Technology is accelerating the pace of change in the UAE retail sector – News


Retail e-commerce market in the United Arab Emirates reached a record value of $3.9 billion in 2020

Data analytics is a powerful tool that can be used to meet customer needs by examining their past purchases or preferences, experts say – KT file

Published: Mon 14 Mar 2022, 06:12 PM

Technology will prove to be a key differentiator in the success of businesses across the UAE retail landscape, experts said at Retail Summit 2022.

Speaking on the first day of the event on Monday, Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, said there were “huge changes” in the industry all over the world, which is creating opportunities for retailers.

“There is a big change in customer behavior today; they have more information and tools at their disposal to make informed decisions,” he told the Khaleej Times. “That means their expectations have also changed. They expect better service, faster service and cheaper prices. The other angle is that service providers are supposed to provide their services no matter where they are based. »

In an increasingly customer-centric and technology-driven landscape, he noted that a key technology that can make or break a business is data analytics.

“Data analytics is a powerful tool that can be used to meet customer needs by looking at their past purchases or preferences,” Buamim said. “Companies have the ability to leverage data to drive customer behavior.”

Those who can use these tools in the right way will be the real winners in the retail industry, he added. “Technology will be the foundation that will bring new players into the market and, in some cases, eliminate companies that have been in this industry for a very long time.”

He further explained that these companies were the ones that dragged their feet thinking that they could continue with their legacy systems without having to invest in new technology. “They have been forced to change very quickly since the Covid-19 pandemic hastened the change which was to take place over 10 years in three years.

He also revealed that family businesses that held a monopoly on the industry would be a thing of the past. “Technology has accelerated changes both for them and against them. The technology will also accelerate the real growth of new players who were not even present in the industry before. We believe that there will be new players entering the market and prospering in the future.

Recent research has revealed that Dubai’s wholesale and retail sector is a key contributor to its economy, accounting for around 28% of the emirate’s real GDP. According to Euromonitor, in 2020, the UAE retail e-commerce market reached a record value of $3.9 billion, 53% more than in 2019. It is expected that by 2025, the UAE retail e-commerce market value will reach $8 billion, and grow with a CAGR of 15.4% from 2020 to 2025.

Hosein Moghaddas, Head of Consumer and Business, Deloitte Middle East, noted that because every customer must be at the heart of any retail business strategy, the retail industry will create business differentiation through the digital transformation. “By using technology to deliver personalized, relevant and convenient online and offline shopping experiences, customers will become advocates, even ambassadors, for retailers and brands.”

Manlio Romanelli, Group Chairman and Founder of M-Cube, also highlighted how the accelerated fusion of the online world with the physical world is changing the in-store customer journey. Technology is becoming the tool for hyper-personalization of the shopping experience.

“Among all the solutions, digital signage finds its evolution in the augmented screen – it is one of the most exciting possibilities to generate interaction between the screen and the consumer’s smartphone,” said Romanelli. “All this is happening mainly thanks to the QR code, a tool rarely used in the past and which has found impetus thanks to its wide use in the pandemic: we are thus moving from a ‘one to many’ communication, typical of the digital signage, to a ‘one to one’, which is more typical of e-commerce.”

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