Retailers should focus on services: experts hinh anh 1The centre of VinPro, a technology and electronics retail chain, opens in Hanoi on March 21 (Photo: kinhdoanhnet)
Experts have urged Vietnamese retailers to enhance the quality of their retail services, considered a decisive factor to ensure any business' success at a time when the country is moving towards rapid integration with regional and global economy and anticipates increasing competition.

The Director of the Centre for Business and Administration Studies under the Vietnam National University's University of Economics and Business, Phan Chi Anh, said at a conference last week that the Vietnam's retail sector remained attractive for investments, as he reflected upon booming merger and acquisition (M&A) deals during the past year.

Statistics showed that M&A deals' value in the retail sector last year accounted for 36 percent of the total M&As value with notable deals such as Vingroup buying Ocean Mart, Japanese Aeon Group investing in Citimart and Fivimart and a Thai group buying stakes in Nguyen Kim – an electronics supermarket chain - and Metro Supermarket.

Chi Anh said the establishment of ASEAN Economic Community and the impending Trans-Pacific Partnership would result in domestic retailers facing even more competition as new players from foreign countries enter the sector.

He added that the participation of foreign retailers would not be a threat but is, in fact, a good sign as this would act as a stimulus for the domestic firms to enhance their competitiveness, lest they will be eliminated out of the market. Such a catalysing effect would benefit consumers, he added.

In Vietnam, products on the shelves of retail stores and supermarkets were largely the same, Anh said, urging retailers to focus on quality of service to prove themselves different from the competition.

"Service quality in retail business is a premise for sustainable development as quality decides consumers' loyalty," he said, adding that consumers' loyalty is of utmost importance, given the anticipated competition that is likely to get harsh, especially from foreign giants.

Although the retail industry posted rapid growth in recent years, the service quality levels largely failed to meet customers' expectations. Chi Anh said he expected Vietnamese consumers to raise greater feedback as a pressure tactic, thus forcing retailers to enhance their service quality.

According to Nguyen Thu Ha, the centre's deputy director, to enhance service quality, domestic retailers must improve their interaction with customers, diversify customer approaching methods and respond expeditiously to customers' claims together with appealing sale and customer care policies.

She said the policies to encourage the development of modern retail channels were needed.-VNA