21 November 2017

Shoppers want more retail tech

Source: Zebra infographic. Nearly two-thirds of Europe and Middle East respondents said customer service affected how much they buy, while nearly a third of Asia Pacific respondents want to pick up their purchases in a physical store.
Source: Zebra infographic. Nearly two-thirds of Europe and Middle East respondents said customer service affected how much they buy, while nearly a third of Asia Pacific respondents want to pick up their purchases in a physical store.
  • Rising shopper expectations continue to outpace retailer in-store technology investments.
  • Retail customers want a variety of fulfillment options. 
  • More than half of shoppers in Asia Pacific and Europe and the Middle East are interested in Wi-Fi and location-based in-store services such as mobile coupons. 
  • In Asia Pacific, 32% of shoppers would prefer to go to a retail store to pick up items purchased online or through mobile channels.

Zebra Technologies Corporation, the maker of rugged mobile computers, barcode scanners and barcode printers, has released the 10th edition of its Retail Shopper Study, which analyses shopper satisfaction and retail technology adoption trends. Nearly 7,500 shoppers from North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East were interviewed in September 2017.

According to the study, rising shopper expectations continue to outpace retailer in-store technology investments as 53% of Millennial shoppers perceive that they are more connected than store associates - compared to 32% of Gen X shoppers and 15% of Boomer shoppers. The research also revealed that while 44% of surveyed shoppers are still not satisfied with staff availability and customer service, overall shopper satisfaction has significantly improved since the study’s inception a decade ago.

Retail customers said they wanted a variety of fulfillment options. Eight in 10 of those surveyed purchase items in-store and either take them home or ship from store to home. Shoppers are also taking advantage of other fulfillment options, such as buy online, then ship to home (64%), buy online, then pick up in-store (34%) and buy online, then ship to an alternative location (15%). In Asia Pacific, 32% of shoppers would prefer to go to a retail store to pick up items purchased online or through mobile channels. 

The use of tablets in stores is improving the shopper experience. More than half of surveyed shoppers believe technology is improving the shopping experience with 57% specifically citing store associates using tablets.

Out-of-stocks are a retail challenge. When shopping in-store, 70% of shoppers have left without purchasing what they were seeking. However, when it comes to out-of-stock issues, retailers can recover six in 10 incidents with discounts or alternative fulfillment options, such as ship-to-home.
More than half of shoppers in Asia Pacific, as well as in Europe and the Middle East, are interested in Wi-Fi and location-based in-store services such as mobile coupons. 

Ryan Goh, VP and GM, Zebra Technologies, Asia Pacific said, “Technology is accelerating the transformation happening in the retail industry in Asia Pacific. Beyond e-commerce, retailers are increasingly recognising the importance of becoming omnichannel. The rising expectations from customers are also driving the technology investment and deployment in the industry."

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20 November 2017

Holidays at the Black Sheep Restaurants, Hong Kong

Celebrate the festive season in style with the Black Sheep restaurants in Hong Kong:

Carbone

Expect hearty dishes at this New York-Italian institution, such as a rosemary-tinged 40oz Prime Porterhouse. To ring in 2018 in opulence, have an early dinner (6pm-8:45pm) to kick off the evening, or experience the New Year’s Eve edition of The Fiasco, a mob-inspired dinner theatre from 9pm-1am (HK$1,500).

Details: 
Carbone is at 9/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham St, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2593 2593
Reserve a table at thefiasco@carbone.com.hk

Source: Black Sheep Restaurants. The Fiasco at the Carbone.
Source: Black Sheep Restaurants. The Fiasco at the Carbone.

Favourites at this Argentine steakhouse include Pure Black Angus steaks from the pampas’ General Pico range. Festive brunches include a towering seafood station and a showstopping prime rib on Christmas Day. On New Year‘s Eve, celebrate with dinner (HK$688 per person, from 7pm), segueing into a special edition of the Buenos Aires Rock Club for a kicking start to 2018. Tickets are available in advance (HK$588, from 10pm) and include three hours of free-flow.

