The Great Singapore Sale (GSS) is officially on, with the addition of a mobile app this year to connect shoppers with the best deals.
Some 100 retailers, food and beverage operators, hotels and attractions are offering 47,000 eCoupons on the GoSpree app, an initiative of the Singapore Retailers Association (SRA).
More coupons will be added in the coming weeks.
The GoSpree app may be downloaded for free from the Apple Store and Google Play Store, and will be in use beyond the GSS, which runs until Aug 13.
Deals for GSS include a one-for-one coupon for Levi's 501 jeans, and half off every third item at lifestyle retailer Naiise.
The eCoupons can be downloaded onto smartphones for redemption at stores, while QR codes displayed on shopfronts and merchandise can also be scanned on the app for rewards.
Some retailers will be using the geo-location enabled app to alert nearby shoppers to flash deals.
UnionPay is the official card for GSS for the second year, and cardholders are entitled to exclusive offers.
Speaking at the GSS launch at Paragon Shopping Centre on Friday, SRA president R. Dhinakaran said that it has weathered challenges in recent years including the changing retail landscape, technological advancement and regional competition.
After weak retail sales during last year's GSS period, the SRA had said it would be assessing the future of the annual sale, launched in 1994 and supported by the Singapore Tourism Board.
"The Singapore retail sector, like the broader economy, needs to embrace and adapt to fast emerging technologies. SRA took a lead in this and the unveiling of GoSpree is a fruition of this effort," said Mr Dhinakaran.
The app allows retailers islandwide to come under one platform, but its success is dependent on retailers embracing it, he said.
"GoSpree is here to stay, so I strongly urge all retailers to do our part to put the buzz back into the retail industry, with GoSpree included in your omni-channel marketing plans," he said.
Mr Danny Tan, executive director of Jay Gee Melwani Group, said that Levi's decided to offer a deal on its most iconic jeans model to celebrate the launch of GoSpree. The group manages brands including Levi's and Aldo.
"We believe that the app comes timely during this challenging period for retailers, and especially so since consumers these days are tech-savvy. It also serves as a chance for us to reach out to a different audience pool, and be part of a different way of retailing," said Mr Tan.
Trampoline park Bounce Singapore, located at Cathay Cineleisure, is participating in GSS for the first time and offering a two-for-one eCoupon through GoSpree.
Sales and marketing manager Roland Tan said that while the sale has historically focused on retail and some F&B, there has been limited participation by attractions, particularly in the Orchard Road area.
The GoSpree app caters to younger consumers who may be looking for options beyond food and shopping, which Bounce provides, said Mr Tan.
Festivities at the GSS launch, hosted by OneFM91.3 DJs Glenn Ong and the Flying Dutchman, included a QR code "flash mob" for shoppers to scan for eCoupons.
Student Alyssa Loo, 16, who scanned QR codes which were attached to t-shirts worn by members of the flash mob, said some of the deals such as a free tote bag from T Galleria by DFS, appealed to her.
"I think the app is a smart idea, it's interactive and has a wide range on offer across malls," she said.
Ms Reena Mehrotra, who has been taking advantage of the discounts during GSS for the last 12 years, said that she thought the app was a good idea as it helps to collate deals.
"I'm planning to buy some electronics and shoes, so hopefully I can find some good deals off it," said the 38-year-old teacher.
Teacher Jerome Lee, who downloaded the GoSpree app at the launch, said that he would be browsing it for deals.
Said Mr Lee, 40: "I think it's good that they have attractions also. But it would be good if there were more retailers."
SRA said that it was in discussion with more retailers, with more coming onboard in the coming weeks.
This story was originally published in The Straits Times on June 9, 2017.