Doing business with a purpose

How SM Supermalls gears up for the economy’s reopening in the new normal

For several months now, a lot of Filipinos might have missed going to malls when the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused a lockdown around the country, albeit supermarkets and pharmacies remained open for customers.

For Steven T. Tan, president of SM Supermalls, its malls have continued servicing customers in spite of the limited operations. “It’s really to provide convenience for our customers. It’s not really to take the opportunity to earn money,” Mr. Tan told BusinessWorld in a virtual interview.

Furthermore, SM Supermalls has taken advantage of the uptrends in digital and delivery services as another way of serving customers.

Mr. Tan took notice of the group’s Viber community, where users can be updated on SM Supermall’s latest offerings, after whiHow SM Supermalls gears up for economy’s reopening in the new normal they can directly contact tenants and have their orders delivered.

SM Supermalls also has personal shopper assistants. Customers can call the concierge of one of the malls and tell them the items they need or want to buy. The customer service will then look for those items and get back at customers to confirm the items and arrange for the delivery.

“I think this is also the new norm,” Mr. Tan said. “Delivery service is something that we have been working and we kept on improving.”

Now, as SM Supermalls opens most of its malls around the country in the ‘new normal’, the group is diligently ensuring that customers will feel safe when they enter one of their malls.

“Even outside, we have drawn lines on the floor to make sure that when you’re queueing in, you are guided on how to do safe distancing,” Mr. Tan explained. “Upon entering the mall, there would be thermal scanning, and then you will have hand sanitizing, and after that, you have a foot bath at the very least.”

Also, safety protocol officers are present to give direction to customers and remind them to follow the protocols.

To enhance social distancing in its malls, there are arrows and markings on the floor which will lead customers to which direction they should walk. Moreover, the malls’ atriums are converted into designated dining areas for mall-goers to buy food and dine-in safely.

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