Details:

The Buenos Aires Polo Club is at 7/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham St, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2321 8681
Reserve a table at reservations@bapoloclub.com

Source: Black Sheep Restaurants. Buenos Aires Polo Club serves seafood too.
Source: Black Sheep Restaurants. Buenos Aires Polo Club serves seafood too.
BELON’s French-rooted yet locally-inspired dishes will feature in Chef Daniel Calvert’s tailored menus for lunch and dinner on Christmas Day (HK$458 and HK$788 per person respectively).

BELON celebrates New Year’s Eve with a tasting menu inclusive of a toast as the clock strikes midnight (HK$888 per person, ala carte options are also available). 

Details:

BELON is at 41 Elgin St, SoHo, Hong Kong
+852 2152 2872
Reserve a table at info@belonsoho.com

Source: Black Sheep Restaurants. Pigeon pithivier. A pithivier is a tart with an almond filling.
Source: Black Sheep Restaurants. Pigeon pithivier. A pithivier is a tart with an almond filling.


Get American comfort classics galore at the Burger Circus. Limited editions for November include pumpkin pie slices (HK$58) topped with whipped cream and whole pies (HK$188). A pumpkin spice milkshake (HK$78) in available in November while Christmassy concoctions (HK$78) for December include peppermint-laced house-churned gelato as well as "naughtier" versions. 

Black Sheep Restaurants Delivery will bring the menu to the office throughout the holiday period. 

Details:

Burger Circus is at 22 Hollywood Rd, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2878 7787
Reserve a table at info@burgercircus.com.hk

Source: Black Sheep Restaurants. Meal at the Burger Circus.
Source: Black Sheep Restaurants. Meal at the Burger Circus.

Stay warm with oozing mozzarella, pillowy crusts and the rich San Marzano tomato sauce at Motorino. Pizza-making parties offer a hands-on holiday activity for the office (from HK$198 per person, minimum four per class). 

Motorino also delivers throughout the holidays.
Details:

Motorino has two outlets, at 14 Shelley St, SoHo, and at 15 Ship St, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
+852 2801 6881 (SoHo), +852 2520 0690 (Wan Chai)
Reserve a table at info@motorino.com.hk

There will be two seatings on New Year’s Eve for dinner at this funky Chinese kitchen. The early dinner seating from 5-7pm (HK$588 per person) while the late seating from 8pm ends up with a
night of partying. Karaoke revelry begins at 10:30pm and is set in 1995, complemented by three hours of free-flow (HK$1,118 inclusive of dinner, karaoke ticket and free-flow, or HK$628 for karaoke and free-flow, both inclusive of service charge)

Details:

Ho Lee Fook is at 1-5 Elgin St, SoHo, Hong Kong
+852 2810 0860
Reserve a table at info@holeefook.com.hk

Source: Black Sheep Restaurants. Stirfried dishes at the Ho Lee Fook.
Source: Black Sheep Restaurants. Stirfried dishes at the Ho Lee Fook.

Chic Parisian brasserie Le Garçon Saigon lighten the traditional roast with Vietnamese flair. Le Garçon Saigon celebrates New Year’s Eve with Chef Bao La’s le festin de nouvel an (HK$528 per person, from 6pm) that presents a slow roasted te mana lamb neck alongside other highlights. As the night proceeds, tables will be moved aside to uncover the dancefloor. A midnight toast heralds the start of 2018.

Details:

Le Garçon Saigon is at 12 Wing Fung St, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
+852 2455 2499
Reserve a table at info@legarconsaigon.com

This tavern-inspired venue serves specialty coffee and panettone (HK$58). The traditional fruit-spiked Italian cake is available whole (HK$258)

Details:

Stazione Novella is at 52-56 Staunton St, SoHo, Hong Kong
+852 2559 0559
Reserve a table at info@stazionenovella.com


A 1960s Beirut-inspired Lebanese canteen, Maison Libanaise will serve Middle Eastern choices like the chargrilled prime beef striploin laham mishwe (HK$238). House-blended spices and specialty jams (from HK$78) are also available.

