Staying relevant with low prices

  • SMEBiz
  • Tuesday, 24 Oct 2017

With more than 90 stores across Malaysia, O’Conner is confident of meeting consumers’ needs.

WHEN Courts from Britain opened its first store in Johor Baru in 1987, it had one mission: to offer a wide range of aspirational home products at affordable prices.

Keeping to this promise, Courts has never strayed from its goal. Despite challenging times and evolving market demands, it has continued serving Malaysians with competitive products at attractive prices.

Fast forward 30 years, Courts’ unwavering commitment continues to captivate the hearts of Malaysians and it is now a leading furniture, IT, electrical and home appliances retailer.

Courts Asia Ltd group chief executive officer Terry O’Conner, who has been with Courts since 1993, said that one thing he has learned is that “you do not have to be the biggest on day one”.

“Courts, in the early days, was predominantly known as just a furniture retailer from Britain. Over the years, we have evolved to offer not only furniture, but also IT, electrical and home appliances.

“It is all about taking bite-size pieces. Being good at one thing before taking up another, learning from it, and then becoming more adventurous and taking up another.

“In other words, don’t bite off more than you can chew,” he said.

O’Conner explained how Courts grew in the Malaysian market to become the trusted one-stop shopping destination it is today.

“After having established ourselves in Johor Baru, we decided to penetrate the wider market in Kuala Lumpur. In 1994, we opened our flagship store, which occupied over 6,503sq m of retail space in Setapak.

“We received overwhelming response from consumers in the Klang Valley and went on to open more stores. We have done well progressively with our furniture component, but it was a challenge when electronics and digital gadgets became a huge hit.

“After strategising and planning, we realised the only way to move forward with the trend and demand and to stay relevant to our customers was to adapt and evolve. As such, we introduced our IT, electrical and home appliances component nine years ago.

“Currently, there are 71 Courts stores nationwide, including two new stores in Keningau and Semporna in Sabah,” he shared.

To stay relevant to Malaysia’s growing culture of shopping online, Courts has also introduced its e-commerce platform.

“Directionally, we are looking at how we can offer more technology services and solutions.

In a world of increased consumer choices and expectations, customers want flexibility, convenience and immediacy throughout the online shopping experience.

“We want to provide an end-to-end solution from search to purchase and from delivery to installation, returns and customer services,” O’Conner explained.

As customers’ demands become stronger, Courts has also done numerous refurbishments and upgrades while keeping its prices low.

“At Courts, we want our customers to buy with confidence and at the best price. Many people equate low prices with low quality products, which is not true.

“Consumers can rest assured that they are getting genuine products at a good deal,” he said.

In conjunction with Courts Malaysia’s 30th anniversary celebration, O’Conner said this year would be a nostalgic one.

“We would not be here today without the support of our customers. This year, not only do we want to focus on giving the best we have to offer, we also want to build an emotional connection with them to reflect how much we have grown, thanks to their support.

“Together with our local brand ambassador and comedian Harith Iskander, we hope to further connect with our customers,” he said.

Since 2014, Courts Malaysia has been partnering with iM4U in one of its efforts to give back to society.

Together, more than RM700,000 worth of home furniture and essentials have been given to needy communities including the elderly, the disabled, children and schools.

Moving forward, O’Conner expects the market to continue being soft, but promised that Courts would not skimp on what adds value to its customers’ shopping experience.

“We look at how we can re-engineer our supply chain, restructure, manage our suppliers and how we can operate in the long haul while protecting our margins. Either way, our customers’ satisfaction is our main priority,” he added.

Currently, Courts has more than 90 stores across Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia with over 157,935sq m of retail space in total.

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