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TECHNOLOGY | editor, Malaysia

Senheng's founder talks about how retailers can address challenges in the new norm

Lim Kim Heng was one of the speakers in the Retail Asia Virtual Conference 2020.

As the founder and executive chairman of Senheng Electric (KL) Sdn Bhd, Lim Kim Heng is the driving force of the business. He established the firm in 1989 and built it into one of Malaysia’s most consequential consumer electronic brands, transforming how Malaysians shop seamlessly in the new retail phenomena. This has fuelled the business to more than RM1.2b in revenue, making it the largest consumer electronic chain store in the country.

Lim’s reliance on scientific methods and hunger for knowledge has inspired him to keep up with the new retail trends that are heavily derived from innovative technology.

No matter how the business world changes, the essence or core of the business remained unchanged “happy customer with peace of mind” Lim’s famous quote, putting customer at the heart of the business.

As one of the panelists in the Retail Asia Virtual Conference 2020, Retail Asia spoke with KH Lim as he talked about the challenges faced by retailers in the new norm and how they can adapt and address these.

Many retailers aim to transform to digital to meet customer demands. What are the significant obstacles faced by retailers that embark on a digital transformation journey and how can they address these?

There are three main obstacles faced by retailers right now—lack of know-how, lack of talent CTO, and lack of funding. Retailers may address these challenges if they would outsource to IT vendors, launch module by module, as well as look for SAAS models in the market with a low cost entry point.

What are the other trends and shifts in Asia-Pacific’s retail sector in recent months? What has changed since the pandemic?

The new norm for many retailers include online portion expanded, e-meeting, e-training, as well as telemarketing, which is now becoming a good tool for soft touch approach.

How can retailers adapt an omnichannel approach in their businesses? How will this approach benefit them and their customers?

Omni channel & seamless new retail is a new concept which allows customers to choose their preferences, anywhere and anytime. Customers can now choose to buy online and pick up offline, search offline and buy online, as well as book online and pay offline.

So there are some elements which retailers must apply seamlessly to deliver better customer experience such as products, price, promotion, loyalty program, inventory, logistics, payment mode, as well as repair and service.

By end of the day, customers will shift from online to offline or offline to online within the platform.

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