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Central expands its digital platform, Strengthening the department store business to become “Central 4.0”

To implement “Digital Centrality” as a Central Group’s vision, Central Department Store integrates technology into all aspects of its business operations for the “Central 4.0” era development in order to reinforce its position as the top of customer’s mind and offer them seamless online/offline shopping experiences.

Central 4.0: a challenging step
Piyawan Leelasompop, Executive Vice President of Marketing of Central Department Store Co Ltd, said today’s consumers are not only tech-savvy but also information-savvy through online, so it becomes a challenge for business operators in all sectors to keep up and try to accurately meet their needs

    “Consumers nowadays are greatly influenced by online information. Although the proportion of online purchase is still small compared to offline purchase, the fact is consumers start by looking for information on domestic and international websites as well as through social networking platforms where they can be informed about the latest trends and products from around the globe. It means connecting to the world is not difficult anymore as opposed to the past when we usually got product information from advertisements or sales personnel. Moreover, consumers today not only want just products and services, they want an experience that is trendy or trend-setting and they want convenience, speed and personalized care. All of these lead to our Central 4.0 strategy to bring all Central branches to the digital world, providing a full range of products and services for our customers by making use of technological innovations to make shopping an easiest and most convenient activity, ” she said.

The Innovative Department Store
    Under the Central 4.0 strategy, all of its department stores will be transformed into “Central The Innovative Department Stores” by combining innovations to the stores’ elements. This includes creating a novel and exciting atmosphere with the “Store as a Theatre” concept while also providing convenient services and an extensive variety of goods, organising interactive marketing activities, applying advanced technologies to provide speedy and efficient services, and seamlessly fusing in-store and online shopping experience by offering quality products from leading brands for all lifestyles via www.central.co.th for 24-hour shopping opportunity.

Central’s LINE official account: a gateway to e-commerce
    A recent survey shows that in Thailand there are 82.8 million mobile phones currently in use, or 1.2 phones per person. About forty million people access social media websites via mobile phones and the most popular sites are Facebook, YouTube, LINE, Instagram and Twitter respectively.

    Central already has strong communication channels on these sites except LINE so it is extending its presence to this platform because LINE is one of the world’s top three most used social networking sites with an average of 70 minutes a day spent on this site. It is also the most popular chat application in Thailand with 83 per cent of Thais using this app.

    On this occasion, Central has officially launched its LINE official account to be a gateway to its e-commerce services and create an online community for its existing and new customers. Launched along with the account was “Central and The Gang” LINE sticker set with a lovely white polar bear as the main character which represents Central’s unique characteristics and homey feels. Other characters are a deer to signify being dear and a rabbit to signify agility and speed.

Central Connect: get connected for more privileges
    In addition to being a member of Central’s LINE official account, Piyawan said users are encouraged to connect to the “Central Connect” part n the account, simply by filling in their phone number connected to their The 1 Card (Central membership card) or the number of their The 1 Card and they will get more privileges and special offers on goods. In the near future, Central will also be able to provide them with personalised promotional news and services.
The company aims to achieve at least 5,000,000 downloads of its official LINE account and no less than 500,000 subscriptions to Central Connect this year. The sticker set will available for download until 28 March 2017.

    Also, the online shopping website www.central.co.th will be overhauled by establishing it as another branch of Central and revamping it to be user-friendly with a simple and responsive shopping system and an easy user interface. The company aims to raise the proportion of sales revenue from this website from one percent now to 15 per cent of total sales over the next five years.  

The omnichannel for strengthened leadership  
    Piyawan said: “Within five years from now, Central will make our online and offline platforms seamlessly connected as the omnichannel that leads to the smooth, boundless shopping experience. Our customers can look for the right products in store and then order online or spot the goods online and then go to see the real things in the shops, enabling them to do the shopping anywhere around the clock with no obstacles. Our goal is to make Central the number one shopping destination in the mind of both our online and offline customers.”
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Key points
• Central 4.0 strategy is to bring Central department stores to the digital world to provide a full range of products and services, using technological innovations to facilitate shopping activities.
• The Innovative Department Store will integrate innovations to offer the novel and exciting experience along with good services and a complete range of quality products. More interactive marketing activities are also included.
• Central LINE official account is a gateway to Central’s e-commerce services and an online community for Central’s customers. The Central Connect function will bring The 1 Card members closer to Central and enable personalised offers and information.
• www.central.co.th will be renovated to become another branch of Central and present user-friendly, efficient system and interface. The proportion of online sales through this website is expected to rise to 15 per cent of total sales over the next five years.
• Omnichannel: Central aims to combine its online and offline platforms seamlessly to become an omnichannel by the next five years to offer the boundless shopping experience.