Singapore’s Kampong Gelam gets a dedicated digital transformation office

GOVERNMENT agencies in Singapore have been working on driving the digital transformation agenda among the smallest of local businesses in the country by grouping them together into precincts.

The two most successful projects in recent times have been the Gelam project and the Little India project.

Now, Enterprise Singapore, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), One Kampong Gelam (OKG), Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SMCCI), and other stakeholders involved have decided to form a digital transformation in Kampong Gelam to help small businesses in the precinct climb the digital maturity curve.

“It is important for Kampong Gelam merchants to leverage on digitalization efforts, in a technology-driven market. Through digitalization, our unique Kampong Gelam precinct could achieve greater footfall amongst locals and tourists and better business,” said OKG Chairman Saeid Labbafi.

While announcing the launch of the new dedicated office, the government agencies shared a set of initiatives that are being introduced at the precinct-level, both of which are expected to help raise awareness of the precinct and generate business opportunities.

One recent initiative is the partnership with Asia Pacific-reward program leader ShopBack to launch a precinct-wide cashback program where consumers who spend SGD120 (US$88.44) at participating food & beverage establishments will stand a chance to win an equal amount in bonus cash back.

The precinct has also signed up for an official Kampong Gelam WeChat account to encourage tourists to visit the destination and make it easier for them to make purchases there.

Finally, through another partnership forged by the precinct’s digital transformation office, merchants will also be able to sell their products online with a dedicated Kampong Gelam e-commerce platform.

According to the government agencies involved, the new digital capabilities will help the small businesses in the precinct attract new customers to their stores, encourage repeat purchases, and boost customer loyalty.

Digital partnerships with WeChat and e-commerce platforms are also expected to help merchants access multiple sales channels in the digital world while also optimizing their physical stores for success with technology.

“It has been encouraging to see merchants taking up digital solutions to strengthen their competitiveness. We are glad to collaborate with SMCCI, OKG, Enterprise Singapore and the private sector, to identify precinct needs and introduce new digital solutions,” said IMDA Assistant Chief Executive Jane Lim.

“By working together, we can encourage more people to discover new experiences in Kampong Glam and help our merchants to grow their business.”

The stakeholders believe that the first round of programs focused on encouraging merchants to adopt common digital solutions to strengthen their individual competitiveness and connect them to digital platforms, the new set of initiatives will focus on precinct-level digital innovation.

Setting up the dedicated digital transformation office in Kampong Gelam is expected to help the precinct stay focused on continually driving new initiatives and serve as an example for other precincts especially to Little India, which has recently embraced digital with the support of IMDA and other government agencies.

The dedicated digital transformation office could also serve as a reminder to businesses exploring new-age technologies that having a focused innovation engine that spans the entire organization can help break through silos and ensure the organization climbs the digital maturity curve more quickly and effortlessly.

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