Ong Kian Ming
KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 (Bernama) — The retail industry should innovate and make use of new marketing channels to sustain and create new business opportunities.
Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming said the retail sector had taken some hits in the past and undergone various challenges over the last five years, as evidenced by the under-utilised shopping malls.
“This particularly involves neighbourhood malls despite being located in populous areas.
“More physical retail spaces lead to lower foot traffic especially among the smaller malls. Some had closed down while others are experiencing significant decrease in customers,” he said in his closing address at the Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) conference 2019 here today.
The conference was held in conjunction with MRCA’s Malaysia International Retail and Franchise 2019 taking place from July 18-20.
The retail industry, he said, is facing challenges from stiff competition as there has been an increase in the number of players from local and foreign retailers, which lead to more consumer choices and possibly lower retailer margins.
He said changes in buying patterns had also posed significant challenges to the retailers as it called for greater adjustments, although it might benefit consumers as it allowed them to have more choices and better pricing.
Citing increasing trends of online buying, Ong said it was part and parcel of new trends which offer new challenges to the retail sector as well as new opportunities to leverage on.
“With the changing in the trend, there has been a lot of ‘O to O’ movement, either offline to online or vice versa.
“It present a lot of of opportunities in this space for the retail industry whereby players could integrate their products and services offerings to customers,” he said.
He also urged the retailers to make use of technology such as business data analytics and data mining to enhance their marketing and customer relationships to better understand the opportunities to market to the targeted customers.
Working together with financial technology companies particularly e-wallet and e-payments providers could also create new opportunities for retailers as it would help them tap into new innovation and market segment, he said.
Ong added that with the government continuing to encourage e-commerce activities, collaborating with agencies such as Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation could help the retail industry to find opportunities to get onto this space and eventually help in the export of Malaysia’s products and services.