AMEX Research Shows Business Improvement in Singapore But Concerns Remain

Almost half of Singapore businesses reported improved sales in September and October 2020 compared to the same period a year ago, according to the American Express Business Recovery Research for Singapore. However, more than half the 300 local businesses surveyed said their business cannot stay open for more than six months if sales do not recover to pre-COVID levels by the end of December 2020.

According to the report, half also stated that both new customers and regular customers encouraging friends and family to shop at their businesses was crucial to any sort of recovery. In addition, 90% said their business sustainability is likely to be moderately to severely impacted if tourists do not return by mid-2021. Many of them need support from local shoppers to survive in the medium to long term in the absence of tourist spending.

American Express is bringing its global Shop Smallmovement to Singapore with the aim of boosting local businesses by encouraging shoppers to show their love for hometown businesses.

The global financial giant will fund a cashback offer to push Card Members to spend at about 2,000 businesses in Singapore. Starting 1 December 2020, Card Members will enjoy S$5 in cashback when they spend at least S$10 at participating businesses, up to three times.

“Our local businesses have shown tremendous resilience and agility during this challenging time, but our research shows many aren’t confident of their long-term survival.”

Singapore businesses stay resilient amid pandemic

The American Express Business Recovery Research for Singapore shows that over half the businesses surveyed shifted to e-commerce (59%) and set up delivery and/or pick-up options (54%) to remain open during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our local businesses have shown tremendous resilience and agility during this challenging time, but our research shows many aren’t confident of their long-term survival,” said Ho Yat-Wai, Country Manager, American Express Singapore.

Many of the changes made to local business models are expected to continue beyond the pandemic; the top three are communicating to customers via social media (83%), providing digital and/or delivery options (81%), and accepting more payment types (80%).

“We need to do our part to shop small and shop local to help them get through this period and eventually thrive again.”

Featured in the Shop Small social media campaign is Ana Fong, General Manager of Tong Heng. “One of the main challenges for Tong Heng, as a traditional small business, was to evolve and adapt to stay relevant.,” said Fong. “Adopting a digital strategy and rebranding to cater to the inclusion of younger customers two years ago can attest to this when the pandemic hit. During circuit breaker, we had to cease operations for three weeks. We were lucky to have adopted digital solutions way before and could keep our customers up to date.”

A number of restaurants are participating including Creative Eateries.”With tourism affected by the pandemic, we appreciate and encourage locals to rediscover Singapore. We have reinvented and introduced several new offerings at our Clarke Quay restaurants such as Fremantle Seafood Market to cater to local preferences. We are also working with partners to create new exciting experiences and services for our diners,” said Anthony Wong, CEO.

Another participating business is Aspial, which owns homegrown brands like Lee Hwa Jewellery and Goldheart Jewelry. Kean Ng, Senior Director of Aspial added “After circuit breaker, we are seeing more enthusiastic shoppers visiting our stores compared to pre-COVID times. We are heartened by their support; so we hope Shop Small will help encourage more residents to support local businesses like ours.”

Supporting local

Started in 2010 in the US, American Express’ Shop Small is designed to celebrate the contributions local businesses make to their communities and the economy and to encourage shoppers to support them.

Participating Shop Small businesses can be found at 11 CapitaLand Malls and selected precincts such as Kampong Glam, Telok Ayer, and Tiong Bahru.

“As part of CapitaLand’s commitment to help retailers and their communities adapt to the new normal, we are focused on creating engaging experiences and attractive promotions that will delight shoppers both online and offline,” said Chris Chong, Managing Director, Retail, CapitaLand Singapore. “We are pleased to be part of the Shop Small initiative, providing more opportunities to engage our shoppers while driving sales and footfall to our partners in our retail ecosystem.”

In Singapore, Shop Small complements the SingapoRediscovers campaign launched by Singapore Tourism Board, Enterprise Singapore and Sentosa Development Corporation in July 2020. SingapoRediscovers encourages locals to support home-grown tourism and lifestyle businesses, through the rediscovery of hidden gems and experiences as well as attractive promotions.

“We need to do our part to shop small and shop local to help them get through this period and eventually thrive again. Shop Small is American Express’s way of showing up for our community by raising the profile of our local businesses and connecting them with our Card Members. I hope everyone joins us to support our local businesses,” said Ho Yat-Wai.

This was published in collaboration with our content partner, Branding in Asia Magazine

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