Details:

Maison Libanaise is at 10 Shelley St, SoHo, Hong Kong
+852 2111 2284
Reserve a table at info@maisonlibanaise.com.hk


Think USDA prime ribeye and golden frites, plus two holiday patisserie additions: bûche de
Noël (HK$108) - whipped cream and fresh berries rolled in layers of chocolate cake - and a
caramel-glazed, crème anglaise-stuffed croque-en-bouche (HK$108).

On New Year’s Eve La Vache! brings diners a special edition Le Disco New Year’s Brunch. The brunch becomes an all-day non-stop disco, with free-flow and unlimited steak frites, and a live DJ spinning through to the early hours (tickets for each two-hour seating at HK$688 from 1pm and
HK$788 from 8pm with a midnight toast respectively).

Details:

La Vache! is at 48 Peel Street, SoHo, Hong Kong
+852 2880 0248
Reserve a table at info@lavache.com.hk

Located in The Fleming hotel, Osteria Marzia’s offers a colourful menu of bright, fresh dishes. Chef Luca Marinelli’s Coastal Italian New Year’s Eve Menu (HK$888 per person, from 6pm) is filled with regionally-driven options, from freshly-shucked oysters to Spaghetti Ricci, an uni pasta that stars both Japanese and Italian varieties.

Details:

Osteria Marzia is at G/F, The Fleming, 41 Fleming Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
+852 3607 2253
Reserve a table at reservations@osteriamarzia.com.hk


Note: a 10% service charge applies to all prices unless otherwise stated.

True Colours Festival presents performances from talented artistes with disabilities

True Colours Festival, presenting talented performing artistes with disabilities in the Asia Pacific region, will take place from 22-25 March 2018 in Singapore.

Up to 20 performing artistes/troupes from Japan, China, India, Korea, Malaysia, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Australia and Singapore, plus guest artistes from the UK and Canada, will perform at a multimedia concert experience at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and at the accompanying True Colours Festival Village, a short walk from the concert venue.

True Colours Festival also includes the Arts and Disabilities International Conference 2018, a one-and-a-half day event for professionals and practitioners in the field.

More details including a confirmed lineup of the artistes will be announced in early January 2018.

True Colours is presented by UNESCO and The Nippon Foundation, and produced by Very Special Arts Singapore. 

Details:

Tickets are priced at S$30 with concessions and discounts. An inclusive seating arrangement will be introduced to allow wheelchair users to enjoy the concert experience seated together with their family members and friends.

Tickets cost S$30 each and will go on sale from 11 January 2018.

DebtorsWatch aggregates information on bad payments in India

DebtorsWatch is India's first online platform for reporting trade defaults. The web-based interactive portal helps businesses report late payments, trade defaults, perform credit checks and monitor a customer's credit-worthiness. The data can also help registered members in performing due diligence checks.

CA Deepanjan Periwal, the founder of Debtors Watch says, "In countries like US, UK, Australia, credit tracking is a very common phenomenon to check the creditworthiness of a person based on the historical payment performance. In India, things are not transparent enough. Shrewd debtors were keeping the market in dark and eloping away after completing the cycle of debt sufficiency.

"We, at DebtorsWatch, are targeted towards introducing a transparency in the market where we are inviting people, by giving them an additional hand to recover money."

Businesses can report bad debts by uploading documents supporting their claim. On reporting a default the portal sends a series of email and text reminders to debtors asking them to clear their dues. Failure to do so result in a default being registered on the platform. The portal also allows customers to respond to the defaults reported against them.

