Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Traditional retailers urged to get ‘smart’

Aug 19. 2019
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By THE NATION

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Deputy Commerce Minister Weerasak Wangsupakitkosol on Monday ordered the Department of Business Development to raise the number of traditional retail shops being transformed into smart retail stores to 10,000 by the end of next year.

Weerasak was speaking after visiting operators of traditional retail and wholesale shops in Nakhon Ratchasima.

“Our discussions with traditional retail and wholesale operators revealed that most of them lack a good management system. Their displays are a mess and it is quite difficult for buyers to find the product they are looking for. They also lack a stock-check system, which may result in overstocking of goods and many of them going past their shelf life. More importantly, most traditional retailers and wholesalers are not able to organise promotions that can attract shoppers,” he said.

Weerasak said that by participating in the ministry's Smart Cho Huay programme, which is designed to transform traditional retail shops into smart retailers, store owners will see their monthly sales increase by between 10 per cent and 15 per cent on average thanks to use of new technology. The system makes it easier for individual shoppers to find their preferred products and enhances stock management. They are also able to join with major suppliers to host promotion campaigns, which will attract more shoppers to the store.

“I have ordered the Department of Business Development to assess the problems and obstacles faced by traditional retailers, suggest measures to support them and submit these to me as soon as possible. We will focus on cooperation between government and the private sector to make the transformation more effective under the network of business partners. It will help traditional retailers and wholesalers move forwards sustainably. I believe that we can actually transform 10,000 traditional retail stores into smart retailers by the end of 2020,” said Weerasak.

“I'm confident that traditional retail shops will remain part of Thai society and not be just a place to buy and sell goods but also serve as a centre for exchange of information among people in that village. It will be a retail venue that helps out by allowing villagers to take home products and pay the next day. This is the generosity culture of the community that cannot be offered by modern convenience stores,” he added.

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