Singaporeans’ love affair with technology continues unabated, judging by the plethora of electronics stores around the island and the massive crowds swarming the four major electronics fairs every year. But if one trend seems to come across strongly in recent years, it’s not just about selling electronics and devices anymore; it’s about selling a lifestyle.
That’s also why Singapore-based IT retail chain Newstead Technologies launched a second Digital Style outlet less than six months after its first in IT haven Funan DigitaLife Mall last September. The whopping 9,000 square foot new multi-brand concept store in Jurong Point shopping mall, smack in the heartland Singapore, shows how much focus has shifted away from traditional IT strongholds in prime shopping belts and closer to suburban areas.
Consumer Behavior, When Shopping For Electronics, Has Changed
“We see the potential in this area with the residential estates, educational institutions and recent injection of commercial properties,” explains Evelyn Chua, business development and marketing manager of Newstead Technologies. “Consumer behavior is ever changing and retailers have to constantly review their business to ensure relevancy.”
The Digital Style concept also features products grouped according to lifestyle – i.e. Entertainment & Media, Gaming, Home Computing, Mobile Communications, Office & Professional and Ultra Mobile & Business – and use as opposed to previous industry practice of grouping by brands, and Chua says the new approach has been a hit with shoppers. “(This way) they are spoilt for choice and yet they can zoom right in to the solution corner.”
Choo Wee Hwa, a purchaser for Newstead Technologies, says it’s not uncommon for shoppers to do research online on what they want to buy before visiting the store. “In fact, it’s not uncommon to see a patron pull out a mobile device on site and check reviews online to help make their decision on which product to buy,” he says.
Vendors seem to agree. “Consumers are more demanding these days and will do plenty of research online before they visit retail,” says Ian Tan, Microsoft’s Xbox Lead for Singapore. “What Digital Lifestyle is doing complements the new way which consumers make their purchase decisions.”
“By creating a comfortable environment with dedicated showcases of popular products – e.g. a living room area for the Xbox and Kinect – Digital Lifestyle is presenting experiences over just technical specs,” he adds.
The question, of course, if whether bargain-minded Singapore consumers are willing to pay a slight premium for a better, more convenient shopping experience, instead of waiting for the next big consumer electronics fair.