As promised, the new retail space for consumer electronics and telecommunication products in Menara MARA Kuala Lumpur is officially open for business today. Previously nicknamed as Low Yat 2, the space which is located on the third floor of the building is now officially called MARA Digital.
Developed within 3 months time frame, MARA Digital was designed and built by WGN Scan Sdn Bhd who is also responsible to manage it. The retail space houses in total of 38 Bumiputera ICT entrepreneurs that offer variety of consumers electronic products in the form of both hardware and software as well as telco services and after sales services.
Being the first Bumiputera ICT retail space in the country, MARA Digital is deemed as the new benchmark for the involvement of Bumiputera entrepreneurs in ICT industry according to the Minister of Rural and Regional Development. The minister also stated that MARA Digital is not meant to challenge anybody but merely as another platform to offer opportunity for Bumiputera entrepreneurs.
Another interesting benefit that tenants at MARA Digital have received is free rental for the first six months on their tenure at the mall. With that, Ismail Sabri hope that tenants will consider to relay the savings into deals and discounts for their products in order to attract customers to MARA Digital.
Furthermore, the minister also hoped that MARA Digital is able to spark some life into BUSANA Mall @ Menara MARA (the official name of the building) which in dire need of excitement since it was opened last year. At this moment, the new MARA Digital in Kuala Lumpur is just a pilot program and there is no immediate plan to open similar establishment in other places although Ismail Sabri did mentioned that the ministry might look for such opportunity in other states next year.
After a quick walkthrough at the new ICT retail space, I reckoned that MARA Digital is way smaller that established IT centers such as Plaza Low Yat or Digital Mall PJ but it is much more similar in concept to IT sections that exist in many shopping malls throughout the country. Hence, it is not really for customers that have detailed or in-depth product requests but more suitable for general consumers that looking for mainstream laptops, smartphones, and accessories.
Despite being launched today, I also feel that the space is not exactly 100% ready for customers since there are several retailers that have yet to opened their doors today including Samsung, OPPO, and Dell. Additionally, I don’t see any computer components and peripherals stores over there at the moment which means that MARA Digital will be missing out on customers such as PC enthusiasts and gamers that are looking for such products.
All in all, it is still early days for the folks at MARA Digital. In order for it to be sustainable in the long run, the retail space really need to differentiate itself than other existing IT retail spaces throughout the country. There are certainly plenty of ways to achieve this but the best way to do it is by having good price and good service in order to be on the good side of consumers.