The surge in online home-delivery purchases was due to the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), subsequent flight suspensions and a significant drop in pre-order (products ordered online and delivered onboard) and inflight sales.
In a revealing and extensive interview, Chris Pok, CEO, KrisShop tells TRBusiness that the previous record for online transaction numbers was in November 2019. This was during KrisShop’s Double Eleven Singles Day Promotion.
Back in April, Singapore Airlines was operating at extremely limited capacity due to the outbreak of Covid-19. This prompted KrisShop to convey an important message.
“Once Singapore entered circuit breaker mode (lockdown) in early April, the focus was clear,” Pok said: “We needed to emphasise that people could buy without flying. I guess we succeeded in driving that message.”
The new-look KrisShop is the product of a partnership between 3Sixty (formerly known as DFASS), Singapore Airlines and ground-handling provider SATS. The revamped website was unveiled to much fanfare in August 2019.
Pok commented: “The whole pre-order and inflight element remains a big component of our business, but we are quite encouraged by results from the home-delivery and e-commerce element in general during April and May.”
The launch of a live online chat facility in April helped engage customers, reveals Pok. “We launched the live chat in a short period of time because we understood e-commerce was the main channel of communication for most customers.”
Reflecting on the importance of the home-delivery component during the pandemic, he said: “This allowed us to converse with consumers who may not have known us previously. As flights re-start though, we want to bring that conversation to pre-order and inflight sales.”
Once the crisis passes and Singapore Airlines and its affiliate carriers (SilkAir and Scoot) resume full operations, pre-order and inflight sales will return to the forefront.
“KrisShop is an omnichannel retailer. Our vision has always been to offer multiple channels of sales and fulfilment,” Pok emphasised. “When flights restart, we will gain another channel for selling and fulfilment. The conversation with consumers will go beyond home-delivery and start featuring pre-order and inflight sales.”
Looking ahead, KrisShop believes the inflight retail landscape will be different post Covid-19. He explained: “The future of inflight [retail] is digital and we are preparing for the arrival of Inflight Entertainment (IFE) shopping.”
IFE shopping will bring e-commerce to the seatbacks of all passengers, but what impact will this have on inflight catalogues? “Inflight catalogues will most likely exist in a world of IFE shopping, but it is unclear whether this will be in digital or paper form.”
As the first anniversary of the new-look KrisShop approaches, Pok (pictured left) is content with the evolution of the omnichannel platform. “There have been more ups than downs since the revamp. The initial plan was to become a premium omnichannel retailer through innovation and service excellence. I believe we are one step closer to realising that vision.”
He added: “We have built a variable platform which allows us to deliver at home where permitted and to aircraft. This has all been in place since August 2019.
“Since then, we have added many brands. In April and May alone, we introduced more than 100 brands. This is because we were forced to pivot from a company that focused on travel retail to a business that needed to look at home-delivery.”
Regarding the evolution of the platform, Pok, says the company has improved certain aspects of what KrisShop stands for. “Our content is much stronger in terms of major products and the way the website is set-up for customers to browse.
“Even up to the point of fulfilment, our ability to offer same-day delivery in Singapore differentiates us from how we were in the past. We have certainly come on leaps and bounds, but there is still work to do and content to find.”
Speaking of hard work, KrisShop knew it must offer a range of products to arrest customers’ boredom during home isolation.
This resulted in the launch of the KrisShop@Home online store concept at the end of April. A range of essential items were curated and grouped into categories such as ‘Play’, ‘Work’, ‘Spa’, ‘Cook’ for delivery at home (Singapore) or overseas.
Items for purchase include artisanal teas, coffee beans and related accessories; artwork and posters; home chairs; cooking implements and appliances; electronics; beauty products and children’s gifts.
“We see KrisShop@Home as a very good starting point for consumers who may not know us or are only aware of the flying and buying part of our business.
“This new concept store gives us an opportunity to have that conversation with customers, many of whom may be purchasing with KrisShop for the first time.
“It gives us an opportunity to make them realise we are a viable e-commerce player and that they do not only have to buy when they fly.”
The launch of KrisShop@Home preceded the unveiling of KrisShop Green at the beginning of June. KrisShop Green is geared towards encouraging responsible consumption and the reduction of environmental impact.
It also emphasises KrisShop’s commitment to environmental sustainability through empowering greener lifestyles.
“This concept store has always been on our mind, but we did not have the capacity to create it. Sustainability is among our passions and thankfully, we managed to put together 20 brands, obtain the products we needed and created the store in time for World Environment Day on 5 June 2020.”
NEW CONCEPT STORES
The introduction of KrisShop@Home and KrisShop Green, along with the addition of many new brands has all been achieved while working virtually.
“I am very grateful to my team for being able to pivot from a business that looked like it was in trouble in March, when Singapore Airlines announced the suspension of flights, to a situation where circuit breaker measures have eased and things are starting to improve.”
“Our team succeeded in working virtually under very tiring and challenging conditions to meet customer needs.”
He also reveals an even closer relationship with Singapore Airlines, 3Sixty and SATS as all parties look to the future.
“There is a lot of conversation in terms of how the post-Covid-19 world will look and how KrisShop as a platform should evolve. We are having conversations all the time and cooperation has never been stronger. The crisis has bought us even closer.”
Supporting local businesses, which have been economically impacted by the pandemic is the next step for Pok and his team.
“When I mention local brands, I do not just mean local Singapore labels. I am also talking about local brands from various countries and cities offered through our KrisShop Discovers concept store. We need to find a way of bringing their stories to our consumer base.”
One way of doing this is to tap into Singapore Airlines’ frequent flyer (KrisFlyer) database. “This gives us an opportunity to share the stories of local brands at home and abroad.”
He concluded: “We are on the lookout for what is trending and interesting for consumers and constantly exploring, testing and trying.
“If you ask me our grand plans, the only point I would like to make is that we are agile, nimble and always on the lookout for opportunities.”
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