, Indonesia
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ACE Director Gregory S. Widjaja

The latest ACE Hardware store concept brings inspiration to Indonesia

This store combines offline and online shopping to enhance the retail shopping experience.

Through its latest store concept,  PT ACE Hardware Indonesia Tbk (ACES) ("ACE") aims to provide inspiration for comfortable and aesthetically pleasing home living through a variety of household products while enhancing the shopper’s retail experience. This new concept offers a quick solution to household problems by combining offline shopping with online convenience.

“We want shoppers to feel a clean, well-lit, and spacious store when they enter and be inspired to address their home-related issues, supported by our knowledgeable staff ready to meet their needs,” said ACE Director Gregory S. Widjaja in an exclusive interview with Retail Asia.

To achieve this goal, ACE strives to understand the pain points experienced by shoppers and offers solutions through its new store concept. The first pain point observed by ACE is that shoppers often struggle to determine which products are the right ones for them to use.

“Through this new store, we provide an Inspirative Corner to offer decorating ideas to home improvement techniques as well as presenting the latest products,” said Gregory.

He explained that its Inspirative Corner allows shoppers to try smart home products or the latest sports equipment from Ace Hardware Indonesia to make it easier for them to get the right items.

The second pain point that ACE tries to overcome is time constraints. “With a shopper’s limited shopping time… they generally don’t want to wait in line for too long,” Gregory said. “We make sure they can get plenty of inspiration and transactions are processed fast.”

Latest features

In the middle of this year, the latest ACE store concept began its launch. One of them is presented in a store spanning  more than 5,000 square-meter expanse, located at the Living World Alam Sutera, South Tangerang, Greater Jakarta.

In addition to the presence of the Inspirative Corner, the store presents its new store design anchored on an open concept at the front, eliminating the tall shelves in the previous design. The layout of the shelves was well thought of so they could be arranged efficiently.

“We use Data Analytics. For example, to understand shoppers who frequently purchase automotive products, what other items do they usually need afterward? In order to make the shopping experience more comfortable and time-efficient, we arrange areas that are interconnected,” said Gregory.

Furthermore, the cashier area has been redesigned to enhance shopper comfort during transactions. At the Living World Alam Sutera store, there are three cashier counters, with two of them manned by five cashier personnel each.

Moreover, this new store provides a Personal Shopper service where shoppers can show the products they want to the staff through ACE applications. Shoppers can access ACE’s own application namely MISS ACE or ruparupa, an app that is connected with other companies under the Kawan Lama Group besides ACE, such as INFORMA and Toys Kingdom.

While waiting for their items, shoppers can pamper themselves in massage chairs and enjoy snacks available in the new store. Their children can play in the Playground, provided by ACE at the store.

To touch base with younger shoppers, ACE has collaborated with ATARU, one of its business lines, and placed a dedicated area for its products. ATARU sells accessories and affordable fashion products that appeal to the preferences of the millennial and gen Z market.

As the younger generation feels strongly about sustainability, ACE has partnered with the waste collection platform, Mountras, to manage customers’ electronics waste. Through Bisa Baik (Together Overcome Electronic Waste) program, ACE has introduced dropboxes for electronic waste, including at the ACE Living World Alam Sutera store, and as an appreciation they receive a discount on purchasing new items.

Seamless omnichannel

In addition to introducing new physical features in its store, ACE also adopted the latest technology to enhance the shoppers’ experience. This aligns with the current digital trend in the retail sector, as pointed out by Gregory.

He noted that digitalization across all industries accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, since people were locked down at home. Shifting to online shopping habits, people desired easier payment transactions that were addressed through technology. Still, Gregory said the trend will not eliminate the habit of shopping in the physical store.

“While there are digital options, many still enjoy shopping at the store because they can see and try out products in person. That’s why we have implemented a seamless omnichannel service,” he said.

This strategy is implemented by introducing the Scan and Shop feature through the MISS ACE application when shopping in the store. Through this feature, shoppers can scan barcodes of the products they want to purchase and complete payments within the app. With this feature, shoppers can avoid queues at the cashier because their orders can be picked up at a separate counter.

“Shoppers can also shop through the app and then pick up their items in the store. Likewise, when they purchase large items in the store and are facing difficulty bringing them home, they can utilize our delivery services,” Gregory told Retail Asia.

So far, offline sales still constitute the majority of ACE’s sales, with online sales accounting for 10% of the total.

Replication and targets

In addition to ACE with its large-format stores that boast the most extensive range of products and facilities, ACE also offers another type of store, namely ACE Xpress.

ACE Xpress, established on land under 1,000 square meters and located near residential areas, is focused on serving the needs of the community to which it belongs. It caters to residents’ everyday necessities.

With the latest concept, one of which is presented at ACE Living World Alam Sutera, the company continues to push for the introduction of the latest store concepts in ACE stores throughout Indonesia.

“We hope this new concept can boost sales. With the sales result only becoming visible in next year’s financial reports,” he added.

At present, ACE has 235 stores operating in 66 cities to serve the people's needs. Throughout this year, the company plans to open 10-15 new stores and targets revenue growth of 8%-10% year-on-year.

Asked for a parting shot for this interview, Gregory maintained a tone of dedication to ACE’s vision and mission, saying: “Our focus is to maintain our position as Indonesia’s number one retailer, especially in the home living category and to continuously enhance the people’s lives through our products while improving customers’ shopping experience.”

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