Updated: Sep 15, 2021
If you’re a student, working adult, or just a typical Singaporean who appreciates a good deal, you would’ve heard of the Popular Warehouse Sale which is happening from the end of March to early April 2021. In this article, discover tips to maximise your $30 “Take All You Can'' basket. Towards the end, you can also learn about how Popular Bookstore’s customer experience design keeps you coming back to their sale year-after-year!
The "Take-All-You-Can" Popular Warehouse Sale 2021
The annual Popular warehouse sale is happening soon!
If you live in Singapore, you’d know how much we all love a good sale. Here are the details of the anticipated event:
Venue: 15 Serangoon North Avenue 5, Singapore 554360
Dates: 31st March 2021 - 4th April 2021, from 10 am to 8 pm
Booking your slot: via Eventbrite (each customer has 1h at the warehouse)
Free parking (subjected to available capacity)
Despite COVID-19’s disruptions, the well-loved bookstore still received an overwhelming response for their sales. Currently, all slots are booked.
While the $30 basket is arguably the biggest lure of the promotion, there are other promotions such as:
Up to 80% off select items
Stationery at $10 for 10 pieces
Assessment books at $10 for 5
Tips to Maximise Your $30 Basket
Singaporeans are all too familiar with the annual Popular warehouse sales. However, this is the first time that Popular is having a "Take All You Can!" promotion. For just $30, you can pack your basket filled with goodies including English books, Chinese books, as well as other music products.
The goal for “all-you-can-fit” type of sales is simple: to figure out the most optimal way to maximise the value of the basket.
We present some handy tips to get your money’s worth from the sale through strategic methods of stacking your goods!
“Those who fail to prepare are prepared to fail.”
Preplanning is essential to making the most out of your journey to Serangoon. Especially since you only have an hour at the warehouse itself, it’s important to come prepared with your gameplan.
Prepare a checklist with the items that you would like to get at the warehouse sale. It might be helpful to sort these items into "must-buys" and "nice-to-haves". Sort these under the different categories - assessment books, storybooks, stationery, music products, electronic gadgets. Ranking them according to priority helps you save time at the venue itself!
2. The grand gameplan
Let's start with the cost analysis. The million-dollar question every Singaporean has at a sale - this $30 basket "wu hua boh?" (translation: "worth-it or not?" in Singlish).
Considering that the dimensions of the basket are 26cm x 36cm x 22cm (Width x Length x Height), you’re guaranteed to be able to fill in at least 5 encyclopedia-sized books. Looking at the average cost of books in Popular that are priced between $10 to $15, you’re sure to breakeven and start reaping the returns on your $30 dollar investment once you can get more than 3 normal-sized books in your basket.
Moving on to maximising your $30 basket space, this is where your primary school math knowledge comes in handy. Stay with me while I walk you through this word problem of "What is the maximum number of books and other goodies I can fill in this basket?"
From the information that Popular bookstore has revealed thus far, we know that there will be items such as English books, Chinese books, and music gadgets up for grabs. By music products, we're assuming they include items such as CDs.
Of course, English and Chinese books come in all shapes and sizes. It’s important to know their dimensions and how best to stack them.
How to stack your $30 basket
Method 1: For only standard-sized books
Line 2 columns of standard-sized books flat side-by-side, with about 10 books for each column (~20 books)
Fill the leftover space by lining up other books vertically (~2 books)
Method 2: For mainly pocket-sized
Line 2 columns of pocket-sized books and 1 column of standard-sized books flat side-by-side, with about 10 books for each column (~30 books)
Method 3: For mainly premium hardcovers
Line 1 column of premium hardcovers with about 6 books for this column (~6 books)
The additional space can be filled by lining up standard-sized books vertically (~5 books)
For all three methods, pick up some music products to fill any remaining space you have.
Just remember, the rule is that you cannot fill over the brim of the provided basket or bend the books.
