Putting The WOW In Retail

One word, WOW. That’s what went through my mind when I visited the aptly named WOW shopping experience exhibition held by Temasek Polytechnic in Sepmtember.

Innovative and fresh ideas aimed at invigorating the retail industry were there for all to see. Imagine having a self-help kiosk which could let you pay for your purchases and give you all the information you need about the products available in the store. These were some of the fresh new ideas presented by students at the exhibition.

Before everyone is left in a trail of confusion, let me tell you more about the WOW shopping experience. The inaugural event, which serves as both a competition and exhibition, was organised by Temasek Polytechnic’s Diploma in Retail Management. Having started in June and culminating with an exhibition in September, the competition saw individuals from secondary schools and ITE’s pit their retail ideas against each other. Finalists were eventually shortlisted and invited to put up exhibits at the WOW shopping experience.

A chat with the Diploma in Retail Management course manager, Mr Samuel Tan, revealed more. He stated that the competition had a two fold objective, which was aimed at raising awareness about the retail industry whilst tapping into and attracting bright young minds to the retail industry.

Mr Tan also revealed that the competition aimed to be enriching for its participants. Participants were required to attend an informative mini workshop which had industry professionals giving various talks. Through these workshops, students learnt the other facets of the retail industry such as branding and the importance of local and overseas fashion trends.

As I browsed through the exhibits, I was drawn to one particular booth. It was a booth run by Secondary Three students from East Spring Secondary School. Their exhibits proposed the idea of setting up a self-help kiosk in major retail outlets. A chat with one of the students, Cheryl Low Si Ying, filled me in on the more intricate details of their kiosk. The kiosk is aimed at alleviating peak hour crowds in shopping centres through the provision of services such as bill payments and product information such as that of the available stock in the store. Sounds good for a shopaholic like me!

Imagine the time customers could have saved if this kiosk existed! I’m sold!

They would have been saved from countless queues at cashiers and fruitless browsing sessions had they known the product they wanted was no longer in stock. Alas this idea is still in its infant stages and we will have to wait awhile longer before this kiosk gets implemented at major retailers. #makeithappenplease

A short chat with the bubbly Cheryl also let me in on the experiences of the participants. “We wanted to do this by ourselves so we didn’t approach our teachers for help. We also had common tests and co-curricular activities to deal with while we prepared for the competition” remarked Cheryl when asked about the challenges she and her team faced. She was also quick to reveal that the competition did have its benefits. “We did a lot of brainstorming and learnt about time management” remarked Cheryl as she described what she picked up from the competition.

As my visit to the WOW shopping experience winds down to an end, I can safely say that it’s been an enriching experience for me. Going by the ideas presented at the exhibition, the future of Singapore’s retail industry definitely looks bright. I’m beginning to worry for my wallet. Too much good things to buy!

Temasek Polytechnic is the only institution with a retail centered diploma and if a career in the retail industry interests you, you could check up on the Diploma in Retail Management and the events it organizes. If my visit to the exhibition was anything to go by, you could be greatly enlightened about the retail industry too!

Ok, excuse me while I plan my next shopping session.

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