Takashimaya Singapore is the largest retail chain located along Orchard Road in Ngee Ann City. The mall traces its origin from Japan following the rapid expansion of the company in the area. It comprises of departmental stores that mainly target affluent consumers in Singapore. The retail store has a wide range of service and product centers that attract various consumers both locally and abroad. These include boutiques, restaurants, slimming services, dry cleaners, art gallery and spas. Consumers visiting the place can also access various products that include books, cosmetics, ladies fashion, hair and beauty, music, traditional cuisines and sportswear. Wide product and service range indicates that the mall attracts different categories of people with varying consumer behaviors (Sung, 1993).
Behavior of People Who Visit the Mall
Takashimaya Singapore is a unique mall in the region that has the largest customer base and range of products and services. The people who come to the mall are mainly Singaporeans who visit the place for shopping. Takashimaya provides the central shopping place in the country where consumers can purchase different items. Apart from product variety, the consumers visit the place because of fair pricing. The shopping mall attracts consumers from different social classes. The product and pricing features communicate the themes of social difference and inequalities in the city. Most of the items offered in the stalls are luxury goods that suit the needs of high class members of the society. However, there are certain stores that offer commodities, which fit the needs of middle class consumers. Social differences in a community emanate from the beliefs, perceptions, education and income levels. The disparities determine how different categories of people react to certain things in the surrounding. Yao (1996), posits that even though individuals may live or share common values in the community, individual perceptions and beliefs determine how people buy and sell products (Liechty, 2003).
Consumers, who visit Takashimaya Singapore, elicit differences in buying patterns and approaches to the prices charged by the sellers. For instance, a majority of upper class consumers, who purchase luxury high-priced products, wear expensive clothes, own very expensive cars, and have good hair styles as well as general look. There is a clear distinction between the group and middle-class customers, who purchase fairly-priced products. The consumers tend to use moderately priced cars in the market because most of them care about fuel efficiency and the cost of maintenance (Liechty, 2003).
While high class consumers focus on luxury high-quality products, middle class consumers go for the basic commodities. The difference between the consumers espouses the theme of consumer status. It is a concept that describes consumer behavior in relation to purchasing decisions and patterns. Consumer status reveals why certain groups of customers will always buy certain brands of products because of the perceived status associated with the items. It is also evident that mall takes advantage of the situation to focus on luxury goods that link consumers to a high social class. Luxury products are very expensive and unaffordable to the poor, who prefer basic commodities. Under the concept of consumer status, buyers exhibit two main characteristics that include invidious and conspicuous consumptions. Invidious approach to consumption entails the procurement of materials for the purpose of provoking envy. There are consumers who visit Takashimaya Singapore that depict the character. For instance, young consumers of fashion products buy from boutiques that stock clothes, shoes and jewelry from the last collections. On the other hand, the conspicuous model of consumption entails acquisition of luxury items to manifest economic power and class. Buyers under the model associate certain types of goods with social status. The approach is mainly common among wealthy middle aged-adults who visit the mall (Liechty, 2003).
The concept of consumer status relates the customer who visits the mall with particular or prices for commodities. However, the theme of local/relations and global identity associates consumer characteristics with places of origin (Yao, 1996). Takashimaya Singapore attracts customers from various regions of the country and even other parts of the world. It is one of the retail chains that contribute to development of shopping tourism in Singapore. At the local level, Takashimaya enjoys the benefits of a very large consumer base that comprises of people from different social classes. International consumers who purchase items from the market come from countries such as Philippine, Malaysia, India and China. Moreover, international residents who live in the city form the biggest section of foreign consumers. Buyers from other countries visit the store to purchase Singaporean fashion products, buy traditional cuisines, purchase books, and art materials. The theme of locality and global relations does not look into consumer characteristics such as social class, but dwells on the elements that identify consumer movement across various markets. For instance, most Singaporeans visit the mall because it has a variety of stores that offer very unique products compared to other retail chains in the country (Liechty, 2003).
