To be the epicentre of the Apple lifestyle, Jimmy Fong, CEO of EpiCentre, talks about going great distances to track evolving consumer trends.
One reason for the success of EpiCentre lies in its ability to understand and cater to the needs of both new as well as seasoned Apple product users. In part 2 of our ‘Think Big’ conversation with Jimmy Fong, CEO of EpiCentre, he shares with us why it’s absolutely vital for him to keep abreast with changing consumer tastes.
As IT products become increasingly positioned as stylish, lifestyle gadgets, together with the surging popularity of accessorising and customising, it is little wonder Jimmy compares himself to being in the fashion business.
In fact, according to Jimmy, consumers change their gadget accessories on an average of 2 to 3 months. Furthermore, many go store hopping and surf the Web to find the coolest and most unique accessories.
With trends evolving constantly, you may think they’re impossible to keep track of. Yet Jimmy says there’s plenty you can learn simply by talking to customers and finding out their concerns, and this is what he advocates to his staff.
Furthermore, Jimmy makes it a point to attend exhibitions such as the International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, USA, and trade fairs in Hanover, Germany and Hong Kong to source for what’s popular and catch a glimpse of the latest innovations that are about to hit the market.
In terms of expansion, EpiCentre has not only grown geographically by opening stores outside of Singapore in Malaysia (5) and China (3), it increased the depth of its product offerings as well.
Enhancing its own brand of accessories under the iWorld® label by incorporating designs made by Singapore companies, Jimmy also expanded the number of services offered at EpiCentre, making it a one-stop shop for all your Apple needs.
Describing how his duties have changed since becoming CEO, Jimmy explains he now focuses more on the bigger picture. Issues such as managing shareholders, public funds and fiduciary duties takes precedence over day-to-day operations of the stores. He also constantly thinks of new ways to inspire his staff and ensures that everyone – from his internal staff to external stakeholders – remains satisfied.
Success is measured differently from person to person. For Jimmy, it’s about achieving goals and objectives. But what he considers more important than success is the joy of the journey – the thrill of being a part of a team or organisation that shares the same vision and moves forward together.
Having learnt about Canon’s ‘Think Big’ initiative that supports businesses big and small, Jimmy was greatly impressed, highlighting that entrepreneurs are key to increasing the nation’s productivity and economy. He advises businesses looking to expand overseas to internationalise their business ideas so they can be accepted worldwide.