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12 November 2017

Emirates unveils new interiors for its Boeing 777 fleet

· Fully-enclosed private suites in First Class inspired by Mercedes-Benz

· Completely refreshed look across all cabins

Source: Emirates. A fully-enclosed First Class private suite with the seat in the zero gravity position.
Source: Emirates. A fully-enclosed First Class private suite with the seat in the zero gravity position.

Emirates has unveiled refreshed interiors for its Boeing 777 aircraft in a multimillion dollar upgrade that includes newly-designed seats and upgraded inflight entertainment systems in all cabins.

Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said at the time: “The inflight experience is the heart of our brand and service proposition. The new 777 interiors that we are unveiling today is part of Emirates’ ongoing investment to continually raise the bar and exceed our customers’ expectations. Aside from our new fully-enclosed private suites, Business Class features our latest fully-flat leather seats with personal minibars, Economy Class seats have adjustable full leather headrests, and the inflight entertainment system has been upgraded for all cabin classes.

"Throughout the aircraft, our customers will see modern and airy cabins, with painstaking attention to detail evident in design touches such as the textured wall and ceiling panels, lighting features, and more.”

The new Emirates 777 First Class cabin interior uses a new colour palette of soft greys, cream and champagne, conveying a contemporary, open and airy feel, with timeless luxury. Created in collaboration with Boeing, Rockwell Collins interior systems, Panasonic, Jacques Pierre Jean Design studio and US-based design firm Teague, the new First Class private suites have floor-to-ceiling sliding doors and offer up to 40 sq ft of personal space each. 

The Emirates collaboration with Mercedes-Benz S-Class has inspired several design details for the fully-enclosed private suites, which are laid out in a 1-1-1 configuration. These include soft leather seating, high-tech control panels, and mood lighting. There is ample storage within the suite including an overhead compartment, and a full-length cupboard for hanging clothes. 

Emirates has retained and updated the most popular features of its private suites such as: the personal mini bar for drinks and snacks within each suite, and wireless controls to adjust seating positions, as well as to navigate Emirates inflight entertainment system ice. Customers can view over 2,500 channels of on-demand entertainment on a 32-inch Full HD LCD TV screen, or project content from their own devices. The viewing experience is now enhanced with brand new Bowers & Wilkins Active Noise Cancelling E1 headphones created exclusively for Emirates. These headphones were designed by audio brand Bowers & Wilkins to ensure the sound is optimised for the First Class cabin environment. 

The soft leather seat reclines into a fully flat bed and can be placed in a “zero-gravity” position inspired by NASA technology, giving a feeling of relaxation and weightlessness. The suites also have ample space for passengers to change in the privacy of their suites even after the bed has been made.

To ensure all First Class customers have a view, Emirates is introducing the industry’s first virtual windows for suites located in the middle aisle. These virtual windows project the view from outside the aircraft using real time camera technology. In the other suites, binoculars are available for customers who want to explore the sky outside their windows.

Passengers can easily communicate with the cabin crew, or request for room service using the video call function. The suites also come with a service window where customers can be served drinks and canapes undisturbed. As with any Emirates flight, First Class customers can enjoy dine on-demand service, with cuisine prepared by gourmet chefs.

Each suite is also fitted with an inspiration kit which features a luxury Byredo skincare collection found only on Emirates, Hydra Active moisturising pyjamas, and Bulgari amenities. 

Emirates and Mercedes-Benz have extended their partnership to provide a fleet of the S-Class cars as part of its complimentary Chauffeur-drive service. Emirates First Class passengers arriving or departing in the UAE will enjoy a seamless journey from aircraft to home, and vice versa, in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class car.

Clark said: “Emirates pioneered the First Class private suite concept back in 2003, and today it’s the industry benchmark when it comes to first class travel. Over the years we have continually improved on our private suites, adding thoughtful refinements and features.

