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What can retail learn from Singapore’s HBD neighborhood renewal programme?

Singapore introduced the HDB Neighborhood Renewal Programme (NRP) in 2007. The aim was to refresh neighborhoods in a way that would appeal to the masses. Residents suggest improvements; they are assessed by HDB. For examples of these suggestions, check out the infographic below. 

HDB is the Housing & Development Board of Singapore – those in charge of public housing. They aim to provide public housing for Singaporeans that is affordable, high-quality, and with a good living environment. The neighborhood renewal programme (NRP) scheme aimed to improve that last aim. 

neighborhood renewal programme
Infographic Design By: PropertyGuru Group

But how can this scheme be applied to retail? Retail and housing are two very different sectors, but this doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from one another. While retail doesn’t house people, physical stores do house an experience for customers. This is an experience companies want to be high-quality, affordable, and with an excellent environment – just like HDB’s aims. 

By listening to their residents, HDB is able to offer a better experience for their residents, making them more likely to stay long-term. Similarly, if retail starts listening directly to customer’s ideas for improvement, customers are more likely to be loyal to your brand and shop again. This is for two reasons – one: customers will have more things in your stores that they like. For example, if customers suggest more tables at a restaurant, and you provide this, they are more likely to return because your store provides for more of their needs. Secondly, schemes like NRP tell the customer you are listening to them, and value their voice. For this reason, they will be more brand loyal.