Social media is transforming retail and expanding the e-commerce world. It goes without saying that the presence of social media in any retail store is critical to its marketing and sales reach.
It has not only simplified the process of buying but also created a platform for brands to have a global outreach.
E-commerce is becoming easier and faster, making it increasingly popular. Recently, Instagram introduced a shopping feature that allows users to purchase products within the app. With the “Checkout” feature, users can tap on products they like and purchase it without leaving the app.
This creates a frictionless experience for consumers, simplifying the buying process and making it easier to find desired products.
Facebook’s algorithm allows it to target certain audiences for certain ads as they have access to large amounts of information on their users. Facebook also has a feature called “Chatbot”, an artificial intelligence program that can have “conversations” and answer questions.
This helps companies with customer service, providing information to customers almost instantly.
Glossier, a cosmetics company, gained its popularity almost solely through social media. The nine-year-old cosmetics company now has 2 million Instagram followers and a $1.2 billion valuation, securing its status of being a “unicorn” startup.
The company opened its first brick-and-mortar store in 2018; prior to that it only had pop-up stores.
The rise of social media and e-commerce
The rise of social media and e-commerce has impacted real estate in many ways, with many traditional mall retailers such as those in apparel and footwear coming under increasing pressure.
Due to this shift, experiential spaces such as fitness centers, coworking spaces, dining and pop-up stores are increasingly becoming a greater part of the tenant mix for many malls.
In this time of retail uncertainty where trends come and go faster than ever, pop-up stores allow brands to test the waters of opening a physical store, and helping build “buzz” for their brands. Pop-up stores and short-term leases are gaining traction, and platforms like specialitymallleasing.com are becoming more popular.
This platform allows businesses to rent space in Australian malls, with retailers even having the ability to secure space and make payment with their credit card..
While there is certainly growth within online shopping, having a physical retail presence has not lost its value. This can be seen in Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.
Whole Foods gave Amazon a physical platform that helped minimize the costs of returns and delivery. Some Whole Foods stores now accept returns and have Amazon lockers for pickup, providing other forms of last mile delivery.
Alibaba has also shown interest in brick-and-mortar retail. . Alibaba has invested a significant amount of capital in physical stores in the last two years, and acquired the department store chain “Intime”.
The world we live in is volatile and retailers that learn to embrace change and take advantage of social media are more likely to succeed. They need to invest time into their online and offline presence to stay relevant and to extend their sales reach.
Gemma Lee is an Intern for JLL in Singapore. She is on her holiday break from her studies in the UK.
How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?
– The rise has been driven by OPEC+ production cuts and an improving economic climate
– Higher prices are likely to support a rebound in oil-producing emerging markets
– Further virus outbreaks or increased production would pose challenges to price stability
A combination of continued production cuts and an increase in economic activity has prompted oil prices to return to pre-pandemic levels – a factor that will be crucial to the recovery of major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and Africa.
Brent crude prices rose above $60 a barrel in early February, the first time they had exceeded pre-Covid-19 values. They have since continued to rise, going above $66 a barrel on February 24.
The ongoing increase in oil prices, which have soared by 75% since November and around 26% since the beginning of the year, marks a dramatic change from last year.
Following the closure of many national borders and the implementation of travel-related restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, demand for oil slumped globally.
In the wake of the Saudi-Russia price war in early 2020, Brent crude prices fell from around $60 a barrel in February that year to two-decade lows of $20 a barrel in late April, as supply increased and demand plummeted. The value of WTI crude – the main benchmark for oil in the US – fell to record lows of around $40 a barrel last year on the back of a lack of storage space.
While global demand for oil remains low, one factor credited with reversing the trend is the decision to make significant cuts to oil production, which subsequently tightened global supplies.
How the Rural-Urban Divide Plays Out on Digital Platforms
It is one thing for entrepreneurs, whether urban or rural, to create and operate an online store, as some digital platforms have made it relatively easy to manage an e-store – even by using just a smartphone.
Will South-east Asia’s tech giants turn to SPACs to boost post-pandemic growth?
– The vehicle is widely used to help tech start-ups go public
– Both Singapore’s and Indonesia’s exchanges are set to allow SPACs
– Several South-east Asian tech unicorns may use SPACs to list publicly
South-east Asia is seeing a wave of interest in special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, with various major tech players considering them as a means to fast-track public listings. In parallel to this, several exchanges in the region are moving to allow SPAC listings, with a view to boosting post-coronavirus growth.
SPACs are shell companies set up by investors and then listed on a given stock exchange. Their sole function is to acquire a private company, enabling it to go public without having to go through a traditional initial public offering (IPO).
A SPAC does nothing beyond its essential function – it neither produces nor sells anything, and a SPAC’s only assets are the funds raised from its own IPO.
Crucially, people who buy into a SPAC do not know what its eventual acquisition target or targets will be. This is why SPACs are often referred to as “blank cheque companies”: they give the founders a free rein to back their choice of private company. A key feature of SPACs is that they are often headed by big-name business executives or fund managers, who trade on past successes to inspire trust in investors.
While they are far from a novel phenomenon, SPACs have become a hot button topic in recent times: SPAC initial offerings quadrupled last year, with the vehicles raising a record $80bn.
Merging with a SPAC enables a company to go public and raise capital more quickly and painlessly than with a traditional IPO, circumventing some of the volatility that Covid-19 unleashed on global markets. At the same time, they function rather like venture capital, helping investors to buy into high-growth start-ups on the ground floor.
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