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MPH Reveals The Reason Behind Multiple Closures Of Outlets Across Malaysia

While the company is maintaining stores in key locations, it is moving towards the digitalisation of its business.

Cover image via Zatika Izati Puade/Facebook & Bookstr

MPH Group Sdn Bhd, owner of Malaysia's well-loved MPH Bookstores chain, has finally cleared the air on why several of their bookstores were seen closing down recently

In a statement provided to SAYS, MPH Group said they are pursuing a new venture and are transforming their bricks and mortar business model into an "e-commerce cum digitalised ecosystem".

The century-old company said it is channelling much of its resources to scale up their e-commerce and digital business division, and part of the new approach was to consolidate all of its non-performing retail outlets.

Nonetheless, they are maintaining stores that are profitable in key locations as important touchpoints for their loyal customers.

MPH Group's plan to focus on its e-commerce platform was already in the works last year, but it was accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic

With everyone staying at home, the bookstore's website, MPHOnline.com, saw a significant increase in sales as a result of the quick change in consumer buying behaviour during the Movement Control Order (MCO).

MPH Group chief executive officer Donald Kee revealed that the company is in the midst of upgrading their online store and are expecting to relaunch it in the fourth quarter of 2020.

He said this new approach taken by the bookstore, both offline and online, will provide a more seamless shopping experience to the customers.

"We want to be able to connect with our customers through multiple touchpoints, be it online or offline by adopting an omnichannel approach," said Kee.

Image via klia2.info

The CEO also announced that the company is planning to deploy high-tech vending machines for the convenience of their customers

In addition to their physical stores, people will be able to place orders online and choose to pick their books up from the company's vending machines that would be placed in strategic locations such as LRT and MRT stations, universities, and hospitals. 

"[This is] so that we can reach out to customers beyond our physical stores as well as offer instant gratification to those who can't wait for their books to be delivered to their homes or offices," he explained.

An example of a book vending machine launched by independent bookstore, BooksActually, in Singapore.

Image via The Jakarta Post

Aside from that, the company also plans to launch the very first social interactive e-learning platform in Southeast Asia

The e-learning platform will offer a wide range of video-on-demand content and e-books, as well as live classrooms to cater to the increasing popularity of virtual learning.

Aiming for release in the second half of the year, the company hopes that the application will serve to connect educators and students in a safe environment.

MPH Group also hopes that these digital transformation initiatives will allow their brand to continue to stay relevant to all Malaysians.

Book lovers were the first to notice that their neighbourhood MPH outlets were closing:

Here are other online avenues for your bookish needs: