The recovery of retail in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will be brought forth with the use of data and robotics, said Zawya. This is expected after residents of the area switched to online shopping in light of the pandemic.
In the past, the GCC saw a slow adoption of online retail compared to other markets. However, with the public health risk, people were compelled to stay at home due to lockdowns. To adapt to the situation, consumers shifted to online shopping.
Saudi Arabian online shopping company Bin Dawood Group reported a whopping 400% spike in app downloads, with a 200% surge in sales.
Meanwhile, a Visa CEMEA Impact Tracker revealed that 68% of consumers in the United Arab Emirates purchased groceries online for the first time. Around 70% also made their first online pharmacy purchase during the pandemic.
Piyush Kumar Chowhan, Group Chief Information Officer of Lulu Group International, said, that it is necessary to use “experiential” retail in order to persuade customers back into physical shopping after the pandemic.
According to Chowhan, “Data will be the new soil – the new engine for growth in the retail sector.” He added, “Technology will drive digital initiatives. Good customer experience will come from an innovation mindset, driven using different technology tools.”
Chowhan also emphasized the need to develop the technology which can help use data to transform the industry.
With the economic impact of the public health crisis, the retail market in the Gulf shrunk. However, Jacky’s Retail and Jacky’s Business Solutions Chief Operating Officer Ashish Panjabi remains optimistic about the situation.
He said that the market only went to the right size and is not “down-sized.” Post-pandemic, technology is expected to play a huge role, especially robotics.
Combined with robotics, the more efficient use of data and real-time analytics will help optimize businesses and their processes. It is also expected to improve customer experience, especially in light of the need for contactless transactions.
Chowhan sees the post-pandemic situation as ana opportunity to bring forth long-overdue changes in the GCC retail industry. This includes better hygiene measures that will allow frictionless and personalized experiences.
Meanwhile, Panjabi emphasized that technology will not be the sole solution for the post-pandemic situation, but it will be an “enabler.”
He is also optimistic that the manufacturing and production industry will also depend on technology and experiential solutions.