steered their business model towards digitisation to tap the “omnichannel” potential and brace themselves for the Thailand 4.0 era.
Supaluck Umpujh, chairwoman of The Mall Group, said that Thailand 4.0 is an economic model to promote and transform Thailand into a digital economy.
Digital economy refers to the widespread use of digital technologies, which are rapidly transforming business practices and social interactions.
According to the Thai Board of Industries, the strategic framework for digital economy promotion consists of four areas: digital commerce, digital entrepreneurship, digital innovation, and digital content.
In pushing forward this forward-looking agenda, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society will promote a new generation of entrepreneurs, as well as commercial and industrial innovations. At the same time, it will assist investors in developing new markets for digital content. Entrepreneurs will be aware of the importance of using ICT in enhancing efficiency and reducing production costs. Implementation of the digital economy plan will need the support and involvement of all stakeholders in achieving its stipulated goals.
“We realised that retail business played a crucial role in Thailand’s economy, and we are also trendsetters in shopping. The first mission that we seek for our customers is to add some online shopping experience into our stores. But we also offer the experience that customers cannot find through digital channels. Currently, we are working on many digital platforms for instance e-commerce, mobile application, Radio Frequency Identification, Near Field Communication and many more,” she said.
Nicolo Galante, chief operating officer of Central Group, said the group had integrated omnichannels to improve the customer experience. “We [Central Group] expect to move each of its online business units and will launch major e-commerce initiatives such as major partnerships and joint-ventures,” he said, adding that the e-commerce market will have a significant impact on retailers.
Galante said the Central Group aimed |to be number one in terms of sales across channels. Central Group has stores, customer data and customer knowledge across many different stores, locations and categories.
Salinla Seehaphan, corporate affairs director of Tesco Lotus, said the Thailand 4.0 economic model stressed on the importance of adding value to traditional products and services using innovation and digital transformation.
“In our own business, Tesco Lotus has adopted innovation and digital transformation to improve our product and service offerings, as well as our customers’ shopping experience, for example by allowing customers to be able to trace where their fruits and vegetables come from via QR codes. As our core business revolves around fresh food, we have an opportunity to work directly with farmers across the country and help them to become farmers 4.0 in line with the government’s goal for Thai farmers to transform from being simply growers of food to smart farmers who use effective crop management and a market-led approach to farming,” she said.
We also focus on equipping them with the knowhow that will help them thrive in Thailand 4.0,” she said.
Punyapon Tepprasit, chief executive of MVP Consultant and lecturer at Sripatum University’s International Trade Department, said the main idea of the Thailand 4.0 economic model focuses on innovation creativity and sustainability. Thai retailers will change definitely in keeping with consumer behaviour. “I have four suggestions for Thai retailers. First of all, retailers must combine the online and offline channel strategy for creating an omnichannel that can help a business generate brand awareness, market share, and sales growth with big data analysis. Online enjoys competitive advantages as it is the fastest, can be available for 24 hours, has low advertising cost, and can track consumer behaviour. Also, businesses can reduce the cost per acquisition for one customer or groups of target customer,” he said.
“Second, businesses have to build a talent team to create a new creativity strategy. Their new strategy must attract the attention of customers through newness of products and service innovation, or marketing communication via online and offline channel such as the augmented reality technology with an application on smartphone that can boost the emotional connection by experience and relationship creation with customers or target groups. The winner will be the one who can impress the brand on customers’ minds,” added Punyapon.
“Third is business transformation. Businesses must reshape their organisations into lean entities to minimise wastage in the working process, as well as total cost and lead time. If companies can adjust agilely, they will have a competitive advantage in the volatile environment, because companies have the ability to address the changes in market demand.
“The fourth is to become a data driven organisation. Businesses have to undertake market research to know the depth of consumer behaviour. Big data is very important, but the tools and data analysis are more important,” he said.