As the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world in early 2020, sector after sector suffered massive hits. Vital to the continuity of almost every industry — most notably manufacturing, retail, and wholesale — the trade value chain was heavily disrupted by the pandemic.
According to IDC’s COVID-19 Impact research, IT spending by retail and wholesale industries in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa is estimated to have contracted 7% year on year in 2020. But the disruption within the sector was uneven — while food retail remained resilient, non-food retail slumped. Looking ahead, IDC expects IT spending in the sector to increase by more than 5% in 2021. A wake-up call for many, 2020 saw a massive spike in online retail, as traditional retailers realized the gravity of the situation. The businesses that were already digitally transforming picked up the pace significantly, while those that hadn’t were forced to hit the ground running, rapidly scaling up their online platforms to compete with established ecommerce heavyweights.
Retailers today are also realizing that customer demand in the post-pandemic market environment can be fairly volatile. Turning en masse to digital innovation, more and more are concluding that they need to develop resilient and agile operations and supply chains in order to prepare themselves for further demand volatility in the future. For most, this means substantial investments in supply chain visibility, digital integration across the supply chain, and dynamic demand management based on data.
While on the IT side, this needs a scalable IT architecture based on a cloud foundation that allows for flexibility, agility, and scalability. Equally important is investing in the wider automation of warehouses and leveraging robotics, IoT, AI, analytics, and other technologies in distribution centers to optimize health and safety. As consumer demands evolve, retailers are increasingly focusing on experience as a product. And as price-driven competition intensifies, digitally augmented experiences are becoming differentiators, with retailers increasingly engaging customers through innovative personalized experiences. This is driving change in the sector by forcing retailers to adopt a more holistic approach to their businesses.
Retailers running multiple physical and digital channels in siloes are now looking to build proper omnichannels. As this approach gains traction, it is transforming the physical store into a space for experiencing the brand rather than the primary location for performing transactions. In this regard, the personalization of omnichannel experiences by leveraging data, analytics, and AI will define the success of the business. As we continue to weather the storm and move into recovery territory, customer demands will keep changing. In response, retailers will continue to look for – and innovate – new business models, such as extending from online storesto marketplaces, engaging in new delivery and distribution partnerships, and participating in revenue-sharing deals. Enabled by digital platforms, the industry is set for a quantum shift, with retailers evolving to meet the challenges and demands of the new normal.
A report from Bain & Company has revealed that the emergence of some positive shopping trendsMay 9, 2021 | By RetailME Bureau
UAE-based RAW recently announced that it would be extending its GCC operations,May 4, 2021 | By Bilal Syed
UAE-based Carrefour announced its theme and plans for Ramadan 2021. The brand
Locally owned supermarket Spinneys celebrates 60 years of doing business in the
UAE-based Carrefour will become the first retailer in the region to offer new levels
The Organic Farmers’ Market is back in Bay Avenue for its 12th
UAE-based Lulu Group recently inaugurated its first-ever all-female staff store in Jeddah,
Jones the Grocer, the gourmet grocer and cheese retailer launches the Jones
UAE-based Al Maya Supermarkets is hosting a two-week food festival at select
Locally-owned supermarket Spinneys has launched its ‘Power of Plants’ initiative in the
Carrefour UAE has launched “Cookit Yourself” — a curated recipe box created
UAE-based Al Islami Foods, one of the largest frozen food companies in
Marks & Spencer’s plant-based range now offers over 25 vegan products including meat-free
World’s largest fully integrated online brand in fresh fish and meat e-commerce
REDTAG launched its latest retail outlet at the Salalah Grand Mall in
The world is going through a tumultuous time with death, despair and
Saudi-based grocery retail operator BinDawood Holding Co. has reported its first quarter
A report from Bain & Company has revealed that the emergence of some positive shopping trends
Words by Pankaj Kumar, Head Omnichannel Retail at Jumbo Group With the latest
Kuwait-based startup TAMANNA has announced the launch of its online shopping site tamanna.com with
UAE-based Carrefour has opened a new store at the world’s busiest international
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister
UAE-based RAW recently announced that it would be extending its GCC operations,
The once powerful department stores that anchored malls and streets around the
LinkedIn’s Top Companies 2021 list for the UAE, which identifies the best places
Words by Hozefa Saylawala – Middle East Sales Director, Zebra Technologies By the