"We are very excited about our new fully-enclosed suite which is a real game-changer in terms of privacy, comfort, and thoughtful luxury. This is the first time an Emirates product has been so influenced by another luxury brand, but it is a natural fit as both Emirates and Mercedes-Benz have the same unwavering commitment to fine detail, uncompromising quality, and a drive to push the boundaries.” 

The entire Emirates 777 aircraft sports a refreshed interior with a light and modern colour scheme, classy textured panels, as well as new lighting and design accents. 

An artistic motif representing the ghaf (prosopis cineraria) tree, is used as a design highlight throughout the aircraft. An indigenous evergreen plant, the ghaf is a considered the national tree of the United Arab Emirates, and has deep cultural and ecological significance. 

The design and shape of Emirates’ Business Class seat onboard the new 777 was also inspired by the interior of a modern sports car, with a diamond stitch pattern on the full leather cover, ergonomically designed headrest, and a sleek overall look and feel.

The seat has a pitch of 72" and moves into a fully-flat sleeping position. It also has touchscreen controls for the seat and inflight entertainment system, several personal lighting options, privacy panels between seats, a shoe stowage area, footrest, and a personal minibar.

The Economy Class cabin features a colour palette of soft greys and blues. The ergonomically designed seats come with full leather headrests that have flexible side panels and can also be adjusted vertically for optimum support.

All cabin classes will be equipped with a new generation of Emirates’ ice inflight entertainment system offering improved image quality. Each in-seat screen will feature ultrawide viewing angles, a capacitive touch screen, LED backlight and full HD display.

Details:

The latest Emirates 777 aircraft with the new features will enter commercial service on 1 December, 2017 in Europe.

11 November 2017

Hotel Jen Tanglin's festive takeaways and buffets

Source: Hotel Jen Tanglin. The Fully-Loaded Turkey takeaway meal, Asian style, consists of an Asian roasted turkey – percik style, plus Asian trimmings. It serves 10-12 people.
Source: Hotel Jen Tanglin. The Fully-Loaded Turkey takeaway meal, Asian style, consists of an Asian roasted turkey – percik style, plus Asian trimmings. It serves 10-12 people.

Fruit and cheese board at a media briefing introducing foods from the Festive International Buffet.
Fruit and cheese board at a media
briefing introducing foods from the
Festive Seafood Buffet.
Hotel Jen Tanglin’s Fully-Loaded festive takeaway meal is now back by popular demand. Fully-Loaded is a whole roasted turkey packed in a thermal bag, together with all the trimmings, ready to serve a party of 10 to 12 people.

"Our chefs have created the Jen’s Asian roasted turkey – percik style* to give everyone the best of both worlds for this festive season; a Western roasted turkey to keep with tradition and the percik for that unique Asian experience. One could order both for larger gatherings and give everyone both flavours to enjoy,” said Vathsala Subramaniam, GM, Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore.

The hotel is also hosting a Festive Seafood Buffet at specialty seafood buffet restaurant J65 as part of the year-end season. J65 will showcase servings of snow crab on ice, seafood Thermidor, grilled baby lobster infused with tarragon butter, whole baked Norwegian salmon and Singapore chilli crab. Look out for other festive items, including turkeys, slow roasted prime rib beef and festive desserts.

Fine de Claire** oysters, Boston lobsters and tandoori turkey will be served on Fridays to Sundays only.

Source: Hotel Jen Tanglin. Christmas desserts from the J65 Festive Seafood Buffet.
Source: Hotel Jen Tanglin. Christmas desserts from the J65 Festive Seafood Buffet.

Highlights of the Festive Seafood Buffet were showcased canape-style at a media briefing, including:

Prawns on salad.
Prawns on salad.

Desserts (from left) included a green tea cheese pyramid, fruit-based jelly, lemon meringue, and a raspberry mousse.
Desserts (from left) included a green tea cheese pyramid, fruit-based jelly, lemon meringue, and a raspberry mousse.

