The Mall Group, the country’s second-largest retail group, has announced its first move to a digital platform, joining hands with Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) to provide cashless shopping ahead of a business overhaul later this month as part of a corporate strategy to deal with mounting online threats.
Supaluck Umpujh, the group’s chairwoman, said starting next month the group will launch cashless shopping at 15 Gourmet Market and Food Hall branches.
The digital payment systems implemented by SCB cover smart self-checkout kiosks for cashless payments at all Gourmet Market and Food Hall outlets with QR code payment.
Within two years, QR code payment will be available at all business units of The Mall.
The kiosks will enable foreign tourists to obtain VAT refunds, while full tax invoices are available for Thai customers.
“This collaboration responds to consumer lifestyle changes, and are in tandem with the government’s Thailand 4.0 initiative,” she said. “We are nervous and scared of the changes brought by the online movement, but we are not giving up. It is challenging. We believe in brick and mortar stores because Thailand is a social country, but we have to create an innovative experience for customers.”
The company expects about 10 million people, particularly young shoppers, to use cashless shopping every month.
Apart from the cashless shopping experience, Ms Supaluck said the company will announce a transformation of The Mall Group, with a new management structure, to respond to the digital retail era and grow its business in a sustainable, long-term fashion.
SCB chief executive Arthid Nanthawithaya said the bank will continue to cooperate with The Mall Group to adopt other payment features for consumers. In the final quarter’s spending season, SCB will adopt promotional campaigns through SCB mobile banking in order to attract both consumers and merchants to digital payment.
In developing the payment platform under collaboration with business partners, the bank will mainly focus on the mass market segment to promote a cashless society. Community areas, retailers, healthcare operators and educational institutions are key concentrations to propel this movement.
“Customer-base expansion is the key objective to develop the payment platform. The mass market is the core segment in building up a cashless society,” Mr Arthid said.
The QR code payment platform under collaboration with The Mall Group is corporate QR code payment, which is expected to be tested in the Bank of Thailand’s regulatory sandbox this month.
The QR code payment for individual customers is undergoing testing in the sandbox and is expected to receive approval from the central bank soon.
Source: Bangkok Post Newspaper, November 2, 2017, page B5