With the majority of retailers in Dubai reporting that they don’t expect malls to go back to where they were for at least 18 months, it is expected that this global pandemic will change UAE buying behaviours forever.
Dubai General Manager at Visualsoft, Antony Mohan, reviewed the impacts of COVID-19 on retailers in the UAE, what strategic pivots have been seen so far, and how retailers can future proof their businesses.
Changes in Dubai’s day-to-day operations
How can businesses plan for the future?
To future-proof a business, those who are in a stable enough position should move stock online. This will help to retain current customers by continuing to provide services. This could also even assist with acquisition strategies by placing the business in front of a fresh online audience.
With the impacts of COVID-19 predicted to continue to impact footfall of mall-based retail stores to varying degrees for the next 18 months, shoppers are likely to adapt and locate what they need virtually rather than physically. This will quickly become the ‘norm’. Solidifying your brand and building loyalty over the next few months could be key to stabilising your longer-term growth strategies.
For smaller businesses, a great entry to the world of eCommerce is through marketplaces such as Amazon, Fruugo and the Dubai-based Noon, which have slowly been picking up traction over the last year in the UAE. We expect to see a vast increase of Dubai based sellers over the coming months to support their retail stores and eCommerce websites alike.
As the market in the UAE becomes more saturated, Dubai-based retailers will likely notice challenges in reaching the right markets and attracting quality traffic to their online store through the website alone. Investing in and implementing quality online marketing strategies from day one will help retailers build authority, brand awareness and traffic to the website. All of which will place them ahead of the competition.
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