Taobao goes offline: The e-retailer opens its first physical store in Southeast Asia at Funan

Photo: Taobao Store by Virmall
Photo: Taobao Store by Virmall

After hosting a brick-and-mortar pop-up at multi-label concept store NomadX last year, Alibaba-owned Taobao has found its permanent physical home at the newly relaunched Funan mall. Done up in partnership with Virmall, this store marks the online retailer’s first of its kind in Southeast Asia.

Photos: Coconuts Media
Photos: Coconuts Media

Spanning 6,000 sq ft and carrying about 300 items, the basement space consists of six little nooks, each with decorative knick knacks and furniture on display. Most of the goods are of the home and living variety, so you can see for yourself what the household items, kitchen appliances, textiles, cutlery, and furnishings look and feel like before you make a purchase.

Plus, the range will be refreshed on a regular basis, depending on what’s trending on Taobao, so you won’t have to worry about going out of style.

Photos: Coconuts Media
Photos: Coconuts Media

Here, you can easily buy a product by scanning its QR code and selecting your choice of color, design, and size. Payment is made via the Taobao app, and items can either be picked up at the shop or delivered to your home (for bulkier goods). Even if you’re not familiar with the Chinese app interface, you can always shout out for help from the store’s assistants.

Photo: Taobao Store by Virmall
Photo: Taobao Store by Virmall

Oh, and if you’re having trouble visualizing how something will look in your home, try the complimentary virtual reality service, which allows you to input measurements and upload a blueprint of your place. The interactive, digital display also lets you move furniture pieces around to design a mock-up to your liking.

To entice shoppers even further, the store will offer flash deals from $3.90 for its opening weekend (Sept 7-8), plus more discounts and credit card offers from Sept 9-10.

Photos: Coconuts Media
Photos: Coconuts Media

Looks like the future of retail could be a mix of online and offline shopping.


Taobao Store by Virmall is at #B2-01 to 04 & #B2-34 to 36 Funan Mall.
Daily 10am-10pm.

MRT: City Hall

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