• Published Date: 31 Jan 2021

    The Housing & Development Board (HDB), as the largest commercial landlord in the heartlands, has developed a new digital solution to help heartland retailers go digital, amidst shifts in the retail sector due to the rise of e-commerce and changing consumer behaviours. This will help heartland retailers to transform their business models, keep pace with the evolving retail landscape, and provide more personalised services to shoppers. 

    2 The digital solution comprises two mobile applications called RetailerLink and ShopperLink, which work in sync to help retailers complement their physical presence with an online shopfront platform. This will enhance the heartland retail experience for shoppers by providing them with more shopping options and personalised services at their convenience.  The RetailerLink app will be made available to HDB retailers so that they can adopt digital technology and start on their digitalisation journey, while the ShopperLink app will be available for shoppers to browse the offerings at the heartland shops virtually. 

    3 The two apps were developed in response to feedback from heartland retailers and were tailored to meet their needs. HDB had conducted a series of workshops in 2019 to gather feedback on the challenges faced by heartland retailers and how HDB could help them improve their businesses. Participants who attended the workshops, including retailers and representatives from the Merchants’ Associations, saw the need to revitalise the heartland retail experience so as to remain attractive and relevant to shoppers. Suggestions from participants included having a digital platform for advertising and promotion to boost the visibility of HDB retailers, as well as a single loyalty programme that will cover all shops in the HDB heartland. These ideas have been incorporated in HDB’s RetailerLink and ShopperLink apps. 

    RetailerLink App – Helping Heartland Retailers Go Digital

    4 The RetailerLink app is a one-stop digital platform for HDB retailers to profile their product offerings to a wider audience. For a start, retailers can upload their product and service offerings and share latest promotions and product/service launches. 

    5 Among the features of the RetailerLink app is a chat messaging function that enables retailers to engage customers directly. Retailers can respond to enquiries quickly and even schedule appointments for customers to visit them. With this messaging function, retailers can easily stay in touch with their customers, build a pool of loyal customers and enhance the retail experience in the HDB heartland.  

    6 HDB will progressively add new functionalities to the RetailerLink app to support retailers’ business needs. This includes a full suite of e-services to help retailers manage the lease and tenancy of their shops, book event space to supplement their physical retail space, and access reports on sales data to track their business revenue. 

    When fully developed, the HDB RetailerLink app will be a one-stop platform that enables heartland
    retailers to go digital and transform their businesses, to keep pace with the evolving retail landscape
    and changing consumer behaviours.

    Shopper Link App – Providing A Seamless Shopping Experience

    7 Accompanying the RetailerLink app is the ShopperLink app, for those visiting HDB heartland shops. Akin to visiting a virtual mall, shoppers can receive the latest updates through the app, on product/service launches and promotions from their favourite shops and event happenings at the HDB malls. Shoppers can also view the products and services virtually before visiting the shops. A rewards programme, tailored to the preferences of shoppers, will also be offered. For example, rewards could be exchanged for parking credits, gift redemptions or special deals by retailers. 

    8 Similar to the RetailerLink app, an instant chat messaging function in the ShopperLink app enables shoppers to contact retailers directly, such as to check on available stocks, book an appointment with their hairdresser or order food in advance. With the ShopperLink app, the heartland shopping experience will be more convenient, seamless and attractive. 

    ShopperLink Screenshot

    The ShopperLink app allows shoppers to browse the retail stores
    and stay updated on the latest promotions.


    Trial at Oasis Terraces

    9 For a start, HDB will be trialling the RetailerLink and ShopperLink apps at Oasis Terraces, HDB’s first new-generation Neighbourhood Centre which houses 104 shops. To help retailers use the wide array of functions in the RetailerLink app, HDB has been actively engaging the retailers in Oasis Terraces through customised small group sessions and one-to-one sessions for those who require further assistance. Videos are also provided to familiarise the retailers with the functions in the app. To date, 9 in 10 retailers are using the app to showcase their product and service offerings. 

    10 As for the ShopperLink app, shoppers can download the app for free to enjoy more convenient and seamless shopping during the trial at Oasis Terraces.

    Enhancing Vibrancy in HDB Heartlands

    11 The development of the RetailerLink and ShopperLink apps is an extension and enhancement of the existing Where2Shop directory which hosts a listing of HDB malls and shops on the HDB InfoWEB. We invite retailers and shoppers to share their feedback with us, to help us in refining the apps for better user experience subsequently. The apps will be progressively rolled out to other new-generation Neighbourhood Centres such as Canberra Plaza and Buangkok Square, as well as other HDB malls later this year. 

    12 The move is part of HDB’s continued efforts to help heartland retailers adapt digitally and leverage e-commerce tools, and enhance the vibrancy of HDB towns. With more avenues to promote their goods and services and engage their customers, heartland retailers will be able to offer their customers greater convenience and an enhanced shopping experience.