Should Changi Airport Have Pivoted Its Retailers Online Earlier?

It’s no surprise that when passenger traffic and footfall plunged during the pandemic, Changi Airport retail stores also experienced a drastic drop in sales.

Passenger traffic remains less than 5% of what it was before the pandemic, and retail sales have fallen 74% this year.

While Jewel Changi Airport continues to be an attractive retail and entertainment complex, things haven’t been as rosy as pre-Covid-19 levels.

Jewel is home to more than 280 brands and even in January its outlets were already struggling to meet their sales targets. This is according to the feelings of the sales staff of eight of the 17 outlets.

A retail manager for a fashion store even said that “a lot of people come here to eat and watch the waterfall rather than to shop.”

Changi Airport expands its online platform

In an effort to help airport retailers reach non-travelers to Singapore, Changi Airport Group has expanded its offerings on its iShopChangi online shopping platform.

Customers can now choose from around 17,000 items on the iShopChangi platform, more than triple the number of offers available before the outbreak began.

In June, Changi launched the Changi Eats food delivery service, and there are now 40 brands offering more than 800 food, drink, and snack products on the platform.

The number of orders received has almost quintupled since its launch.

Changi Party Village
Changi Party Village / Image Credit: Time Out

The Group has also announced that it will be launching a series of experiences and activities over the coming holiday season.

These experiences and activities include glampcations and glamping at Jewel Changi Airport, as well as family education camps at Changi Experience Studio.

The all-new Changi Party Village across Jewel Changi, Terminal 3 and the newly constructed Terminal 4 will be home to winter-themed, dinosaur and tokidoki attractions designed for all ages.

The pivot could have happened months ago

Screenshot of eCapitaMall

This isn’t the first time that a mall has been revolving online. On the one hand, CapitaLand Malls launched two online platforms – eCapitaMall and Capita3Eats (pronounced as “capita-treats”) in June.

eCapitaMall is an organized digital shopping center showcasing the products of retailers, the majority of which also operate in CapitaLand shopping malls in Singapore, while Capita3Eats is the leading food ordering platform operated by a shopping center in Singapore.

Additionally, Marina Square has integrated Lazada as the platform’s first mall, working with its tenants to create a virtual mall on the app.

Some brands include Benjamin Barker, Island Shop, King Koil, Pororo Park SG, Kiztopia, which already have their own virtual storefronts on LazMall.

As a result, eCapitaMall and Capita3Eats have shown results to drive tenant sales, with CapitaLand reporting a recovery in all activities in the third quarter of 2020.

More than 2,000 tenants have been integrated on the three platforms, up 25% quarter on quarter. In addition, eCapitaVoucher sales in Singapore have grown by over 200% since the start of the year.

This begs the question of why Changi Airport Group is only pivoting its online retailers now instead of jumping on them a few months ago.

iShopChangi has always been an existing shopping portal for them to operate.

Passenger traffic is a big part of their business and travel has been at a standstill for over six months so they could have reacted more quickly.

With that, they could have reinforced some of the impact on their retail business if the pivot had happened earlier.

Featured Image Credit: HardwareZone / Departures

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Jothi Venkat

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