Changi Airport turns to online sales to keep retail businesses going

Retail sales at Changi Airport have plunged 74 per cent this year. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - Customers can now choose from about 17,000 items on the iShopChangi platform, more than triple the number available before the coronavirus outbreak struck.

That is one of the ways Changi Airport Group (CAG) has moved to help retailers at the airport reach out to non-travellers in Singapore, as international travel remains at a standstill amid the pandemic.

CAG said online sales by Changi Airport retailers have surpassed pre-pandemic numbers, though it did not provide specific figures.

Said CAG spokesman Ivan Tan: "Currently, more than 90 per cent of our customers are non-travellers... Wines and spirits, beauty and electronics continue to be most popular with our customers."

The pivot to online sales comes with barely any travellers passing though the airport. Passenger traffic remains at less than 5 per cent of what it was before the pandemic, and retail sales at Changi Airport have plunged 74 per cent this year.

At Terminal 1 and Terminal 3, which have remained open, only about half of the outlets in the transit areas are operating. Operations at T4 have been suspended, while T2 remains closed after plans for upgrading works were brought forward.

Mr Tan said work has been done to transform Changi's food and beverage business through the launch of the Changi Eats food delivery service in June.

There are now 40 brands offering over 800 food, drink and snack items on the platform.

He said the number of orders received had grown almost fivefold since its launch, proving it was "plugging a market gap and demonstrating how we are value-adding to our customers".

CAG has also helped businesses in areas such as rental rebates, shorter operating hours and training opportunities.

Most recently, it launched shopping tours of its transit areas, held on weekends and by invitation only. They are targeted at customers who would otherwise have been travelling and shopping at Changi during the year-end holiday period.

Mr Tan said: "These shopping tours allow us to continue to engage our customers and share our deep knowledge of travel retail products with them."

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