Digital transformation facilitated growth for Jumbo Group, the UAE-based diversified business conglomerate. “In August, we grew 12% year-on-year,” shares Arvind Agrawal, CEO, Jumbo Group.
“We embarked on our digital transformation journey over two years ago, which has helped us to remain resilient amid significant disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he continues. “As the brick-and-mortar stores were temporarily closed for a certain period of time during the lockdown, our e-commerce channel performed really well. Our online sales were up five times between April-and-June, compared to the same period in 2019. Whereas, the overall e-commerce market for consumer electronics in the UAE was up 2.5 times, as per GfK estimates.”
Jumbo Group was swift to introduce services like curbside pick-up. “During the lockdown, our curbside pick-up service performed really well, offering contactless delivery outside the store. Over the past month, the volume of curbside pick-up has stabilised,” says Agrawal.
During the lockdown period – April-June – there was a huge demand for electronic and technology products – such as laptops, tablets, printers – as customers needed these items to undertake virtual learning and remote working. Even network infrastructure was under pressure as most people were operating from home, so customers opted to upgrade their routers. This was followed by a huge demand for entertainment devices and then small domestic appliances. “Luckily, we had already implemented an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled last-mile delivery tool that ensures optimum efficiency in route planning based on customer preferences – location, timing etc. Our Express Delivery service, which offers delivery within four hours, also did quite well during the lockdown. On the other hand, after the malls reopened, the click & collect service has increased by 30%,” Agrawal states.
Jumbo Group’s digital transformation strategy places a lot of emphasis on convenience. For instance, the Group has implemented the endless aisle concept, wherein all products aren’t displayed in the store, but the customer can browse the full range and place an order from the store or online, opting for doorstep delivery. “Although we had implemented the endless aisle concept a long time ago, it increased by approximately 40% during the lockdown period,” Agrawal points out. The endless aisle feature can also change the form factor of a store. That could be a huge change; since the rentals are quite high, the endless aisle concept can help in reducing the size of the stores.
“The advantage of brick-and-mortar is service. No wonder that the brick-and-mortar channel still accounts for 82% of retail sales. E-commerce accounts for 18% of the total retail sales – up from 12% in 2019 – driven by COVID-19 related changes in consumer buying behaviour,” Agrawal elaborates. “However, going forward, we will evaluate our store network carefully – creating a mix of few large flagship stores along with small, but digitally-enabled stores creating a seamless experience. After all, the need of the hour is to unify the customer experience, irrespective of the shopping channel.”
Further, Jumbo has already put in place a feature that offers customers a highly personalised experience online by offering recommendations based on purchase patterns and preferences and so on. In order to unify the personalised experience online and offline, the displays at the Jumbo store in The Galleria, Al Maryah Island are in sync with the website. This feature will be gradually extended across the entire Jumbo store network.
“We have also invested in a sophisticated CRM (customer relationship management) system, marketing cloud-based tool alongside leveraging AI and machine learning tools across the channels to offer great and unified customer service. What’s more, the service level is enhanced through the human touch, coupled with data-driven decisions,” Agrawal explains.
When asked how Jumbo Group is becoming future-ready through its digital transformation exercise, Agrawal states, “It’s a continuous process of improvement. It will require continuous investments. And we have been able to perform exceptionally well even amidst the on-going pandemic due to the technology-oriented investments that we have made.”
“As a massive crisis disrupted the industry and speedy adjustments were required in line with the governmental guidelines, in the initial days, it was crucial for us to ensure that our teams were safe and they could work efficiently. We, fortunately, had several digital technologies that aided the process, eventually facilitating our growth,” Agrawal concludes reaffirming that, indeed, digital transformation facilitated growth for Jumbo Group.