Bata is offering to polish your shoes for free at VivoCity & Peninsula Plaza outlets

Store manager Desmond Wee polishes Mr Zulkipli Lahom's shoes at Bata's Peninsula Plaza flagship store yesterday.
Store manager Desmond Wee polishes Mr Zulkipli Lahom's shoes at Bata's Peninsula Plaza flagship store yesterday.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

With the services at two of its stores, the chain hopes to change shoppers' perceptions of the brand and raise awareness of the shoe-care products it sells

To lure more shoppers into their stores, shoe label Bata is offering to spruce up the shoes of shoppers for free.

The Czech Republic chain is dangling free restoration services, from cleaning and conditioning to waxing and polishing. It is even offering to shampoo canvas shoes.

There is no catch. The service is free for any brand of shoes and does not require customers to spend in the store.

The brand - which has 41 outlets here and is known for its white velcro school shoes and the nostalgic slogan "first to Bata, then to school" - is offering the services at its VivoCity and Peninsula Plaza outlets from now till the end of the year.

Bata Singapore's retail manager, Mr Emmanuel Goh, says they were introduced to change existing perceptions of Bata, as well as to draw attention to the range of shoe-care products the company sells.

The chain's range of shoe-maintenance products, such as mink oil, sneaker shampoo and leather lotion, will be used for the free services.

"We want to change the perception that Bata offers only school shoes and shoes for the older generation," says Mr Goh. "We do have leather shoes for the working crowd as well, so this service will get them into the stores and see that."

This is the first time Bata is offering such services.

The shoe label, now in its 86th year in Singapore, hopes to make the service permanent and extend it to more outlets if the response is positive, Mr Goh says, adding that shoe-shining services are becoming rare in Singapore.

The two outlets have served six to eight people a day since they started offering the services on Monday.

When The Straits Times visited the label's flagship store at Peninsula Plaza yesterday, it found a signboard plastered with the words "Complimentary Shoe Shining Service".

In front of that was a cushioned bench and various shoe-care products on display.

Customer Zulkipli Lahom walked in to have his shoes shined before returning to his office nearby.

"I just came to remove some of the dust on my shoes so it looks more professional," says the clerk.

"When more people hear about the services, I think there will be long queues because it's free and they do any brand of shoe."

The 60-year-old says he owns three pairs of Bata shoes and will buy his next pair from the label.

"But I usually buy shoes only if I need to replace them or if there's a sale."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2017, with the headline 'Bata offers free shoe-polishing services'. Print Edition | Subscribe