This was first published in The Business Times on 07 Feb 2019
It used to be that the buzz along Orchard Road was a gauge of the health of Singapore’s retail industry. Those days are long gone in today’s high-tech retail world, where more of the action is moving online.
As a smart nation, Singapore needs to move from traditional retail to e-commerce – or, better still, a hybrid approach, to tackle regional and global competition. The move into e-commerce will
Increasingly, tech-savvy consumer
To encourage retailers to embark on their
Firstly, tax incentives can offer support to make lifestyle innovation more pervasive. For example, a 250
The scope of such deductions could cover activities such as using data and analytics and artificial intelligence on e-commerce platforms, digital marketing, customer experience design and Asian consumer insights. These activities can also include engaging data and analytics consultants to develop
They could also include training for retail staff to embrace digital technology in the first place or last-mile logistics and supply chain management players to boost their delivery service.
Such broad-based enhanced deductions would also supplement targeted grant schemes like the SMEs Go Digital Programme, to reach all industry players big or small.
Secondly, more can be done to anchor key international consumer and lifestyle businesses, towards making Singapore a global retail hub.
With its strengths in logistics and technology, Singapore is already well-suited to be a base and headquarter for international retail brands, as well as a good test bed for retail brands to explore e-commerce before expanding into other regional markets.
To attract more major foreign brands to base themselves here, we suggest a concessionary tax rate be made for international retail and lifestyle companies to set up their headquarters in Singapore and to anchor upstream retail activities such as product development, e-commerce
Furthermore, enhancement certainty can be made on the 250
Thirdly, as a service industry, the retail sector will always rely heavily on the skills of its workforce.
Hence, employers in the retail sector should have avenues to seek training grants that support the cost to implement the Skills Framework for Retail while individuals should be provided with an increasing quantum of SkillsFuture Credits to develop
To sum it up, Singapore’s retailers need to embrace technology as an enabler, with a unified data strategy that
The article was contributed by Jeya Poh Wan Suppiah, Head of Consumer & Retail, KPMG in Singapore. Views expressed are his own.