There is no doubt that the physical retail scene is being disrupted by new technologies, the key to staying relevant and competitive is understanding your retail space. While the e-commerce space continues to grow at a rapid speed, many brick and mortar stores find their future to be a little daunting, but not Tsuruha.
Tsuruha is a Japanese drug store chain which expanded their business into Thailand under partnership with Sahapathanapibul. While businesses are shifting online, Tsuruha continues to expand their offline locations by opening up new storefronts in city areas and large shopping centers. That said, they are also adopting the online sales channel to stay competitive in their market.
We had a chance to sit down have a chat with Khemwalee Chaipupirat, General Manager, Marketing Tsuruha (Thailand) about running Tsuruha in Thailand.
“What sets our business apart is the spirit of ‘Omotenashi’, the Japanese concept of hospitality and respect that is reflected throughout each and every of our stores. We try to keep the decoration and store ambiance to be very much like how they usually are in Japan. In addition to pharmaceutical drugs, we also have a variety of beauty products, vitamins and supplements as well as household goods and snacks. People here in Thailand no longer have to travel to Japan to purchase quality Japanese products.”
Tsuruha’s first store in Thailand opened its doors in 2011. To date, there are 21 branches across Bangkok and Pattaya. They have also extended their sales channel online to www.tsuruha.co.th
Storefront VS Online sales
In-store and online experiences don’t have to be mutually exclusive. They do not need to compete with each other as they both have their unique strengths. Therefore, the question us retailers ask ourselves today is ‘how can we combine the best of both worlds to deliver the best possible experience to our customers’.
“Physical stores offer an experience shoppers simply can’t get when surfing through an e-commerce site. It also serves as an avenue where our salespeople and customers meet and interact — building that distinctive connection to our brand. In a business like ours, we find that shoppers often have the desire to see and touch things in person before making a purchase.”
“The reasoning behind our decision to take our sales online is to offer greater convenience to our customers. When looking at our total retail sales, online sales are still a small portion in comparison, coming in at approximately 10%, the remaining 90% are spent at our physical stores. That said, our online sales are steadily picking up.”
“We received a lot of requests from our customers who are living outside of Bangkok, for example down in the South of Thailand, asking whether we have plans to open stores at locations near them. This is where an online store comes in to play. We are able to extend our reach into areas where there is a demand, without having to invest in new store locations.”
“Additionally, Bangkokians also like shopping online. It’s convenient, there’s no crowd or the need to travel. We plan to grow both sales channels; physical locations and online presence. We feel that physical stores aren’t going anywhere soon, while the online channel can help us capture more sales in more locations. Tsuruha stores are unique in product offerings and the overall ambiance the stores exude. We decorate our stores similar to how we do it in Japan and keep our pricing reasonable.”
How do you earn trust from customers?
“Trust is an emotional connection. It’s earned when we develop a relationship from a place of authenticity. Earning trust from customers rely heavily on the brand itself. Partnering with Omise for card payments, the entire checkout process is kept on our website. Our customers don’t have to go through page redirection to a third party payment operator to fill out card information and complete the transaction. Everything runs smoothly on our website. Due to the fact that the payment processor only works behind the scenes, trust becomes a big influence in closing our online sales. To be able to retain good reputation with customers, having a reliable payments partner on board is key.”
“Trust isn’t given - it has to be earned. We have returning customers, part of it is because of the great experience from the previous times shopping with us. When the first and second purchases run smoothly and we are able to deliver everything as promised, we earn customers’ trust. That’s why people keep coming back. Around 90% of our online transactions are through card payments.”
“Omise has been a great partner. Tsuruha have been processing card payments without any service disruption, and have never received any negative feedback from our customers.”
How does card acceptance help with sales?
“In addition to the convenience factor, being able to accept cards online helps increase basket size. Some people may live on a budget, and when it comes to a product they need or want but cannot afford, they end up abandoning their shopping cart. This is where card payment acceptance comes in handy. It makes the decision making so much more easier for customers. They can make a purchase for items within their credit limit, and we also walk away with a sale. We occasionally carry out special promotions together with credit card brands to help boost our sales too.”
Interested to start accepting online payments with Omise? Get in touch to discuss how we can help power up your sales.