Thursday, August 8, 2013

Retail Shops in Singapore provide more than just Products

It is interesting to see that 7-eleven stores are everywhere in Singapore from airport, gas stations, bus/MRT stations to small neighborhoods and streets, even some of these stores are located just besides each other. These stores are working on franchise model and providing not just products but also associated services from bill payments, mobile top up, tourist sim, courier services, ticket sales (bus/metro/popular attractions), easy cash advance, online shopping payment and cash withdrawal services.

Though retail shops in Pakistan also provide similar services and after the introduction of branchless banking such as EasyPaisa, HBL Express, UBL Omni, TimePey and MobiCash, customers can also pay for their utility bills, deposit and withdraw cash, receive & send remittances at their partnered small shops - but the good will and marketing of these shops are not as strong as 7-eleven. I will make my point by providing an example which is that tourists to Singapore know the address of 7-eleven at airport for buying of tourist sim and EZ link pass, which is a prepaid card used for traveling at MRT and also serve as the entrance for most of Singapore attractions, buying of products at 7-eleven and other stores as well as restaurants. This has only become possible through strong branding.

And, its not just the marketing aspect but these branchless banks in Pakistan also risk their reputation in the hands of unexperienced staff at these shops. Therefore there is a need in the country for a network of shops based on 7-eleven stores model which is of course a franchise model where each store is qualified after proper scrutinity and they also provide training to the staff so they can deal professionally with customers. 

Another interesting lesson from Singapore 7-eleven model is that they also provide courier services in partnership with Singapore Post and Ta-Q-Bin. So similarly our local courier companies such as TCS and Leopards should also venture in with the retailers similarly like banks and telecom companies for more business and providing ease to their customers.

The same model could also help boost the country's economy and exports if applied at overseas Pakistani community where the stores in their neighborhood provide one-stop shopping, financial, courier, television subscription and air ticketing services. The efforts of the local companies is the key.

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