Online vs Offline Retail Economy in Dubai
I will start this series of posts with a personal purchasing decision I made. I recently had a discussion with our office manager that we should install a security camera to in the office, however, nothing came of the conversation and we agreed to touch base in the near future. I then happened to pass by Dubai Mall to grab a quick lunch from the deli in Waitrose and saw the recently opened Apple store in all of its shining glory and decided to pop in to pay my respects to this new “beacon” in Dubai. I had no intent of buying anything and was just strolling the minimalistic and simplistic merchandising of the store. I came to a section of shelves called “Smart Home” and saw a camera device which I started to read the instructions to at the back of the box. Could this be a quick and easy fix to the discussion I had with the office manager?
I then proceeded to find a sales assistant (I also believe he was an “Apple Genius”) to ask if this could be used for the exact purposes I needed it for and a simple question of how long the video recording lasted for in the memory or the icloud. He didn’t have the answers and proceeded to google search my question. As our conversation progressed over the next few minutes as he couldn’t find the information I had asked he mentioned that they also carried another product which may suit me…. but it wasn’t in stock.
Frustrated with the lack of information and the fact that he was googling my questions I pulled out my own phone and found the website of the product, confirmed it had the features I needed, went on to SOUQ.com to find out it was available for delivery within 4 days and new the cost all within a few minutes. I left the store feeling like the interaction had been a complete waste of my time and by the time I walked from Dubai Mall to my nearby office my order was already being processed online.
This made me think that after the evolution of the e-commerce ecosystem in Dubai and the region in the past few years what will the future of the bricks and mortar retail world be like over the next 5, 10 and 50 years time? If it is easier and faster for a consumer to make a fully informed purchasing decision online how will the traditional retail model survive?
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!