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COVID-19 transforms GCC retail landscape as retailers switch to digital mode


COVID 19 transforms GCC retail landscape as retailers switch to digitalCOVID-19 is revolutionizing GCC retail landscape with consumers increasingly embracing online retail channels, opined Hozefa Saylawala, Director-Sales Middle East, Zebra Technologies at a virtual roundtable organized by RetailME on Intelligent Orchestration of Retail Experience. As per Statista, an online tracker of global economy and retail sector, e-retail sales are expected to account for 22 per cent of global retail sales by 2023. Of this, the GCC e-commerce market is expected to reach $19.7 billion in 2020. Justina Eitzinger, Chief Operating Officer, RetailME views these statistics as an indication of the huge potential of e-commerce market in the GCC and the greater Middle East region and advises retailers and consumers to gain crucial insights from the virtual roundtable series to remain ahead of the curve.

A blessing by default

Adel Sajan, Director, Danube Group, which initiated virtual meetings with key customers and offered products through a virtual tour of its stores, saysCOVID 19 transforms GCC retail landscape as retailers switch to digital mode their online sales jumped up 500 per cent to make up 25 per cent of total sales during the lockdown. Recently, the group launched a pilot project to dispatch a wide variety of home furnishing products to clients' homes. This enables customers to see, touch and feel the products.

Bhavna Buttan, Vice President-Market Place Transformation, Sun and Sand Sports views COVID-19 as a blessing by default as it forced consumers and retailers to change their shopping behavior swiftly. The retailer accelerated the use of digital space during the period with online sales jumping 500 per cent. According to Ashutosh Chakradeo, Head-Retail, Choithrams, the biggest change is being witnessed by grocery retail, supermarkets and hypermarkets as their online sales have jumped almost three times. Choithrams managed to meet the growing demand for its products by making certain physical adjustments and upgrading technologies.

AI for a frictionless shopping experience

Mark Thomson, Director - Retail and Hospitality, EMEA, Zebra Technologies, views frictionless shopping experience to be one of the biggest challenges for the retailers currently. As a solution, Danube Group deploys artificial intelligence (AI) to interpret customer data analytics. This enables the group to zero-in products to suit customers' taste.

Though retailers are using customer data analytics to make decisions, they interpret them in different ways, observes Hozefa Saylawala, Director of Sales, Zebra Technologies. The industry can address this issue by providing decision-makers with automated action points. For instance, Zebra's retail technology solutions help the company track inventory and orders, and offer customers a better shopping experience


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