8 expert tips on adding Shopping to a MICE itinerary in Singapore
by Aanchal Dhawan Industry Watch | March 31, 2015 | News
For a city that eats, breathes and sleeps shopping, we list 8 valuable tips that charter the unknown and unique shopping experiences that Singapore has to offer and are bound to uplift any MICE itinerary.
Tip 1: Integrate a unique cultural shopping experience for the group as part of the shopping expedition.
The first thing that strikes you about Singapore is its multi-cultural communities, hence make sure your group explores the opportunity to shop for ethnic products! If your group comprises tea lovers, they have a reason to rejoice! Tea Chapter at Chinatown houses 40 different varieties of Chinese tea as well as tea-making sets. And who better to add a stamp of approval than Queen Elizabeth II herself, who engaged in some tea appreciation here in 1989! Oh but if you don't care much about tea, just roam around the numerous street stalls stocking colorful Chinese souvenirs and traditional Cheongsams that are bound to make your Singapore experience a memorable one!
If your group wants to purchase exquisite Persian rugs and textiles or just soak in the Middle-Eastern vibe, head straight to the quaint pocket-sized boutiques that line Kampong Glam. Also known as the “Arab Quarter”, the area boasts of an infectious artistic vibe that will make your shopping experience memorable! Create your own Chanel No. 5 with traditional oils, pick up some semi-precious gems or tailor a traditional Batik Shirt that will make for a great conversation starter at your next business meeting!
Tip 2: When pressed for time, choose a hotel easily accessible to the shopping haunts the city has to offer!
Don’t wish to flit from one place to another and at the same time wish for a steady stream of entertainment from the comfort zone of your hotel? Check yourself in one of the numerous hotels connected to malls and convention centers.
The Fairmont Singapore and Swissotel the Stamford enjoy easy access to the Raffles City Convention Centre that poses as the ideal meetings venue. Post your hectic meetings, head to the fashion-forward Raffles City offering a host of shopping delights to excite you! Or book yourself a room at the InterContinental Singapore which is adjoining the Bugis Junction Shopping Mall and the Bugis MRT Station providing easy access to the city’s iconic spots.
Or simply hop from the Suntec City Convention Centre post your meetings straight to the drool-worthy Suntec City Mall! The best part about malls connected with hotels is that you need not fret about carrying those heavy shopping bags for long!
Tip 3: Endless options for delegates’ most favourite items: Gadgets!
If your group comprises gadget freaks, then Singapore will surpass all your expectations! An electronics paradise, Singapore has garnered praise for selling some of the best and cheapest electronic goods in Southeast Asia. While the Funan DigitalLife Mall offers hard-to-find gaming merchandise, the 24-hour open Mustafa offers the most competitive prices hands down! The city’s local brand Challenger boasts of a wide range of electronics due to its tie ups with global brands.
A host of shows like the IT Show, COMEX and SITEX, also a launching ground for new products of big technology companies, offer discounted electronic goods and many freebies like mobile accessories and value add-ons for your purchases that are bound to excite the IT geek!
Tip 4: Tourist privileges: Nothing spells satisfaction like discounts and refunds!
Make sure to take full advantage of being a business tourist and look out for shops that show the ‘GST Refund’ sign! As a tourist, you are entitled to claim a tax refund if you purchase in excess of SG $100 at any shop participating in the GST Refund Scheme. DO NOT forget to fill up the relevant forms and get them stamped at these shops and lastly ensure you claim your GST refund before checking-in at the airport! Another great tourist privilege is the Singapore City Pass which offers some fantastic discounts on Singapore’s prime attractions!
Tip 5: Take home a part of ‘YourSingapore’ as a keepsake…
Make sure your group soaks in the local offerings and takes a bit of Singapore back home. The fashion conscious can put their best (and most stylish) foot forward clad in Ong Shunmugam’s beautifully-weaved drapes. Want to experience the best of local fashion and interior design talent in one place? The KEEPERS: Singapore Designer Collective is a showcase of over 50 local Singaporean designers and artisans bound to excite the shopper within you!
If you’d like to capture your time spent in Singapore forever, then what better than to invest in one of the non-conformist and revolutionary watches by Red Army. And sip on one of the hundreds of tea varieties offered by TWG Tea while you’re reminiscing about Singapore.
The cake lovers must stroll over to Bengawan Solo, to partake in some quality indulgences. Feast on the delectable cookies, tarts and pastries that’ll transport you to a state of food-coma! The strictly vegetarian traveler can heave a sigh of relief as the products here are labeled vegetarian or non-vegetarian ensuring no confusion with regards to its ingredients!
Tip 6: Last minute duty-free shopping for the packed MICE itinerary
Time to take the flight back home and feel that all those meetings deprived you of your shopping time? DO NOT FRET! Pick up some fabulous duty-free bargains at Changi Airport before take-off. With over 300 outlets, the airport caters to your EVERY NEED! Stock up on Singaporean memorabilia such as Bengawan Solo’s Pandan Chiffon Cake and last-minute indulgences from global brands like Omega and Tiffany’s.
If you are really in a rush, you can even purchase your items online at iShopChangi and pick up your items just before you hop on your flight!
Tip 7: Include a vibrant shopping precinct that also offers a host of rejuvenation options to soothe those tired legs!
Nothing defines one-stop-shop for your group better than Orchard Road ! No mention of Singapore’s shopping experiences can be complete without paying homage to this iconic street that offers innumerable retailers dotted along its 2.2 kilometre-belt. The street offers flagship stores like Abercrombie and Fitch and H&M while also offering a wide range of malls like the Somerset 313, Mandarin Gallery, Tangs Orchard, and Robinsons @ Heeren catering multiple options to possibly every item on your shopping list. Enjoy a stroll on this road dotted by the huge angsana trees that provide the much needed respite from the blazing sun!
Once your legs give in (and we assure you they will!), make sure you partake in rejuvenation activities to provide them the much-needed relief! Drop those shopping bags at the Kenko Reflexology and Fish Spa and enjoy the fish nibbling away your day’s stress! Or unwind at Ion Orchard’s Ion Sky while witnessing the city’s panoramic skyline via their one-of-a-kind telescopes!
Tip 8: A luxury shopping experience unlike the one they can have back home…
If you’re a seeker of the good life and exclusive luxury shopping is your favourite past time, then look no further than Louis Vuitton’s Island Maison at Marina Bay Sands! The stunning glass-enclosed pavilion that boasts of one of the hottest locations in the Singapore landscape, houses fine jewelry and the biggest LV book store in the world (Yes, a book store!) apart from its usual collection.
If your group comprises watch lovers, they’re in the right place! Singapore is a mecca to indulge in some high-end timepieces with retailers like Sincere that feature premium watches from the world’s top brands like Breitling, Franck Muller and Chopard while also featuring exclusive watches from independent watchmakers, with each timepiece setting a benchmark in horologic craftsmanship. Another such retailer The Hour Glass is making waves for redefining specialty watch retail and has also bagged the “Best Shopping Experience” award by Singapore Tourism Board in 2012.
For a city that eats, breathes and sleeps shopping, we list 8 valuable tips that charter the unknown and unique shopping experiences that Singapore offers and are bound to uplift any MICE itinerary.