Brick-and-mortar stores will still play key role in the region’s future retail landscape
With the proliferation of smartphones and expanding internet connectivity across the region, the popularity of online shopping continues to surge. Experts however agree that despite the growing success of e-commerce, the traditional retail market will remain a constant and that there is still a huge room for growth and profitability.
Jayaraman Nair, Chairman, VIS Exhibitions and Conferences, organizer of the trade show Smart Stores Expo, said, “While more and more consumers nowadays are increasingly enjoying the benefits of online shopping, physical stores still have a lot to offer that their online counterparts cannot provide. The key here is for brick and mortar retailers to reinvent themselves and create better in-store experiences for their shoppers.”
Based on industry reports, the Gulf region’s e-commerce market is expected to expand to US$ 20 billion by the end of 2020, while the projected growth for the conventional retail market size is US$ 206 billion for the same period. Although a CAGR of 30 per cent for e-commerce is impressive compared to offline retail’s CAGR of 4 per cent, online receipts would only account for 10 per cent of all regional retail sales, bringing analysts to conclude that the brick and mortar segment is still a dominant player in the industry.
The modern consumers are looking for much more than just acquiring the products they want through a seamless transaction, and Patrick Fallmann, Managing Director of umdasch Store Makers Middle East, pointed out that for conventional retail concepts to thrive in this ever-changing market, they need to offer real-life unique experiences, things they cannot get when shopping online.
umdasch Store Makers Middle East is part of the umdasch Store Makers Group, which is headquartered in Austria with a strong presence across the globe. umdasch’s service areas include design development, value engineering, project coordination, furniture manufacturing, installation, systems development, shop academy, and digital retail.
Mr. Fallmann, who is also a member of the Advisory Board for Smart Stores Expo, explained, “Future-proofing your retail store is all about uniqueness. It’s a given that only brick and mortar can offer that all important touch and feel experience. However, retailers should keep in mind that their physical space should offer indulging, personalized experiences compelling enough for customers to keep their phones away and prod them to visit the store. Nowadays, it’s all about engaging the customer’s senses in a totally immersive retail experience, streamlined and convenient procedures, and essentially making shopping fun and entertaining.”
Bernhard Heiden, Creative Director of Interstore AG, expressed the same views and stressed that the focus of shopping in store is giving the customer an experience to remember. “It’s a must that brick and mortar retailers captivate their customers even before they enter their domain. Treating your space more like a gallery to indulge your customers’ senses is crucial if your aim is to provide a memorable shopping experience and keep them coming back. Well-thought visual merchandising, attention grabbing interiors, clever lighting… all these things and some more should be considered when creating a retail environment that positively impacts people’s purchasing habits.”
Interstore, a retail design agency with head office in Zurich and various locations worldwide, will be present together with Schweitzer Project, one of the leading shopfitting companies in Europe, at the trade show to showcase their unique design & build approach: Design and realization from one source.
Smart Stores Expo, devoted to showcasing the latest trends, developments and technologies shaping the future of retail, is scheduled on September 4 – 6 at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre. The exhibit will focus on four key verticals – build, operate, manage and retail leasing pavilion – catering to all aspects of the retail industry. On the other hand, the conference will be a premier capability-building platform with renowned local and international experts tackling global best practices, evolving trends and fresh strategies in the retail industry.