Witnessing & empowering the growing retail landscape


January 19, 2024 | By RetailME Bureau

View From the Top panel discussion at SRF 2023

Being a Founder / CEO comes with its fair share of challenges and opportunities. And in the ever-evolving world of retail, the stakes are quite high. The opening session at the Saudi Retail Forum 2023 brought together a power-packed panel of leaders from the retail fraternity, who presented their vision and thought-points to highlight their growth stories. Here’s a look at what they had to say.

Session moderator Basel Hijazi Retail Marketing Lead, Google touched upon the massive transformation that retail is undergoing in the Kingdom and how every company in their own way is pivoting the change.

When asked how he is seeing this region transform compared to Europe, Dr. Günther Helm CEO – Cenomi Retail mentioned, “KSA is different when it comes to comparing this country to Europe. In fact, retail is one of the key pillars driving the big change in this region and it mirrors society and its changing facets. The Kingdom is opening at every juncture, there is more openness to approaches and how people are looking at the growing landscape of retail. The workforce and their intention to join the growth story of retail is very evident and that is collaboratively working towards making this growth a reality.”

“Saudi Arabia is changing very rapidly and the whole landscape is undergoing massive change at every juncture, across segments. But walking towards Vision 2030, one of the massive changes that we have witnessed in the Kingdom is the changing dynamics of the workforce. Women have started to confidently lead from the front in every segment, and job role. Women in the Kingdom are now taking over entrepreneurship roles without any reservations and going forward to rule with power. This is a big shift and will continue in the future. But what becomes relevant here is the role of retail in supporting women and helping them grow through the ranks,” added Frederic Levy-Perrault CEO, Alraya Supermarket.

Majed M. Al Tahan Co-founder & MD, AYM touched upon the vital aspect of customer service and standing up to the expectations of the customer by providing the right service. He said, “When looking at an evolving landscape and that too a fast-changing one like KSA, it is important to stand up with agility and adapt to the changes very quickly. It is very important to have the right tools in hand and invest in a customer service team that stands up to the occasion with performance and the right attitude. Moreover, it is important to consider that in retail tailored services have a big perceived value and when you personalise by understanding real customer data it always helps to get good results.”

Ronny Froehlich Co-founder & Managing Director GoldenScent also agreed with the others and added, “Evolution is a constant phenomenon when it comes to retail, and it only got accelerated in a market like KSA. So, it is important for us to stand tall to these evolving trends and the changing customer expectations. We have always been a frontrunner in the e-commerce category and have been driving the change in KSA by pleasing the customer with the right products and by servicing them with agility. We are happy to report that what started with customers shopping online from their desktops has now transformed to handheld devices today and that is only getting better and quicker with more touchpoints opening up to support digital commerce.”

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