Forum: Disjointed buying experience puts retail customers off

A Home-Fix store seen at Tanglin Mall on Dec 11, 2019. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

It is sad to learn of another established brand disappearing from the retail scene (DIY chain Home-Fix closing stores amid financial woes, Dec 12).

Indeed, times have changed for the worse for retailers.

Companies are slow to respond to shopping trends perhaps because they are holding on to archaic business models or have little inkling of what to do.

Creating a unique value proposition to hold consumers' attention seems difficult.

In the face of an existential threat, businesses frantically restructure, merge, divest, rebrand and outsource to stay afloat. But they may have overlooked the very reason that they exist - customers.

Many want to keep the juiciest bit for themselves by dissecting the value chain. Each step of the process - from manufacturing to sale to after-sale - is done by different parties. This results in a disjointed buying experience.

Reducing headcount at the stores leaves customers unengaged.

Technology has brought on new ways of doing things, providing comparative information for easier shopping.

So many customers prefer to browse online and buy when they are ready.

Yet more shopping malls are being built. Is there a misallocation of scarce economic resources?

It pays to go back to the basics: What do customers want?

Lee Teck Chuan

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