The Straits Times/Asia News Network
Day scene of ION Orchard shopping mall, Singapore, on Feb. 28, 2015. The Great Singapore Sale (GSS), from June 9 to Aug. 13, is going digital this year with a new mobile phone app called GoSpree. (Shutterstock/File)
The Great Singapore Sale (GSS), from June 9 to Aug. 13, is going digital this year with a new mobile phone app called GoSpree.
The free app will operate as a "super mall" platform, allowing customers to get their hands on various e-coupons from different categories of retailers across the island.
Using the app, available in English and Mandarin, seems easy enough. Shoppers pick the discounts they want to enjoy and the app compiles the offers on a virtual card to be used at designated physical stores before they expire.
The geo-location enabled app will also let retailers send e-coupons and flash deal alerts to shoppers nearby.
Each GSS retailer will also get a unique QR code, which may be displayed around the island. Users can collect these codes using the app's code scanner to unlock special deals.
The app will also have a directory of participating retailers for users to browse through.
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To be launched on the first day of the nine week-long sale, the free app can be downloaded through the Apple Store and the Google Play store.
Its aim, says the Singapore Retailers Association (SRA), which organises the annual GSS, is to reach out to younger tech-savvy shoppers, as well as to help participating retailers, especially smaller stores in the heartlands, pull in shoppers during the sale.
Said SRA's executive director Rose Tong: "With the GoSpree app, we are hoping to target anyone with a phone and incentivise their shopping experience."
"We particularly want to reach out to smaller, independent retailers who can really leverage on the platform to target new customers and get additional publicity at no cost," she said, adding that the sale will stretch past the National Day public holiday so shops can hold themed promotions.
Retailers will not be charged to list their offerings on the app, which is owned and copyrighted by SRA.
One retailer already on board is local design and lifestyle store Naiise, which will be offering $5 GoSpree e-coupons as well as exclusive discounts and offers to app users.
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Said Naiise founder Dennis Tay, 32: "For us, getting on GoSpree offered us a chance to reach digital natives - many of whom are our target audience."
"We feel the app is a move in the right direction because it is allowing retailers to transform the offline shopping experience and take it beyond the transactionary."
Also on the app are retailers such as furniture and electrical giant Courts, department store Takashimaya and Millenia Walk mall - all of whom have e-coupons and special deals such as free parking vouchers that will be revealed when the app launches on June 9.
In addition, UnionPay cardholders will get access to exclusive deals through the app.
The GSS this year, supported by Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and UnionPay, is in its 24th run. The event has helped cement Singapore's reputation as a shopping paradise and was launched by STB in 1994 to market the island as such.
The move to digitise the sale comes in the wake of the retail industry transformation map announced last September. The map, among other things, calls for retailers to innovate and try out new technology to reach out and engage with consumers.
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So far, it seems like shoppers will bite.
Electrical engineer Hwang Tze Li, 33, said he would download the app.
"I like the idea of GSS offers being available to me on one platform - that way I can look through the discounts at home and head directly to the stores I'm interested in. It seems really convenient."
It was a sentiment that housewife Nurliza Rahim, 54, agreed with.
Despite not being an active user of mobile apps, she said that the premise of GoSpree sounded easy enough to use.
"I will be keen to download it when it is launched," she says.
"Nowadays most people shop online but I still think it is very fun to be able to go walk around the shops, especially during the sale period."
"I like that brands are making more of an effort to engage with their customers and draw us back to the stores. Because honestly, it is still fun to go out to the shops and after all, who doesn't like a good discount right?"
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