Written by Shogo Tsuji, Internal research team,
28 Feb 2020, 5 minutes

 

The Singapore Government will tighten the proportion of foreign workers in the service industry with an increase from 38% to 40% with effect from January 2021. Merchants in the services sectors can expect difficulties in hiring and operations. Thus, it is important for merchants to find ways to curtail costs and improve efficiency.

One way is to look at how digital technology can reduce the reliance on manpower and increase the capability of our workforce. In this article, we will explore how Digital Transformation has helped some traditional businesses revolutionize the way they operate.

What is Digital Transformation?

In a broad sense, Digital Transformation is defined as the changes associated with the application of digital technology to business processes. The process usually begins with analyzing company needs, followed by setting of objectives, performing test runs before actual implementation.

Examples of digital technology include but not limited to Artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of things (IoT), Blockchain, Robotic process automation (RPA), and 3D printing.

Technology Changes The Way We Work

7-Eleven, a Japanese-American international chain of convenience stores, goes with technology. For instance, the company introduced a point of sales (POS) systems, which enabled them to have better control over business operations such as sales, inventory, and ordering. The machines automatically calculate these data instead of counting one by one.

The company took things up a notch by conducting experiments to reduce the burden of ordering products using AI.

Appreciation of 3D Printing in the retail

The Singapore mobile tailor company, A Gentleman’s Tale, rolled out a mobile showroom van that can bring their store and fitting room to you.

When A Gentleman’s Tale receives an appointment from a customer, they’ll drive over to the location, where the customer can choose the fabric and the design that they prefer. After that, a 3D scanner is used to take their precise measurement, and the results will be shown on an iPad immediately.

Grab: Disrupting traditional businesses in a good way

Grab, a Singaporean-based technology company, is well known for its ride-hailing application. The app, Grab, also offers food delivery and digital payment services. By integrating many consumer services on to one platform, Grab has changed the ride-hailing and food delivery industry drastically.

Before its appearance, you might have to make several calls to various taxi companies to make a booking. Grab has taken the hassle out of the traditional ride-hailing process by matching a consumer’s demand for the supply of vacant cars on the street.

On the same note, Grab Food’s services match consumers’ demand to the supply from food stores within the vicinity and push the order to a nearby driver/ rider to make the delivery. Grab’s disruption to the various industries has dramatically changed our lifestyle.

This similar type of disruption could happen in any industry in the future. As disruptors enter the market, businesses have to step up and out of the traditional operations to engage consumers.

Businesses that could recover with digital technology

To name a few: cosmetics retailer Sasa International made an announcement that it will close all 22 stores in Singapore due to its poor performance. Its e-commerce site will continue operation. DIY chain Home-Fix finished shutting all stores in Singapore last year due to its liabilities. One of Singapore’s oldest retail brands, Metro, has also closed its primary outlet, leaving only two stores left in Paragon and Causeway Point.

One of the causes of these closures is definitely the emergence of strong e-commerce platformers such as Shoppee and Amazon which enable customers to make purchases online and have the merchandise delivered to their doorstep instead of visiting the store.

Together with our merchants, such as Watsons and Zara, we have witnessed the benefit of digital solutions. Our merchants that adopted ffastpay, our digital payment solution, have seen an increase in sales from digital payment methods such as GrabPay, Alipay and WeChat Pay.