Interview with David Low, CEO of Futuristic Store Fixtures
Futuristic Store Fixtures is a store fixtures specialist serving global retail clients. At present, the company has more than 700 employees globally and has rolled out more than 7,000 retail stores across 56 countries, with the store size ranging from 1,000-40,000 square feet.
Mr. Low, as an international store fixtures specialist you serve top branded retailers. Can you give us some examples of the brands you are serving and what specific needs there were to consider?
David Low: For the last 15 years, we have been serving the core brands under US retail giant Limited Brands with proven results across the World – these include Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works, PINK, and La Senza. In recent years we have also aggressively expanded to other leading global brands like Starbucks, Yves Rocher and Levi’s, across both Retail and F&B sectors in Asia. In addition, we are also serving top Chinese brands like Urban Revivo in China now. We see tremendous opportunities for brands expanding in the Asia Pacific market and see ourselves a good fit to be their strategic partner in the region.
To us, customer engagement and satisfaction is of paramount importance. We consistently strive to understand our customers’ needs, so as to review our model, methodology and cost structure to support their regional growth.
In addition, our prefabricated modularized system of producing store fixtures allows our customers to have consistent design, quality and economies of scale across their regional roll-out. Furthermore, with our production facilities strategically located across China, Malaysia and North America, we are able to deliver within a short turnaround time to major roll-out markets, especially in Asia Pacific.
From your perspective what are the most important trends in shop fitting globally, what materials are the most requested in store design and are there differences between the countries?
To start with, there is significant difference in shopfitting style between the West and the East. Western brands are very familiar with our prefabricated knock-down approach; while Asian brands tend to fit out store by store. Over in Asia, we frequently share with our customers that with a reasonable forecast, our model will be a wiser choice to ensure design and brand consistency as well as economies of scale in the long run.
In addition, Asian customers also prefer turnkey services, rather than just store fixtures alone. We have since incorporating a General Contracting arm, Futuristic Projects, which is our wholly own subsidiary, to complement our offerings so as to be able to offer holistic retail fit-out solutions to our customers.
How does the growing E-Commerce influence brick-and-mortar retail, e.g. how can technology-based services be integrated and on the other hand what impact can classical retail have on online sales?
E-Commerce has definitely impacted brick and mortar retail to a certain extent, but retailers, especially those with a strong offline-to-online strategy, are quickly bouncing back with new offerings, such as experiential customer experience and mobile ordering etc. Classical retail will continue to enhance the brand positioning and market reach for retailers nonetheless. Futuristic’s strategy is then to work with these strong retail brands and continue to be their pillar of support for physical roll-out.
What major trends do you see in retail globally and what are your plans for the next 5 to 10 years?
Retail will continue to evolve with digital technologies, creating more experiential customer experiences, shortening of supply chain and any other creative & innovative offerings in every way you can think of. Futuristic will consistently improve ourselves to adapt to the changes – by digital adoption, process improvement to increase productivity, investment in our people, and expansion of our suite of offerings so as to serve holistic needs of our customers in all ways.
You achieved the “Best-Stand-Award” at C-star in 2017 for your excellent presentation. We are looking forward to your stand at the upcoming C-star. Thank you for the interview.
Bio of Mr David Low
David Low Chor Hoon is the Group Chief Executive Officer & Founder of Futuristic Store Fixtures Pte Ltd and has a PhD (Hon) in Philosophy (Business Administration), awarded to him by the University of Honolulu, USA.
Having started out in the contracting business in 1979, David has over time developed, steered and transformed Futuristic Store Fixtures into a highly scalable mass-production fixtures outfit, servicing international customers across various retail sectors, including many global renowned brand names in lingerie, fashion & apparel, beauty care & cosmetics, sporting goods, furnishing and the telco industries.
During the over three decades of helming the company, that has included his taking the company public, convincing new investors with his new strategic changes and then taking it private again, David’s quest was to perfect the art of retail store fixtures and this has brought Futuristic to an even wider global stage. Futuristic has since supplied to more than 7,000 retail stores, across over 56 countries, worldwide.
Under his leadership, Futuristic Store Fixtures was selected as one of Singapore’s Top 50 Enterprises in 2001 while David himself was awarded Top Entrepreneur 2011 by Rotary-ASME and EY’s Entrepreneur of 2016 (Manufacturing Supply Chain) by Ernst & Young. He also clinched the EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 award and represented Singapore at the EY’s World Entrepreneur 2017 competition.
While David continues to run Futuristic as a dynamic international company, with an attitude of constant innovation and evolvement, he is also a firm believer in lifelong learning and change in order for Futuristic to remain relevant in today’s constantly uncertain economy. He endeavours to keep sharing his vast experience and perspectives with people around him and to also benefit the younger generations.