It is not surprising that when passenger traffic and footfall plunged during the pandemic, retail shops at Changi Airport also witnessed a drastic dip in sales.
Passenger traffic remains at less than five per cent of what it was before the pandemic, and retail sales have plunged 74 per cent this year.
While Jewel Changi Airport continues to be an attractive retail and entertainment complex, things have not been as rosy as pre-Covid-19 levels.
Jewel houses over 280 brands and even back in January, its retail outlets were already finding it difficult to reach their sales targets. This is according to sentiments from sales staff from eight out of 17 outlets.
One retail manager of a fashion store even said that “many people come here to eat and look at the waterfall rather than actually shop”.
Changi Airport Grows Its Online Platform
In a bid to help retailers at the airport reach out to non-travellers in Singapore, Changi Airport Group has expanded its offerings on their online shopping platform iShopChangi.
Customers can now choose from about 17,000 items on the iShopChangi platform, more than thrice the number of offerings available before the outbreak struck.
In June, Changi launched the Changi Eats food delivery service and there are now 40 brands offering over 800 food, drink and snack items on the platform.
The number of orders received had grown almost fivefold since its launch.
The Group has also announced that it will be launching a series of experiences and activities this upcoming year-end holidays.
These experiences and activities include glampcations and glamping at Jewel Changi Airport, as well as educational family camps in the Changi Experience Studio.
The all-new Changi Festive Village across Jewel Changi, Terminal 3 and the newly-built Terminal 4 will house winter, dinosaur and tokidoki-themed attractions designed for all ages.
Pivot Could Have Happened Months Ago
This is not the first time that a mall has pivoted online. For one, CapitaLand Malls launched two online platforms — eCapitaMall and Capita3Eats (pronounced as “capita-treats”) back in June.
eCapitaMall is a curated digital mall featuring the merchandise of retailers, the majority of whom also operate in CapitaLand’s Singapore malls, while Capita3Eats is Singapore’s first mall-operated food ordering platform.
Additionally, Marina Square has onboarded Lazada as the platform’s first shopping 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 in driving tenant sales as CapitaLand reported a pick-up in all businesses in the third quarter of 2020.
More than 2,000 tenants have been onboarded on the three platforms, up 25 per cent quarter-on-quarter. Additionally, eCapitaVoucher sales in Singapore have increased by more than 200 per cent year-to-date.
This raises the question of why Changi Airport Group is only pivoting its retailers online now instead of jumping onto it a few months ago.
iShopChangi has always been an existing shopping portal to leverage on for them.
Passenger traffic makes up a huge part of their business, and travel has been in a standstill for more than half a year so they could have reacted faster.
With that, they could have bolstered some of the impact dealt to their retail business had the pivot happen earlier.
Featured Image Credit: HardwareZone / Departures