March 15, 2023 | 11:15 GMT+7

Domestic and foreign retailers locked in fierce competition

Consumer behavior has become the focus of retailers as they battle it out for market share.

Vietnam’s retail market has been witnessing a degree of excitement from a series of major foreign names announcing greater investment and broader distribution networks in the country.

The Bangkok Post has reported that Thailand’s largest retail group, Central Retail Corporation (CRC), recently announced investment of THB50 billion ($1.45 billion) in Vietnam in the 2023-2027 period.

Mr. Olivier Langlet, CEO of Central Retail Vietnam, said Vietnam’s economy is continuing to grow despite the economic uncertainties. “I expect its GDP to grow 6.7 per cent and 7.2 per cent in 2023 and 2024, respectively, compared to 3.5 per cent in Thailand over the next two years,” he added. “This will make Vietnam Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing market.”

Japanese retailer Aeon, meanwhile, plans to triple its malls by 2025 to seek advantages in the food sector, said Mr. Tanaka Kosei, Deputy General Director of Aeon Vietnam Office Division.

However, the fact that foreign retailers are continuously pouring capital into Vietnam also encourages local players to find the means to compete.

“Reforming and applying advanced technology to the logistics chain helps cut costs by 13 per cent,” said Mr. Nguyen Trong Tuan, Operations Director of the WinMart supermarket network. “We will also work soon with suppliers to negotiate the volume of goods in advance, helping customers access affordable goods and benefit from promotions throughout the year.”

Mr. Nguyen Anh Duc, CEO of Saigon Co.op, said that consumer trends have changed, with the focus now on essential goods and “green” goods of high standard. Vietnamese businesses cannot ignore such trends.

“Saigon Co.op will strengthen and promote e-commerce this year, which is an inexorable trend that retailers must follow,” he said. “We will introducing a better customer experience through AI technology, using technology to better understand consumer behavior to more effectively link consumers and suppliers.”

“We have optimized operating costs at supermarkets, then cut profits and additional costs to give the best deal to customers,” said Ms. Nguyen Thuy Duong, Deputy General Director of the BRG Mart supermarket network. “There have been times when we accept selling below cost to give customers the best discount.”

In general, there has been a significant change in consumer trends following the Covid-19 pandemic. They now pay greater attention to essential commodities with clear origin, especially Vietnamese products from long-standing brands with a good reputation. Understanding consumer behavior is very much the “key” to opening the door to success.

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