Retail reality 2021
Going glocal, customer experience focus, and ecommerce will be in vogue, points out Shehbaz Shaikh, Chief Retail Officer at Redtag
In 2020, the GCC's retail industry responded to the challenges resulting from the pandemic by accelerating digitisation and focusing on delivering exceptional customer experiences. Redtag, one of the region's favourite homegrown value fashion and homeware brands, stands out particularly, as having addressed this evolution in Middle East retail with great success.
Shehbaz Shaikh, Chief Retail Officer at Redtag, believes that retail trends in 2021 will be influenced considerably by the previous year's experiences.
"Retailers will need to be proactive in addressing rising customer expectations," said Shehbaz. "A better and more holistic approach to service, seamless shopping experiences, omnichannel and blended shopping options, shorter delivery times, and more engaging experiences, is what our customers expect. And the industry will need to adopt appropriate solutions, to meet and exceed these expectations."
The retail industry was also affected by disruptions in its supply chains during 2020. As a fashion and homeware brand that was accustomed to sourcing products and materials globally, Redtag responded by adapting its strategy. "Retailers will continue to have to be creative in designing and promoting new and improved products and being flexible, agile and responsive to dynamic market conditions, Shehbaz continued. "We also expect a rise in tech-driven strategies to enhance customer experience."
"Fortunately, before the pandemic hit, we were well along the path of e-commerce expansion in response to changes in demography and customer preferences. And Redtag experienced strong growth in its online retail during the lockdown period. Now, with the economy having reopened, our customers are returning in great numbers to our physical stores as well," Shehbaz added.
Redtag's customer loyalty scheme, called RT Rewards, has been exceptionally successful and currently boasts over 14 million members across the GCC. This has allowed the brand to engage with customers effectively and gain a deeper understanding of their preferences and shopping habits. With a significant volume of direct input from customers available as data, Redtag has been able to set the benchmark in tailoring its customer engagement and the ability to respond to specific wants and needs.
"As a brand, we have made a conscious effort to 'delight' our customers, which means going beyond mere engagement", Shehbaz said.
"Take our 'Anytime, Anywhere Returns' policy, with no questions asked and no time limits. Many in the industry thought this would result in sky-rocketing returns months after purchase. We chose to trust our customers instead, and 90 per cent of our sales are now from repeat custom."
Redtag has undertaken several unique customer-facing initiatives in its quest to delight its loyal fan base. High-spending customers get instant gifts in-store, and new customers get on-the-spot gifts as well. All of Redtag's home deliveries are free, and they also offer personal stylist services. In fact, Redtag is one of the very few value brands to offer such 'extras' as standard services, and the company has several new initiatives, which it hopes to implement in the near future.
"As a brand, Redtag will continue to deliver exceptional value and great customer engagement. We have focused on enhancing in-store as well as online customer experiences. And after the success of our online business in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, this year we are looking to offer this convenience to customers in other GCC countries as well," Shehbaz concluded.
Redtag's customer loyalty scheme, called RT Rewards, has been exceptionally successful and currently boasts over 14 million members across the GCC. This has allowed the brand to engage with customers effectively and gain a deeper understanding of their preferences and shopping habits.
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