Central Retail plans to double online sales

Central Retail Corporation has announced plans to to double its online sales to THB10 billion (US$315.76 million) this year.

Central’s CEO Nicolo Galante said the firm intends to lead in the omni-channel e-commerce business, overtaking Shopee.

“Non-food businesses globally have been disrupted by digital transformation and are struggling against the likes of Amazon and Alibaba. As the biggest non-food player in Thailand, Central Retail pledges to move aggressively this year to tap into digital transformation,” said Galante in an interview.

“We can be for Thailand what Amazon is in Western countries and Alibaba is in China. Everywhere in the world, the No.1 player in e-commerce and digital is always a new-economy company, but in Thailand it could be a company that is 71 years old.”

In this regard, Central intends to launch an omnichannel platform of services distinctive from those of Lazada, Alibaba and Shopee, whereby the company will retail products and services both at physical stores and online. Central will assist partner brands who lack the resources to build their presence in the marketplace.

It will launch the first such marketplaces for Central Department Store, PowerBuy and SuperSports within the next six months.

“We will launch our omnichannel marketplaces for our retail business,” said Galante. “If there are some problems with the products, the customer can return the products to the store, get advice and other services at the store.”

For apparel, Central will launch launch a “Reserve and Collect” service that allows buyers to reserve two or more sizes or colours of products online and choose which to buy after trying them in-store.

The move is part of the firm’s considerable investment in technology, teams and new services in the hopes of taking the lead in the e-commerce business by 2021.

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