Robinsons to reopen as online mall on June 24 By Ang Qing SINGAPORE – After exiting Singapore in January, 163-year-old Robinsons will make a
comeback as an online department store.
In a statement on Thursday (June 10), the iconic retailer announced that it was acquired by wholesale supplier Canningvale Australia, owned by the Prainito family, this month.
The newly independent Robinsons Department Stores Online has already hired two former Robinsons employees and will employ Singaporeans to “fill various positions across the business,” it added.
The website will go live on June 24.
With its head office based in Singapore, the business will be led by Mr Jordan Prainito, the former managing director of Canningvale Australia.
The incoming managing director of Robinsons Singapore said: “I’m excited to be relaunching such an iconic brand. The brand has a rich history, and it strongly resonates with Singaporean and Southeast Asian customers. It just needs to be catapulted into the 21st century.”
The online department store will feature more than 200 brands as well as collaborations that will debut exclusively on the new platform.
On digitalisation, Mr Prainito said: “We’ll apply the learnings from Canningvale’s digital transformation, where we saw e-commerce sales increase tenfold in under five years.”
“This was achieved through a combination of sourcing expertise, range clarification, system automation, marketing expertise and a forensic focus on our customers.” Founded in 1858 by Philip Robinson and James Gaborian Spicer, Robinsons began as a “family warehouse” selling items such as food and women’s hats.
Despite being hit twice by Japanese bombs during World War II in 1941 and gutted by a massive fire in 1972, the department store survived as an iconic shopping destination in Singapore.
However, years of declining sales and rising competition from e-commerce sent the retailer into voluntary liquidation on Oct 30 last year.
The retail industry in Singapore has been facing intense competition from e-commerce platforms in the last decade or so. The article above outlines yet another business closure of a well-known and well-established retailer. It is no surprise that Robinsons has resurfaced as an online-only store. Moving forward in today’s post-pandemic environment, such online retailers will be closely watched to see how they adapt to market and customer trends to
Assume that you are the Strategic Communication Manager for Robinsons Department Stores Online. Your role is to promote this online store and raise its profile for those who are familiar with shopping online.
a) Discuss the importance of strategic communication to the revived Robinsons retail brand in the form of the Robinsons Department Stores Online in today’s retail environment.
b) Analyse why and how Robinsons can use brand storytelling through creative online content to raise the profile of the revived Robinsons retail brand in Singapore’s post-pandemic retail industry.
c) Develop a three-month-long strategic communication plan that contains recommendations for an online strategy and tactics to distinguish Robinson’s online store from the competition and raise its profile among customers and the local news media. Your plan should also formulate an online corporate social responsibility initiative to earn the goodwill of key stakeholders, such as the online retailer’s employees and customers.
d) Evaluate the proposed online communications tactics from your proposed strategic communication plan against some popular online tactics commonly used by online retailers. In addition, explain how your proposed tactics are different or unique.
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