Global Business Guide Indonesia

Sarinah Sarinah Sarinah Sarinah Sarinah Sarinah Sarinah Sarinah
Sarinah | Mrs Ira Puspadewi
Mrs Ira Puspadewi

When it comes to quality, our company stands among the leaders as a platform for the best Indonesian products sourced from skilled craftsmen and manufacturers across the archipelago.

Mrs Ira Puspadewi, President Director

Founded in 1962, Sarinah is an iconic brand well known as a leading state owned enterprise involved in retail. As the newly appointed President Director, what can you tell us about your main priorities for Sarinah going forward?

The main priority of our retail division is to redefine our customer profile and fine-tune our strategy to effectively reach out to our target consumer base. We also intend to develop and launch new product lines, as well as initiate major projects in property development. Among our plans for the future is the development of land surrounding the landmark Sarinah Thamrin Department Store in Jakarta to create one of the country’s biggest commercial centres, in addition to a similar project on a smaller scale in Semarang as a means of maximising our existing assets. 

In addition to this, we are focused on implementing a new business model that will see us introduce midi-stores, as well as expand upon our network of specialty retail outlets. These stores will be tailored to consumer profiles specific to different parts of the country. Our strategy going forward is thus comprised of three distinct business models for each of our different store types, complemented by on-going property development. This plan is tied in with a new direction for our trading division to meet larger scale opportunities to showcase and offer Indonesian products on the global stage.

Which segment of the Indonesian market are you planning to reach out to as part of your strategy to redefine the Sarinah customer profile?

For any company to enjoy long-term growth, it is necessary to rejuvenate and make sure that it continues to appeal to young customers. This is particularly important in Indonesia, given that more than half of the local population is younger than 30. Our company has thus set the goal of drawing younger crowds, and aim to reach this target through events and products that tap into the latest trends. 

A positive development we have seen among Indonesia’s younger generation is a growing sense of pride in their country. This is an opportunity we need to build upon, and we have sought to introduce new products that combine modern preferences with Indonesia’s rich cultural heritage such as contemporary batik clothing for young families.

What can you tell us about the current trends in consumer demand when it comes to retail?

Indonesia’s customer profile has in recent years been subject to dynamic change following the rise of a vibrant middle class. As a leading retailer of a diverse collection of handicrafts, furniture and clothing to name a few products, this change has been quite exciting and provides us with confidence in carrying out our aforementioned expansion strategy. Our specialty stores, in particular, will take advantage of this trend by serving the growing number of middle class consumers in cities beyond Jakarta and Indonesia’s major cities.

The appeal of Indonesian products on the global stage often faces challenges in the form of the misperception that even top of the line products manufactured in Indonesia are not of the highest quality. In your opinion, what can be done to address this?

More of an effort needs to be made in better identifying specific consumer bases as targets for Indonesian products, as this would facilitate the creation of products that meet specific quality requirements and cater to each market’s unique preferences. At Sarinah we are very much focused on tailoring our assortment of goods to diverse customer profiles.

When it comes to quality, our company stands among the leaders as a platform for the best Indonesian products sourced from skilled craftsmen and manufacturers across the archipelago. To your point, there remains a lot to be done in terms of educating customers and helping them recognize the superior quality of goods made available in our stores. For premium goods, it is important to incorporate an effective narrative behind each product so as to emphasise its heritage. As a means of better branding our creative products, we thus intend to more clearly demonstrate what makes our collection special, such as the use of traditional manufacturing techniques that embody true Indonesian culture.

One of the issues faced by Sarinah is that Jakarta is not often perceived as a marquee tourist destination, thereby limiting the success of the company’s main department store in tapping into visitors from overseas as buyers of local handicrafts and cultural heritage products. How do you intend on adapting to this?

Jakarta is not a tourism hub, but has a large population of foreigners living in the city that comprise a high potential segment of the market for us to engage. In appealing to the tourists that do visit the capital city, we have taken steps to work with hotels and travel agents, but need to do more to make the Sarinah name synonymous with the quintessential Jakarta shopping experience. We have also been developing a new line of ‘Indonesian goodies’ that will become the iconic souvenir for tourists in the country. Though many people already associate Indonesia with coffee, we see considerable potential in popularizing other products such as regional delicacies and snacks that could be internationally renowned if better packaged and marketed.

Sarinah is also actively involved in the trade industry via the export of Indonesian furniture and commodities. What kind of products do you plan on exporting in the future and in what area do you see the most potential?

Consumer goods such as furniture will continue to be our main export products going forward. We have identified the Middle East, Central America, Europe as well as Australia as key target markets for these exports, with Turkey in particular offering considerable potential as a destination for Indonesian furniture. In regards to commodities, we have already enjoyed success exporting cassava to China and plan to further this type of trade into other East Asian markets such as Japan and Korea.

How is your company positioned towards working with foreign entities looking for an experienced local partner?

As a new team, our mind-set is very much geared towards being open to new opportunities for us to grow. We thus welcome enquiries from foreign parties looking to collaborate, but as of yet do not have any plans set in stone for this type of partnership. Our company is particularly interested in cooperating with partners able to share their international experience and introduce techniques and best practices for human resources competency development.

As a final message, what would you like our readers at GBG Indonesia to remember about Sarinah?

It is our vision to become the country’s leading retailer providing high quality local products that epitomize the pinnacle of Indonesian culture. As such, if you are looking for the best of what Indonesia has to offer, come to Sarinah.