With even digitalized department stores going bust in the densely-populated island state, modernizing with technology has to have the ‘right fit’.

As consumers nowadays are accustomed to more channels of commerce, how can large bricks-and-mortar department stores evolve digitally and continually understand consumer trends and habits to stay relevant?

For one department store chain in Singapore, the answer is Unified Commerce technology.

BHG Singapore operates four stores (including one online store) across the island state, and the past two years have prompted its management to plan and execute a major transformation involving merchandise, systems, and processes.

Successful implementation of a unified commerce solution is likely to be the foundation of the chain’s next phase of digital transformation. According to its CFO Jheeva Subramanian: “In 2020, we spent time going out to the market trying to find the solution. While there are a lot of claims about unified commerce solutions out there, those were not actually fitting the concept that we have in mind.”

Finding the right fit

Subramaniam was alluding to how a unified commerce solution had to fit his organization’s vision, industry characteristics and management philosophy and culture. The plan entails much more than going online or leveraging advanced technology tools. The goal is to evolve into a new business model and the unified commerce solution is pivotal to this strategy.

Having found the right vendor, Dynamicweb, to fit into the digital transformation plan, BHG Singapore aims to:

  • Become more customer-centric and eliminate channel silos by leveraging one single commerce platform
  • Deliver a seamless shopping experience not seen in Singapore before. Customers can fulfill their orders and, if needed, pick up part of the order in one store, then another product in another; and get the rest delivered at their convenience.
  • Offer the same flagship product experience in its smaller stores by introducing the ‘endless aisle’ concept.
  • Introduce effortless check-outs, where customers can make their purchase whenever ready, at any spot of the store. They can skip the traditional cashier queues and be served by staff with Mobile Point-of-Sale.

In the next phase of digital transformation, the chain plans to incorporate AI-driven hyper-personalization; merge online and offline channels with virtual stores; introduce predictive analytics; and build an ecosystem around the concept of a platform as a business model.