Metro wins Department Store of the Year - Singapore award

It was the first department store to roll out QR-driven press ads and introduce in-store live streaming.

With the retail format rapidly shifting thanks to a pandemic that has limited footfall in physical stores, retailers and mall operators have had to push back and amp up their digital efforts to cater to the on-demand needs of customers.

Metro operates two physical stores and three e-commerce platforms: Metro.com.sg (since 2017), Lazada (since 2019) and Shopee (since 2020), with continued efforts to work on expanding the e-commerce business both locally and globally.

During the nationwide partial lockdown, known as the Circuit Breaker, which lasted from April 7 to May 4, 2020, Metro found the opportunity to pivot its business and drive consumers to purchase online by giving them QR codes. Metro was the first department store to roll out QR-driven press ads, as well as the first to introduce live streaming of the store and its offerings in collaboration with Mediacorp, local artists, and personnel from events companies to boost the business.

To manage the influx of online sales orders, the firm moved to integrate its warehouse/logistics and head office sites for online fulfillment efficiency to keep open the possibility of 24-hour fulfilment. As well, Metro worked with local third-party logistics (3PL) startups and companies to fulfill whilst providing job opportunities to the community. 

Associates also underwent workshops to better handle e-commerce fulfilment and information uploading, whilst automation for data entry was also introduced on its platforms to improve efficiency. 

Messaging apps such as Telegram was also put to good use during the Circuit Breaker as marketing communications tools, whilst Click & Collect services were amped up.

With lesser footfall and stringent safety management guidelines, Metro also worked closely with its partners to create events in a safe environment, such as the La Mer & La Prairie Live Skin Care workshops. The restriction on holding atrium events did not deter Metro from injecting some festive cheer during the holidays, such as Christmas 2020 and Chinese New Year 2021, at the Paragon atrium through lifestyle curation whilst directing customers to both online and in-store with QR code tagged displays.

The firm also took the opportunity to be more sustainable, replacing most in-store lighting to LED, reducing plastic bag orders, and moving to paper packaging as an alternative option. 

As a result of these efforts, Metro received the Department Store of the Year - Singapore award at the recently concluded Retail Asia Awards, presented by Retail Asia. Now in its 16th year, the awards event lauds exceptional retailers, projects, and executives who have introduced remarkable initiatives and solutions that have further changed the retail industry. 

Over the past 24 months, Metro partnered with learning institutions such as Raffles Design Institute, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), and Northlight School to continuously give the next generation the opportunity to learn and grow.

Following the success of the Little Black Dress collaboration in August 2019, Raffles Design Institute partnered with Metro, together with renowned textile manufacturer Liberty Fabrics (London), to design a commercial fashion collection. Raffles Singapore is the only fashion design school in Southeast Asia and outside the U.K. to work using Liberty Fabrics. 

“Such opportunities prepare Raffles designers for the industry prior to their graduation and strengthen their employability upon graduation,” the Institute said.

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