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3 Ways Sheng Siong Group Ltd is Modernising Supermarket Retail

Sheng Siong Group Ltd  (SGX: OV8) released its 2016 annual report in April this year.

The retailer owns one of the largest supermarket chains in Singapore – it has a network of over 40 stores that are primarily located in the heartlands of the island.

One interesting aspect about Sheng Siong’s stores is that the company is modernising its retail operations. Here are three ways the company is doing so, as described in its latest annual report.

1. The hybrid self-check-out system

Sheng Siong’s chairman, Lim Hock Eng, said:

“We have always been committed to investing in innovation to further improve our operational efficiency and to reduce the dependency on labour.

To a large extent, all these innovations are digital based, and in response to the government’s push towards a smart nation, we introduced the hybrid self-checkout system in six of our stores in 2015 and to a further nine stores in 2016.”

In this hybrid system, Sheng Siong’s staff would help shoppers scan and pack their goods after customers make payments at an automated payment kiosk. This process helped reduce the number of cashiers needed by Sheng Siong, said Lim.

2. Online shopping

Lim remarked:

“There has been a lot of discussion on how e-commerce could disrupt the traditional brick and mortar business of grocery retailing.”

Here, Lim was referring to how shoppers would prefer to purchase their items online and have them delivered to their homes, instead of going to the supermarket. Sheng Siong has been testing with online efforts of its own:

“We are mindful of the developments and have remained focused on learning from our “allforyou.sg” online pilot project, which currently offers e-commerce in some residential areas in Singapore.”

3. Sustainable living

Modernising is not only about digital improvements. Lim also added:

“We hold open discussions with our suppliers in encouraging more sustainable farming and sourcing. The Norwegian salmon and rainbow trout available for sale in our stores have been certified as sustainable seafood.

To help lower our carbon footprint, we actively promote the sales of home-grown vegetables from organic and local farms.”

Sheng Siong is also taking steps in seeking out sustainable seafood and organic produce to be offered to its customers.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Chin Hui Leong doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.