Navigating Singapore’s labyrinth-like shopping centres can be really exhausting, especially when you have to jostle with seemingly unending streams of crowds.

Major real estate developer CapitaLand wants to alleviate this problem through its new chatbot, Sparkle, which is available on its CapitaStar app.

Users can engage with the chatbot to get directions to the nearest MRT stations/bus stops, search and make restaurant bookings (through tie-in with online reservations platform Chope) and retrieve a shop’s directory within all of CapitaLand’s shopping malls.

Users can also make other product requests such as “find me a shop that sells sunglasses”, or “I want a restaurant that sells chicken”, and Sparkle will display results relevant to the query.

In addition, CapitaLand has signed a partnership with ride-hailing giant Grab. This allows commuters located at CapitaLand’s network of integrated developments, shopping malls, serviced residences, offices and homes in Singapore to book Grab rides on the CapitaStar app and travel to any of those locations. They will also stand to earn special discounts or STAR$® rewards on the app’s loyalty programme if they make Grab bookings on CapitaStar.

Concierges at CapitaLand’s commercial buildings and serviced residences will be equipped with Grab’s enterprise terminals, which will allow the concierges to make multiple Grab bookings.

For reference, here is a list of shopping malls in CapitaLand’s portfolio.

1. WestGate

2. The Star Vista

3. Tampines Mall

4. Sembawang Shopping Centre

5, Raffles City

6. Plaza Singapura

7. Lot One

8. Junction 8

9. Jcube

10. Ion Orchard

11. IMM

12. Funan (though, currently under renovation)

13. Clarke Quay

14. Bukit Panjang Plaza

15. Bugis Plus

16. Bugis Junction

17. Bedok Mall

Singapore’s retail scene has seen its fortunes dwindle in recent times, owing to a slowing economy and the rise of e-commerce spending (where consumers can sometimes buy similar products at a heavily discounted price).

CapitaLand’s new innovation drive is a bold attempt to invigorate domestic shopping — and definitely a step in the right direction, but will consumers bite?

Image Credit: CapitaLand