Online vs Offline Retail Economy in Dubai #UPDATE 2

In my last post, I gave a personal example of a buying decision I recently made in which it was easier and more informed decision online. I concluded by asking how will the bricks and mortar retail industry survive amidst the e-commerce revolution happening in the region today.

E-commerce is not really anything new. People have been buying online for years however the success of this comes down to various factors within the ecosystem. These can range from the availability of secure payment gateways, the supply of debit or credit cards, the trust and tech savvy of the local consumers themselves as well as a range of other factors.

Let’s look at the UK as an example where it is safe to assume it is a few years ahead in terms of tech savvy consumers and a more advanced online and offline retail scene. If a customer walks into House of Fraiser and finds an item of clothing they like but cannot find their size the sales person will give them the option to have the item delivered to them from the warehouse by the next day. Another scenario may be that the customer goes on to the website (in the comfort of their home) and finds the same product and can either have it delivered to them by the next day or know the confirmed stock availability in any nearby store and reserve it to pick-in-store immediately.

In the above example, we are seeing a merger between the online and offline assets for House of Fraiser giving the customer more information, more options and essentially giving them as many options as possible to secure that sale.

For the bricks and mortar retail industry to evolve over the next 5-10 years it must evolve its model. E-commerce sales are overtaking in-store sales but there will always be elements of the physical world which will be needed which is why it is imperative for the two to work together cohesively. Customers will always need the option to try before they buy as well as the consumer habit of “impulse buying”.

In my next post, I will be asking the question: How can physical retail stores and malls attract more visitors in the losing battle against online e-commerce?

This is part of a series of updates and observations of the current evolution of the online and offline retail ecosystem. Stay tuned for more updates! 🙂

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