Miniature ang koo kueh (left) and assorted Nyonya kueh (desserts) on the right.
Miniature ang koo kueh (left) and assorted Nyonya kueh (desserts) on the right.

From left: lobster Thermidor, crispy soft shell crab with Singapore chilli crab sauce and mantou (steamed bun), cabbage roulade with chicken and mushroom stuffing, shepherd's pie, salted egg prawn tossed in curry leaves, turkey tikka glazed with mint and yoghurt chutney.
From left: lobster Thermidor, crispy soft shell crab with Singapore chilli crab sauce and mantou (steamed bun), cabbage roulade with chicken and mushroom stuffing, shepherd's pie, salted egg prawn tossed in curry leaves, turkey tikka glazed with mint and yoghurt chutney.

Black Angus prime beef rib.
Black Angus prime beef rib.

Bite-sized portions of the percik roasted turkey.
Bite-sized portions of the percik roasted turkey.

Starters included Norwegian smoked salmon, Hungarian paprika chicken, air dried Black Forest beef, and beef salami.
Starters included Norwegian smoked salmon, Hungarian paprika chicken, air dried Black Forest beef, and beef salami. 

Details:

Jen’s Fully Loaded Turkey, both Western and Asian versions, are available at S$218+ till December 31 2017.

The western version includes a roasted turkey (5-6kg) plus:

 Mixed meat with apple and chestnut stuffing
 Roasted potatoes
 Slow braised Brussels sprouts
 Braised red cabbage
 Maple glazed chestnuts
 Seasonal vegetables with garlic butter
 Three sauces: giblet truffle, brown, and cranberry

Jen’s Asian roasted turkey – percik style includes a percik roasted turkey (5-6kg) plus:

  Prawn and mango kerabu (noodle salad), peanuts, and Asian greens
 Crab claws in Ah Hoi’s signature chili crab sauce
 Asian festive stuffing - meat with onions, ginger, garlic and dried apricots
 Seasonal vegetables with garlic butter
 Golden crabmeat fried rice, corn and scallions
 Chilled mango soup with pearl sago, pomelo, lime, and gula Melaka

The whole turkey, Western style with just the giblet truffle and cranberry sauces is also available at S$118+.

Takeaway desserts include the homemade Christmas apple pie - S$45+, and the chocolate log cake, S$65+.

The Festive Seafood Buffet is available till December 30, excluding the dates below, at the following times:

Lunch: 12-2.30pm, S$31++
Sunday brunch, 12-3pm, S$55++
Dinner, Sundays to Thursdays, 6–10pm, S$75++
Dinners, Fridays to Saturdays, 6–10pm, S$85++

Christmas / New Year Eve Buffet Brunch24 December 2017, 31 December 2017 / S$55++
12–3pm

Christmas / New Year Eve Buffet Dinner
24 December 2017, 31 December 2017 / S$98++
6–10pm

Christmas Day / New Year's Day Buffet Brunch
25 December 2017, 1 January 2018 / S$98++
12–3pm

Christmas Day / New Year's Day Buffet Dinner
25 December 2017, 1 January 2018 / S$75++
6–9.30pm

Make an online reservation. Enjoy a 15% discount on buffet lunches from Monday to Saturday, and a 20% discount on Sunday brunch and 25% discount on dinner. This promotion is valid till 31 December 2017. It is not applicable on the eves of public holidays or on public holidays.

Golden Circle members: Golden Circle members enjoy extra 5% off when reward points are used to settle the bill.

Explore:

Read the WorkSmart Asia blog post about Hotel Jen's new room service robots

*Percik recipes typically marinate the chicken in various spices before roasting it.

**Fine de Claire oysters come from France and are considered leaner but juicier than other oysters. Prior to harvesting these oysters are placed in shallow rectangular salt pools called 'claires' for a specific amount of time. The flavour of the oysters is influenced by the type of water and the phytoplankton in the claires.