MR No.: 006/18
Singapore, Tuesday, 13 February 2018
Singapore’s leading home-grown furniture player Commune today announced its goal to open more than 100 outlets in China by 2020. Commune’s sales from the market hit almost S$7 million, accounting for 64% of its total revenue in 2017. This was a key driver of its revenue growth, at 40% year-on-year. For Commune’s next stage of growth, it will partner International Enterprise (IE) Singapore to adopt an omnichannel1 strategy to tap China’s growing market. Commune will integrate their online and offline presence seamlessly by developing data analytics capabilities and business intelligence tools to better target customers and cater to evolving customer shopping habits.
Within a short span of three years, Commune has opened over 42 physical stores across tier one and tier two cities in China through a dealership model2. China is the world’s second largest consumer market, with GDP per capita reaching S$10,853 in 20163. Furniture sales grew 8.6% to reach S$174.5 billion in 20164. With rising affluence and demand for imported products, Chinese consumers have been receptive to Commune’s unique brand and concept. The company has presence in Australia, China, Malaysia and Singapore, with China being its key market.
Said Mr Gan Shee Wen, Sales and Marketing Director, Commune, “With the support of IE Singapore, we intend to increase sales and knowledge of our customers through digital marketing and analytics, while ensuring a seamless shopping experience online. We see great market potential in the Chinese market, where more and more of the younger generation are looking to own their homes for the first time and are keen to purchase furniture that is made of premium quality and sustainably sourced wood, so as to ensure home-making experiences that are meaningful and different. China’s demographics are changing – we see a growth in our target audience of design-savvy and well-travelled, well-informed Chinese who are receptive to international design trends and have a preference for modern, designer furniture. They will be a key segment in influencing the rest of the population to take up international trends.”
China’s retail scene today is highly competitive and increasingly ‘experience-driven’. Beyond just a transaction, consumers seek rich and unique shopping experiences through videos, live streaming, Virtual Reality (VR) and games, and are influenced by key opinion leaders. To create a better consumer experience and improve retention, Commune equipped its China stores with VR capabilities, where its in-house designers will turn customers’ floorplans into a VR environment and provide recommendations on design concepts.
To raise its competitive edge, Commune is working with IE Singapore on an omnichannel strategy, given the increasing convergence of e-commerce, mobile and social commerce. This involves building a long-term e-commerce strategy and a seamless online and offline brand to engage the digitally savvy new home-owners. IE Singapore is supporting Commune’s development of a digital platform to integrate its digital marketing, sales and data analytics functions. This platform will complement Commune’s physical presence by allowing it to increase brand awareness online and track consumer insights to improve consumer retention and sales. The digital platform will also help its dealers boost their sales, especially in Chinese cities where they do not have a physical presence in.
Said Mr Lee Yee Fung, Group Director, Lifestyle Business Group, IE Singapore, “The retail landscape has evolved beyond simplistic online or offline models. Progressive retailers have been systematically adding features and services at their various touchpoints to build a seamless end-to-end experience for customers. China is at the forefront of this innovation, with their advancements in social commerce (WeChat, Weibo) and frictionless payment solutions (Alipay, WeChat Pay). We are delighted to work with Commune to build an integrated online-offline presence to take its engagement with customers to the next level. We encourage other Singapore retailers to start their digital journey to strengthen their competitiveness.”
Commune will subsequently implement their omnichannel strategy in Singapore and other markets it is in. IE Singapore is working with Commune to expand to Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand by connecting it to mall owners and dealers. SPRING Singapore has also been supporting Commune in the development of its VR software, customer service excellence training and mobile training platforms for the Singapore market.
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Established in 2011, Commune is a homegrown furniture design and lifestyle company that originated in Singapore, crafting high quality artisanal works for the design savvy. As a brand with growing international presence and aspirations, Commune encapsulates quiet modernity; unifying function, effortless form and intelligent craftsmanship. Commune’s designs are human-centric, with beauty and the needs of the modern individual as two essential considerations in its conceptualisation process. The brand’s commitment to quality is reflected in its involvement across the full production process – from creative conceptualisation to the eventual manufacture of each final product. A strong advocate for sustainability, Commune also uses eco-conscious wood and timber imported from sustainable sources in USA and Asia, and lacquers and coatings with low lead content.
With their distinctive and form-fitting designs, Commune’s furniture provides smart solutions for trendy urbanites and apartment living. Each piece is sized to fit comfortably within the small living spaces typical of city life, and thoughtfully priced to be accessible to a wide range of customers. To date, Commune has established a strong regional presence with over 40 stores spanning across China, three in Malaysia and one in Australia. Going forward, Commune plans to expand its overseas footprint with the target of opening 150 new franchise stores over the next two years, 70 per cent of them in China.
Visit www.thecommunelife.com for more information.
About International Enterprise Singapore
IE Singapore is the government agency that promotes international trade and partners Singapore companies to go global.
We attract and anchor global trading companies in Singapore by promoting our unique advantages as a global trading hub. Today, Singapore is home to a complete ecosystem for the energy, agri-commodities and metals & minerals trading clusters.
Through our network of over 35 overseas centres and comprehensive assistance programmes, we partner Singapore companies to strengthen their global competitiveness.
IE Singapore will merge with SPRING Singapore to form Enterprise Singapore in Q2 2018. Enterprise Singapore will enable the growth of Singapore companies through an integrated support network to build business capabilities and access overseas markets.
Visit www.iesingapore.gov.sg for more information.
1 Omnichannel is a multichannel approach that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop, mobile device or in a brick and mortar store.
2 Commune provides dealers with intellectual property, software, technology, training, consultation and supply of original design products at wholesale prices without charging royalty fees.
3 Source: The World Bank
4 Source: The Hong Kong Trade Development Council