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Building a virtual mall: inside Shopee and IMM’s partnership

Participating IMM retailers also enjoy marketing subsidies from both CapitaLand and Shopee

The biggest challenge faced by brick and mortar stores and the entire retail industry in 2021 is that buying a product is not enough of a reason for people to go to malls. The Drum speaks to Shopee and IMM about how they are changing the face of retail.

To speed up the acceleration towards e-commerce brought on by the global Covid-19 pandemic, Shopee is bringing Singapore’s largest outlet mall, the International Merchandising Mart Mall (IMM), on to its platform.

The launch of IMM virtual mall on Shopee is an initiative under Singapore’s Covid-19 Emerging Stronger Taskforce’s Alliance for Action on Facilitating Smart Commerce to help Singapore retailers transform their business model to seize opportunities and accelerate digitalisation.

The IMM virtual mall is the first virtual mall on Shopee and allows IMM retailers to be connected to consumers. This will bring new income streams for the retailers through an online presence and enhanced branding under one roof.

Through the virtual mall, IMM retailers will also have access to additional online marketing opportunities to drive revenue.

“Shoppers who got to know IMM online first may be enticed to visit IMM in person to discover more merchandise and deals,” explains Chris Chong, the managing director for retail at CapitaLand Singapore, which owns IMM.

“In some cases, shoppers can pre-purchase discount vouchers online before making redemptions in-store. This will create a virtuous circle for IMM retailers to attract more shoppers.”

CapitaLand previously revamped the Funan mall, which embraces omnichannel through click-and-collect services, relies heavily on technology and even operates an urban farm.

Zhou Junjie, the chief commercial officer at Shopee, explains IMM retailers will be able to benefit from Shopee’s user base and marketing support both in and out of the app through a variety of tools that retailers can tap on to increase visibility on Shopee’s app and direct traffic to their stores.

For example, Shopee’s in-app search is one channel where IMM retailers can conduct search engine optimisation and search engine marketing, to allow users to discover their products easily.

Outside of the app, IMM retailers can look to tap on Shopee’s marketing ecosystem by incorporating offline advertising solutions into their overall online marketing strategy and run trackable ads including Facebook Collaborative ads and Google Shopping Ads.

In addition, through Shopee’s Affiliate Marketing Solutions, IMM retailers are also able to engage Shopee users and the platform’s network of partners to promote their products.

“Consumers in Singapore have a strong preference for sales - the success of our major sale days over the years is testament to this. Through various activations and campaigns like our upcoming 3.3 Shopping Spree, 3.8 Women’s Fest, and more, Shopee will be able to effectively drive more traffic and visibility to IMM retailers,” explains Zhou.

“In addition, we drive results for brands across the entire marketing funnel. From raising awareness to establishing customer loyalty, IMM retailers can leverage tools such as homepage banners, Shopee Feed, Flash Deals, EDMs, push notifications, Shopee Live, and more, to market their products to Shopee users.”

He adds: “Participating IMM retailers also enjoy marketing subsidies from both CapitaLand and Shopee, including livestreaming trial packages on Shopee Live.”

Chong hopes the collaboration between both parties will offer meaningful new insights on how to innovate omnichannel retail business models towards integrating the physical and digital shopping worlds that will drive more revenue for retailers and bring better shopping experiences to consumers.

Zhou adds: “We hope to continue supporting brand partners and retailers in building robust, all-rounded, and sustainable retail strategies, in order to drive greater value for shoppers, IMM retailers, and the wider Singapore retail ecosystem.”

The Drum previously looked at the the creation of One Assembly, a creative collaboration between Beijing Hualian Group (BHG) Singapore and property giant CapitaLand, intended to innovate traditional department stores which has been on the wane in recent times.

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