Tue, 24 Jun 2003

Lack of publicity results in poor customer turnout for Great Sale

Arya Abhiseka, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Seruni, not her real name, a store attendant at Metro department store in Plaza Senayan, South Jakarta, still spends her days daydreaming or talking to fellow workers, rather than being busy serving customers who want to buy items sold at her store.

"I have not been seeing any significant increase in customers' attendance as a response to the Jakarta Great Sale in our store," she told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

"Those who come here do not come for the event, but once they get here and know what the great sale is all about, then they will start to look at items sold here.

"The condition is similar to last year, when the public mostly did not know what the great sale was."

Similar to the past organization of the Jakarta Great Sale, this year's event, which runs until July 14, is still lacking in a publicity campaign to bring more customers to the event.

The public is still unaware that during the Jakarta Great Sale they can take advantage of discounts of up to 70 percent on various items, offered by the city's 100 malls, supermarkets, restaurants, department stores and factory outlets.

Rini, a customer at Pondok Indah Mall in South Jakarta, confirmed that she in fact did not show up at Pondok Indah Mall for the Jakarta Great Sale.

"I have to admit that I am happy the great sale is held again here, but I never actually go for it. In fact, I do not know when it started and only found out recently after being informed," she said.

The Jakarta Great Sale was made to coincide with the city's 476th anniversary to boost the city's image as a shopping haven for domestic and international tourists, as inspired by the success story of similar events in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Last year, The Jakarta chapter of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), which organizes the sale, said that Kadin projected the sale to secure Rp 3.7 trillion, but only managed to reach Rp 3.5 trillion in sales revenue.

Kadin said that this year, in order for the event to secure more than Rp 4 trillion (US$487.8 million) in business revenue as projected, they had assessed last year's mistakes, including improving the poor publicity campaign.

Pungky Bambang Purwadi, head of Kadin's Jakarta chapter, claimed the great sale had received financial support from the Indonesian Culture and Tourism Agency for a television campaign on CNN.

However, public service announcements on television and in print media are still considered inadequate to raise awareness of the people to come and enjoy big price cuts at stores during the great sale, leaving them still empty from the potential great sale buzz.

"Yes, I like it when we are busy, because I have something else to do," said Seruni, as she manicured her friend's nails during a very quiet afternoon.