Siam Piwat lays out strategies for keeping shopping centres

Chief executive officer Chadatip Chutrakul said that globally, retailers had been disrupted by e-commerce, the increasing number of people shopping online, and the impacts of globalisation. In Thailand, despite the growing trend of e-commerce, it is still considered to be in the trial stage.

Nevertheless, Siam Piwat cannot remain the same, as Thai retailers are not immune to the global digital evolutions.

“We have changed our aim, that we wouldn’t just create [shopping] destinations, but would make the destinations truly exciting, with ever-changing experiences so that people enjoy their time and want to keep coming back,” she said.

“We must make our destinations constantly fresh, innovative and exciting all the time, places where people want to go for the fulfilment of needs that are much more than going online.”

Chadatip received the Store Design of the Year Award for the Siam Discovery shopping centre at the World Retail Congress held early this month in Dubai. The event gathered 2,000 retailers from 65 countries and 140 speakers. These industry leaders and experts shared their ideas on global retail trends and concepts.

She said shoppers had a perception of benefiting from lower prices when buying products online because of lower operational costs compared with physical stores. Therefore, price promotions were no longer sufficient to lure customers back to the shopping centres.

“In developing Siam Discovery, we understood that in the new millennial era, shoppers have realised the importance of a brand’s story. They want to make the brand’s story part of their own story.

“Good storytelling strategies by particular brands will become a significant selling point and crucial factor in adding positive value to the brand. That is why we chose to overturn completely the past retailing practice of presenting products by brand and by category.

“Instead, multiple brands and complementary merchandise are brought together and unified with underlying stories, presented by type, by function, and by customer interest,” Chadatip said.

She said at the reopening of Siam Center about three years ago that “retailing is no longer about shopping. It is [about] providing ever-changing experiences to individual shoppers.”

Siam Center had been closed for six months. The shopping centre spent about a year gathering ideas for a new retail concept that aimed at attracting not only Thais but also shoppers from around the world.

Chadatip said that over the past three years since the reopening, the 42-year-old Siam Center had proved successful by being voted by Thailand.com as being at the top of mind for shoppers.

The shopping centre has also earned 12 different awards over the period, including for best marketing position and best renovation project. “Since the renovation, Siam Center has enjoyed a 12-per-cent increase every year in terms of both sales and traffic,” she said.

“At Siam Piwat, we do not manage ordinary merchandise any more, but [promote the] emotional benefits of our valued customers. We have also turned [some] of them into our peers, to learn and initiate tailor-made campaigns and marketing activities based on their specific interests. This is what we have made successful with Siam Discovery and what earned us the World Retail Award this year.”

Chadatip said the company’s four key strategies were the following.

1 Be a leader in creativity and advance innovations that are ahead of competitors.

2 Win the customer’s heart with good accessibility and understanding and by being “customer-centric”.

3 Create good value through the storytelling strategies of particular brands.

4 Work collectively with all business partners towards real win-win achievements.

Siam Piwat owns and operates Siam Center, Siam Discovery, Siam Paragon, Paradise Park and IconSiam.

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