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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Find HDB shops on your smartphone

Heartland shoppers will soon be able to search for nearby stores using the Housing Board's mobile website.
The Straits Times - August 5, 2011
By: Jamie Ee Wen Wei
| More
Find HDB shops on your smartphone

HEARTLAND shoppers will soon be able to search for nearby stores using the Housing Board's mobile website.

The site, called Where2Shop@HDB, has been given a new feature which can work out the exact locations of users through their smartphones or tablet computers.

Shoppers pick the type of store they are looking for, and are presented with a list of them within a 100m radius.

The new feature, called Shops Nearby, will be ready next month. It was announced yesterday by Minister of State for Trade and Industry, and National Development, Mr Lee Yi Shyan, at a Housing Board retail seminar in Toa Payoh.

The Where2Shop@HDB website, which was launched in 2009, lists all 15,000 HDB shops islandwide and receives 100,000 hits a month. Its mobile version was introduced last year.

Two other new features were also announced yesterday - a Chinese version of the website, and floor layout plans for Housing Board shopping and office complexes.

The new initiatives will help retailers better position their business in the face of strong competition, said Mr Lee.

'The best way to ensure heartland malls' continued relevance is for them to provide what customers need, in ways so unique and personal that their competition could not do.

'In short, focus on customers and be differentiated,' he said in an address to 400 retailers.

One way for retailers to innovate is to learn from those with successful businesses, said Mr Lee.

He gave the example of Sin Hup Furniture, a heartland retailer that has used innovation to stand out from the competition.

Five years ago, it set up a website called Sleeppost.com to allow customers to buy mattresses online. The company set up the website with the help of funding from Spring Singapore's Technology Innovation Programme.

Managing partner Kelvin Tan, 50, said online sales now make up about 12 to 13 per cent of his business, and the figure is increasing steadily each year.

One of his four brick-and-mortar shops has also undergone a revamp. He spent $60,000 renovating his Jurong East branch three years ago.

'Some retailers still use traditional methods to run their business but it cannot work in today's environment. They must upgrade themselves, look for new products and update their shopfront,' he said.

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