Retailers brace for upcoming peak seasons

January 03, 2022 | 10:00
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Many retailers are preparing for the year-end peak season to fulfil customers’ increased shopping needs during the New Year and Lunar New Year holidays, with the expectation of regaining growth momentum after a long time of stagnation.
Retailers brace for upcoming peak seasons
Most retailers have begun to prepare for the upcoming celebrations

Contrary to a few months ago, millions of consumers in large cities seem to have found ways to live safely with COVID-19. Supermarkets and shopping centres in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have begun bustling again, although these two cities are still leading the country in the number of infections in the community.

Furusawa Yasuyuki, general director of AEON Vietnam said, “Consumers are still acting cautiously due to pandemic, and the number of customers is not equal to 2020. However, with some positive signs of the market, we believe that purchasing power will gradually increase soon, especially towards the upcoming Lunar New Year.”

As noted by AEON Vietnam, the number of customers coming to its centres and supermarkets, especially in the southern region, has steadily increased week by week, thanks to stimulus policies and programmes from ministries, agencies, and cities.

AEON Vietnam has coordinated with suppliers to prepare goods for Lunar New Year and ensure stable prices. The firm has increased the volume of goods by about 15 per cent compared to the same period in 2021, focusing on fresh and dry food items.

After the pandemic, AEON also focuses on healthcare and convenience food products.

For traditional food such as Chung cake and regional specialities, the chain prepares Lunar New Year gift baskets and introduces different types and sizes of products, focusing on quality with preferential prices to meet diversified consumers’ needs.

Meanwhile, WinCommerce of Masan Group, which owns nearly 2,500 supermarkets and VinMart and VinMart+ stores nationwide, is also in full preparation. For Lunar New Year, supply director Ta Thi Minh Hop said that the company has been working with major suppliers since September and October to offer a diverse array of goods.

“We have increased the number of goods by 40-50 per cent compared to the average daily sales volume, focusing on fresh products, food and essentials, and seasonal items for Lunar New Year. We will also offer many discount programmes, in addition to giving customers attractive gifts baskets. At the same time, we also negotiate with suppliers to provide goods at stable prices during times of high shopping demand,” Hop said.

In addition to the introduction of attractive discount programmes during the holiday, most retailers are aiming to ensure safety with the help of technology solutions to bring customers new convenient and safer shopping experiences.

Central Retail Vietnam is selling its goods both at supermarkets and e-commerce platforms through channels like Big C & GO, Zalo, and fanpages, as well as via delivery channels like Tiki, GrabMart, and NowFresh.

“Consumers’ shopping patterns have changed since the pandemic, with more emphasis on e-commerce and contactless payments. The change is a great opportunity, but also requires retail businesses to quickly change their strategies,” said Pham Thuy Linh, director of external relations and investment at Central Retail Vietnam.

Nguyen Quoc Hoang, general director of Bibica JSC commented that to take the lead and gain a firm market share, the company has been setting up about 70 variety items for Lunar New Year, including many high-end and imported goods. Bibica also promotes online sales and launched a digital retail platform that allows customers to earn points on each purchase to redeem gifts.

“The launch of the Bibica app not only supports sales management but also helps stores link together into a supply chain from producer to consumer, supporting sales and customer care activities,” Hoang said.

As soon as the pandemic appeared, AEON Vietnam also promoted its digital apps, encouraging customers to use online purchases and cashless payments to limit face-to-face contact. AEON has planned to increase human resources to serve customers for the year-end peak shopping season through its many shopping channels. In addition, customers paying cashless may also receive attractive monthly discounts from partners, affiliated banks, and e-wallets.

Vietnam’s retail industry currently has a market size of $142 billion, forecast to increase to $350 billion by 2025, contributing 59 per cent to the country’s GDP.

But in 2021, retail businesses faced many difficulties as consumer demand decreased and brick-and-mortar stores had to close during social distancing.

However, the report Prospects of High-Profit Growth in 2022 by VNDIRECT Securities JSC published in mid-December shows that the retail sector will likely benefit greatly when the consumer demand increases again at the end of the year.n

By Hoang Oanh

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