Courts Singapore to launch new-look megastore in Tampines, plus improved online shop

 The 136,000 sq ft flagship store will boast new retail concepts and showroom areas, following a year of planning and two months of renovation work.
The 136,000 sq ft flagship store will boast new retail concepts and showroom areas, following a year of planning and two months of renovation work. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

SINGAPORE - Courts Singapore, a leading home electronics, IT and furniture retailer here, will be launching its redesigned megastore in Tampines on Saturday (Nov 11), a highlight in its $10 million investment towards refurbishing all its islandwide retail stores.

The 136,000 sq ft flagship store will boast new retail concepts and showroom areas, following a year of planning and two months of renovation work.

A new gallery area and design studio, for example, showcases furniture and other home living products in spaces resembling a HDB home. This allows customers to experience the products and visualise how they will look, and also discuss interior design options with furniture consultants.

A "customisation zone" also allows customers to prescribe their options for made-to-order products, such as sofas, dining sets, curtains, wardrobes and more.

The opening comes even as consumer behaviour is changing - such as gearing towards online shopping. However, Courts Asia group chief executive Dr Terry O'Connor noted that a majority of Singaporeans still purchase their items from brick-and-mortar shops.

According to the Household Expenditure Survey 2012/2013, almost a third of all households may have bought at least one item online, but they spent an average of $260 a month, or only 4 per cent of what they spent in total.

Dr O'Connor added that while there may fewer physical stores in the future, there will always be a need for them to provide better, real-life experiences to customers.

He said: "Look at Apple and why it needs to open more Apple Stores. It is a company that is right at the heart of the digital experience but still needs to give its customer a physical user experience. Digital-only players cannot survive without retail touch point, and retail-only players need to go digital too."

That said, Courts is not neglecting its online customers. It will unveil a different look and user interface for its online store (www.courts.com.sg), boasting an improved search feature and faster check-out.

The number of products offered online will also increase from 14,000 to 17,000. This is compared to around 13,000 products available at the megastore,

Besides investing in its retail and online platforms, Courts has also tripled its staff training funds and had more than 2,000 hours of training over the past two months for all its staff, said Courts Singapore country chief executive Ben Tan.

As a result, he said Courts Singapore achieved a net promoter score of 77 per cent in the past week, the highest it had achieved so far. This represents that proportion of in-store customers who rate the store nine out of 10 or better.

Said Mr Tan: "Singaporean shoppers want to talk to somebody, and have very high expectations of service. This applies to shoppers of all income levels."

The megastore relaunch will feature a four-week long celebration which will include discounts and deals, a line-up of celebrities and sports stars such as Korean star Kim Jong Kook and local singer Joanna Dong, as well as free parking and wireless Internet.