Revealed: Raffles’ strategy to lure back in luxury customers

new brands, inclusive of specialty retail stores or experiential concepts, as part of Raffles City’s rejuvenation, to offer our shoppers an elevated and differentiated shopping experience as we constantly work to meet the evolving needs of our shoppers,” Steve Ng, general manager of Raffles City Singapore told Inside Retail.

The Raffles team plans to complete the mall rejuvenation program by the end of the year, with the plan to execute more unique, experiential events and activities to engage shoppers.

This program will cover around 111,000 sq ft of retail space across levels one to three. Shoppers can expect a specially curated mix of well-established, premium brands, across fashion, beauty and lifestyle categories, with new retail formats and elevated shopping experiences.

Together with its established hospitality assets that include two five-star hotels – Fairmont Singapore and Swissotel The Stamford, and a myriad of dining options, the mall will be uniquely positioned to upscale clientele in the civic district area.

“With the easing of travel restrictions and Singapore’s resilience in fighting the pandemic, we see a positive impact on retailers as more shoppers, both locals and tourists, are heading down to enjoy our new stores and exclusive offerings as the premier fashion and lifestyle mall of choice,” Ng added.

An eclectic mix

According to Ng, Raffles’ tenancy mix has been carefully curated to cater to the diverse demographics who frequent the mall. Upcoming store openings include luxury beauty brands such as Aesop, Chanel, Creed, Diptyque, Givenchy, Gucci Beauty and Guerlain.

British lifestyle retailer, Marks & Spencer, will also launch an experiential store with more than 14,000 square feet of space that offers apparel, beauty, homewares and the second largest M&S food hall in Singapore. The space will feature a grocer and in-store bakery.

It has been 36 years since the brand first set foot in the mall. The new store will also showcase a host of sustainable product innovations with a commitment to 100 per cent cotton used from sustainable sources.

CS Fresh, an upscale supermarket chain, will be offering its first ever ‘Fresh from the sea’ in store dining experience, where customers can choose fresh seafood from the ice bay, select how they would like it to be cooked, then enjoy it in-store.

Other new exciting additions include The Cheese Shop that will offer the largest cheese offerings in a supermarket with charcuterie. Delectable Ready-To-Heat (RTH) offerings from Waitrose, Yolo Foods and Saybons are also featured, while Acai Affair also has its ‘Soul Smoothie Bar’ too.

Attracting crowds

The pandemic had of course hit the retail market in Singapore with movement restrictions for the last two years, and the management saw this an opportune time to recalibrate and refresh its retail offerings.

“With the sense of normalcy returning, we see more appreciation for physical shopping and interaction amongst our shoppers and tenants.”

The mall has been working closely with its tenants to offer intimate, exclusive in-store events to elevate its shopping experience and engage its clientele through ‘by invite only’ events for its Raffles Prestige members.

According to Ng, as an integrated property, comprising retail and hotels, the Raffles’ unique positioning and respective strengths has allowed it to work together with its tenants and hotels to offer unique experiences that make it the one stop destination to not just shop, but also meet, eat, relax and be entertained.

“We have worked with Fairmont Singapore and Swissôtel The Stamford to offer locals holistic ‘Shop and Stay’ experiences, where guests who booked a staycation also received $100 worth of eCapitaVouchers, as well as exclusive shopping experiences,” he noted.

Ng believes that with brands opening their standalone flagship stores in Raffles City, it provides an opportunity for shoppers to experience the brand in a more personal, innovative and memorable way.

Adapting to change

In his opinion, Ng believes that customer expectations have shifted and will continue to evolve. At Raffles, customer experience is key, and companies need to innovate and respond swiftly to ensure growth and lasting customer relationships.

“As much as physical shopping experiences were missed, the need for contactless transactions, improving speed of service and introducing more self service options are necessary as the threat of the pandemic remains,” he stated.

Ng has also seen an increased focus on sustainability as the climate crisis shifts into focus. Its “Project Green” showcase features a sustainability journey of Raffles City and its retailers, with interactive touchpoints, such as the sustainability pledge corner.

Comprising a series of recycling programmes, educational content and upcycling workshops, Project Green is aimed at encouraging shoppers, tenants and hotel guests to take action against climate change.

Highlights include the Green Corner, a recycling hub where the public can drop their e-waste, used plastic drink bottles and aluminium drink cans for recycling. 

A focus on sustainability

Through this platform, shoppers can learn and engage with various sustainability initiatives and efforts by brands such as Nespresso, L’Occitane, Furla, Ginlee and Little Match Girl.

Over the two-and-a-half months period of Project Green Showcase, shoppers can participate  in Nespresso masterclasses, L’Occitane upcycling workshops and panel discussions on food waste.

At the sustainability pledge corner, they can weave an art mural with recycled and upcycled fabric yarns to support the mall’s bid to enter the artwork for the largest textile yarn installation under the Singapore Book of Records. The art mural aims to drive awareness of fabric and textile waste issues and convert awareness into a call for action.

There will also be an Adopt-A-Tree initiative helmed by The Providore, giving shoppers more ways to take part in the mall’s sustainability efforts. This initiative aims to re-populate the forests of Borneo and Sumatra, with each tree planted removing an annual average of 22kg in carbon emissions. 

In a related development, French beauty brand, L’Occitane, opened its first and only eco-concept boutique in the mall, that uses over 80 per cent of recycled materials to furnish and design the store, as part of the brand’s commitment to reduce waste.

The new “True Stories” concept, which promises a bright and welcoming space, is a hub for L’Occitane’s waste-reduction initiatives – the Big Little Things recycling program for beauty empties, eco-refills, and refill fountain, L’Occitane’s zero-plastic product refill service. 

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