Saturday 19 June 2021


GCC retail must ‘reimagine strategies’

DUBAI, July 12, 2020

In a post-Covid-19 world, GCC retailers will have to reimagine their current strategies not only to keep them relevant, but also to anticipate the future of the industry and ensure long-term success, says Dr Johannes Distler, Partner at Roland Berger.
“Virtual fitting rooms will allow customers to experience testing and trying on clothing before purchasing online and customised on-demand apparel, offering customers a personalised experience fitted to their exact requirements will become standard,” he said in his comments after publishing a co-written report by CBRE and Roland Berger on "Trends in the GCC Retail Market". The report looks at the retail industry today in the GCC region and forecast its development.
Using AI, retailers are engaging with their customers at a conversational level providing more personalised experience, plus they are using visual search technology to identify and buy similar products through simply snapping and uploading a picture. And autonomous last-mile delivery is becoming a reality with use of delivery robots and drones, he says.
Gabriella De La Torre, Director: Consulting at CBRE, commented: “Retailers with a successful online presence have been able to minimise the impact, and in some cases even managed to drive profits as a result of frenzied online consumption. Our report takes a long-term view on the opportunities in the retail industry in a post-Covid-19 world.”
Experiential retailing continues to push retailers to create a unique experience for the consumers, says the report. 
There is also no longer a dichotomy between online and offline retail, with each approach working together with the other to maximise customer experiences. This trend has gained traction worldwide but has yet to see the same traction in the GCC.
Many small online-only retail brands are seeking greater access to consumers and in the US a new concession-based model provides small flexible spaces for online-only brands.
The region may not be ready for “Just Walk Out” technology, but it is beginning to see an uptake in RFID tags and in a post Covid-19 world where social distancing may become the norm, we expect to see further uptake of this technology.
Meanwhile, landlords and tenant alike in the GCC can benefit from flexible structures, with the former maximising their occupancy rates and returns, and the latter given greater room for innovation and growth, says the report.
The global economy is experiencing an unprecedented impact amid the outbreak of Covid-19: dramatic changes in consumer behavior and a widespread spending freeze require various industries to operate in crisis management mode as result of significant loses. 
Due to its interconnected nature, the retail industry is particularly vulnerable to the effects of this pandemic and leaves retailers uncertain on how to respond to the current state of the retail market, as well as about their future in a post-Covid-19 world.
The GCC Retail Market report outlines the current trends impacting the retail industry in the GCC, driven by technology, changing consumer demands and evolving operating models. -- Tradearabia News Service


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