Foreign buyers visit the mall to purchase various goods offered by the sellers. Buyers also travel to the mall for fun. Therefore, relational and locality approach assumes that buyers come to the store for different reasons. Unlike the consumer status that relates customer behavior to social status, the locality and relational approach looks at a wide range of consumer drives. It assumes that buyers have a common goal to visit the mall and procure certain items or services. For instance, a young a boy from the middle social class can a visit a shop to purchase labels while a rich man from the upper social class can visit the store to buy very expensive electronics. However, the common issue between the two consumers is that both of them came from different geographical regions to purchase items. Significant differences between the buyers can stem modes of transport used to access the market. Most consumers who visit the store use road transport. International and domestic consumers visiting the store use public transport to access the place. Other buyers use railway means of transportation. Takashimaya has adequate parking space for the clients who visit the stalls in private cars.
The Culture of Takashimaya Singapore
Takashimaya shopping mall is one of the most popular and fantastic places in Singapore. The shopping mall exhibits great architectural design that reflects the artistic prowess of the Singaporean people. The shopping mall has adequate spacing that allows easy movement of customers. The arrangement of the shops and the restaurants accommodate the need for product promotion and outdoor events. For instance, many of the customers around Singapore prefer to visit the place because of adequate spacing that allows free movement during window shopping. The front space of the mall covers a vacant area of more than 300 meters for the purpose of outdoor promotions (Sung, 1993).
The organizational culture is to provide luxury products to the consumers in a well organized and safe environment. The business dwells on the objective of quality so as to provide the right product to the target customers at the right place and time. The shops, art galleries, and restaurants have a commitment to provide high quality services to the buyers. Domestic and international consumers prefer shopping at the stores because the shops provide latest and trendy products. Unlike most boutiques in Singapore that focus on Singaporean fashion wear, the boutiques at Takashimaya provide international products to the consumers. The mall has an online portal that targets buyers who purchase items online. The online gateway attracts large numbers of buyers because of convenient search tools that enable users to find location of different shops and hotels. The website is user friendly and helps the organization to communicate its commitment to quality to the buyers. Takashimaya online portal has unique features that distinguish it from other retail chains in Singapore.
The organization also upholds and promotes the culture of the Singaporean people in its business activities. The approach enables the company to attract and retain customers from the area. For instance, Takashimaya is one of the organizations that hold the Teochew cultural festival, which takes place in the month of September every year. The event coincides with the Teochew Poit, which is more like a national festival in Singapore (Liechty, 2003).
The events attract visitors from various places of the world and provide the opportunity to view historical artifacts of the Singaporean people, watch art performances and have the opportunity to taste Teochew delicacies. The shopping center records higher sales during the festivals. The organization takes advantage of the opportunity to hold product promotions. For example, mall restaurants, participate in Teochew Food Street, which is one of the most popular segments of the cultural events. Visitors and domestic tourists take the opportunity to eat favorite Teochew delicacies, which include roast meat, oyster omelets, braised duck and the Swatow dim. The art galleries use the opportunity to sell pieces of art and unique art items by local artists. Visitors in the artistic segments prefer wood carvings and Teochew embroidery (Liechty, 2003). The cultural events bring people together and explain the assertions raised by Fiske (1989), who claims that popular cultures have features, which are common to a group of people. Individuals who share common cultural values or aspirations manifest unity through culture and traditional practices (Storey, 1996).
The Shops at the Mall
Takashimaya comprises of a variety of retail shops that offer a wide variety of consumer products. The shops include food stores, home furnishing stores, music and video stores, boutiques, bookshops, art galleries and electronic shops. Every store offers the right product that conforms to the nature of the business it does. For instance, electronic shops sell mobile phones, televisions, torches and other electronic devices. Boutiques sell shoes, dresses and different categories of clothes. There are different boutiques that offer products for different genders. Male boutiques specialize in male clothes and accessories, while female boutiques specialize in handbags, beauty products, dresses and shoes. The shops in the mall focus on customer satisfaction through provision of high quality products and services (Sung, 1993).
Promotional events enable the retail stores to increase the level of sales and attract more consumers from different parts of the country. There are store-wide promotions that the shopping mall holds every year to celebrate its anniversary. The campaign takes place in Takashimaya square. In addition, every store performs individual promotional event. For example, baby stores conduct regular baby fairs to increase the sales of baby products. Food stores hold a series of events that include Lingerie fair, Hokkaido Fair, Coach Event and Senrio Fair. The events ensure that consumers can access different delicacies offered by the food stores. Marrella promotion attracts ladies who purchase dresses and clothing products from the boutiques. All cultural events and promotional activities conform to the culture of Singaporean society and that of the organization.