The Customer Experience (CX) Design of the Popular Warehouse Sale
What is Customer Experience (CX) design?
You might have heard of User Experience (UX) design, but have you heard of Customer Experience (CX) design? While the former focuses on a user’s interaction with a company’s product, the latter focuses on the consumer’s experience with the company in general.
Customer Experience is important for retail companies, and that’s why one of Popular’s main strategies is to create a seamless customer experience. We shall dive in to analyse Popular warehouse sale’s success from the CX perspective.
Popular Bookstore’s 4 biggest customer profiles
There are 4 main categories of consumers who visit Popular and would be the most invested in their warehouse sale this end-March.
1. The thrifty student
This group of consumers views stationery, arts and craft items, and books as staples. However, they have low spending power and are often on the lookout for great deals. At the warehouse sale, they will be primarily interested in the $30 basket, as well as the 10 for $10 selected stationery.
2. The concerned parents
Parents are probably the second biggest group of consumers at the Popular warehouse sale. They will be interested in the 5 for $10 selected assessment books, and maybe even top up their own office supplies while they are at the well-anticipated warehouse sale.
3. The bookworms
My fellow book lovers would love the $30 basket. Knowing how expensive books can get, this warehouse sale is an amazing steal. Arguably, e-books can be much more affordable compared to paperbacks. But you would know that nothing beats the feeling of flipping through a book, right? Even if you don’t find titles on your to-read list, you might discover some hidden gems.
4. The working adults
After the government’s announcement that up to 75% of employees are able to work at the workplace at any given time, it’s prime time for the working adults to stock up on their office supplies. This demographic would be looking at 10 for $10 selected stationery.
Diving into Popular Warehouse Sale’s Retail Customer Experience (CX) strategy
As one of the biggest players in the publishing and retail sector in Singapore, a strong retail customer experience has helped the bookstore maintain its competitive position.
How did they become so well-known in Singapore’s education industry, and why do people come back to their warehouse sale annually even if it means travelling all the way to Serangoon? (no offense, north-easties)
Let’s take a deeper look at their retail Customer Experience (CX) strategy.
The unique nature of their warehouse sale this year (thanks, COVID-19) calls for additional efforts in addressing questions such as “how can customers be updated on the availability of slots?” and all that nitty-gritty stuff.
Popular Bookstore did a great job handling customer queries and posting updates on their official Facebook page. Kudos to you!
Boosting customer advocacy
Despite Popular bookstore’s efforts to digitize the shopping experience through an online website, a study showed that over 85% of respondents do not use the Popular website. However, this does not mean that Popular does not have an online presence - thanks to the huge community of loyal consumers that they’ve built over the years.
Existing customers who frequent the bookstore have had authentically positive experiences, and recommendations from these customers are often seen as genuine - this is a process called “social proofing”. If you take a quick look at the Google reviews of Popular stores in Singapore, you will see that ratings are mostly around 4.2 - 4.5 stars. Pretty impressive.
Most of the buzz around their warehouse sale this 2021 came from social media and other news platforms (see: over 250 shares on their Facebook page, over 4000 shares on mustsharenews.com, two articles published by Mothership).
Since external news platforms are mostly voluntary advocates, Popular doesn’t even have to incentivise existing customers to help promote their warehouse sale!
Supporting our local bookstore-chain
Even though the well-loved bookstore received overwhelming support for their warehouse sale, that doesn’t mean that they are doing as well as they used to be. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has shuttered all of their existing stores in Hong Kong.
Despite their existing efforts to embrace digitalisation, the bookstore is facing increasing pressure from competitors such as Shopee with their aggressive digital marketing campaigns. New strategies are necessary to keep up in the age of digitalisation.
“Born a bookshop, die a bookshop. I am a bookseller.”
These are the exact words said by Popular’s serving chief, Mr Chou Cheng Ngok. It all started from a small store selling Chinese novels and posters at North Bridge Road and we hope that the love for physical books will not end here.
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