SINGAPORE - Singapore's FairPrice brand has been ranked first place on Interbrand's Southeast Asia Most Valuable Brands list this year.
The Best Retail Brands report ranks the top five Southeast Asian retail brands by brand value, as well as the top retail brands from around the world.
The other South East Asian brands in the top 5 were Parkson from Malaysia, SM Dept. Store from Philippines, Matahari Dept. Stores in Indonesia, and Thailand's Big C.
This is the fifth such ranking compiled by Interbrand Design Forum, a retail experience group within Interbrand.
The 2013 report was expanded to include 11 other countries/regions.
The following brands were ranked most valuable in their respective countries:
- Walmart (United States)
- Tesco (United Kingdom)
- Lululemon (Canada)
- Oxxo (Mexico)
- Natura (Brazil)
- Carrefour (France)
- Aldi (Germany)
- Uniqlo (Japan)
- Suning (China)
- Lotte Department Store (Korea)
- Woolworths (Australia)
Across Southeast Asia and its key markets (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam), the retail industry has seen tremendous changes over the past few years.
Spurred by spending from middle class consumers, most markets have seen increasing demand for a range of goods, including grocery, home improvement and fashion - all of which indicate a vibrant, economically active region.
Retailers, of course, have had to adapt to changing demographics and the shifts in preferences and expectations that come along with rising income levels.
Some have been more successful than others. One of the most recent and high profile exits from the region, for instance, has been the French brand, Carrefour. Unable to meet emerging consumer needs through hypermarkets alone-and with no plans to offer new formats, Carrefour closed its outlets in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
Retail chains that adapted their store formats and experiences to align with changing consumer needs, however, have seen better results.
Brands in Thailand and the Philippines are also capitalizing on the growing number of consumers looking to shop online by offering innovative services such as online gift registries (still relatively new to the region).
Online shopping combined with in-store pickup or delivery services aim to provide a better shopping experience for urban dwellers, and are proving to be an operationally efficient way to sell goods for many brands.
"The brands that make our list have been quick to keep up with shifts in preference and expectations," says Julian Barrans, Managing Director, Interbrand Singapore. "They have adapted to changing market needs while keeping a close eye on what consumers want."
Each year, Interbrand studies what makes retail brands successful and documents their challenges. The brands that succeed amongst the tumultuous backdrop of the retail industry have four things in common:
Valuable retail brands monitor customer's changing needs. In the race for relevance- that is, providing customers with a reason to choose a brand-the strongest relentlessly pursue knowledge about their consumers and incorporate those insights into their everyday behaviour.
With economic power distributed across an ever growing portfolio of touchpoints, customers-not the brands themselves-set the rules of engagement.
Leaders build a culture of efficient decision-making. The pace of retail and customer expectations around speed continues to increase.
To respond, executives need to build cultures, processes and systems that enable quick decisions. This isn't just about assortment adjustments. It's about organizational commitment to moving at the speed of the retail world to remain competitive.
It's understood that experience extends beyond the store. Even the definition of retail is changing.
"Retail" no longer refers to physical stores; it refers to the complete experience created by retail brands-from physical stores to digital touchpoints to service experiences to products. Retailers witnessing big gains this year have committed to this holistic view of experience.
Rather than antiquated methods of maximizing stores at the expense of other channels, top brands think in terms of groups of touchpoints and the optimization of experience.
The best continuously optimize, scale and measure. The need to move quickly can pressure retail leaders to abandon their commitment to the tasks aligned with optimization, scaling and measurement.
Many do achieve top speed, as the industry demands, where it becomes challenging to evaluate on the fly. Across the top retailers, commitment to ongoing, meaningful measurement and refinement is clear.
"Outstanding retail brands, such as those on our list, are marked by their ability to transform the ordinary into the desirable", said Jez Frampton, Interbrand's Global Chief Executive Officer.
"It is these exceptional brands that start new conversations, innovate new models and inspire us all to participate in the cultural experience we call shopping. Congratulations to this year's Best Retail Brands - we can't wait to see what's (quite literally) in store in the year ahead," he added.