Create inviting atmosphere for shoppers, UAE experts advise
Nisreen Shocair, President, Virgin Megastore, MENA talks about "Creating a Company Culture and a Brand Purpose that Can Move the Customer and the Bottom Line" during the GCC Retail Leaders Meet at The St. Regis Hotel in Dubai on Tuesday 22, March, 2016. Photo by Juidin Bernarrd
Dubai - Nisreen Shocair, president of Virgin Megastores for the Mena region, also talked about how millennials today are some of the smartest and most informed shoppers.
Shoppers like to feel that they are welcomed and valued when they walk into a retail destination, so it is crucial for retailers to ensure that their stores boast an inviting environment, experts at the Retail Leaders Circle (RLC) event in Dubai advised.
Nisreen Shocair, president of Virgin Megastores for the Mena region, revealed that over 64 per cent of customers in the region think that customer experience is more important than price, which is why retailers can't afford to have a poor retail culture. She also revealed that 89 per cent of customers had no trouble switching a brand if they felt that they had gone through a poor customer experience; while 55 per cent of customers preferred to buy items from a merchant with a physical store over an online retailer. "Every time you walk into a Virgin store, you will find something new and something exciting, and this is what retail is all about," she said. "We have a lot of events going on in our stores, and the challenge has always been to keep things interesting and engaging for our customers."
Shocair also talked about how millennials today are some of the smartest and most informed shoppers. "Young people love fashion, especially if it is new, trendy, and affordable. However, today they are more conscious about what they are buying. They want to know where the product comes from and if it was manufactured in a country that treated its employees fairly and paid them well. Six out of ten millennials said that a sense of purpose is the reason they prefer one retailer over a competitor, so there is a lot of pressure on retailers to be seen doing good."
She also noted how retailers catering to the teen segment in the region have to face an enormous set of challenges. "The youth of today are very trend driven and influenced by celebrities. What they want changes often and it changes fast; every month there will be something new. A new advertisement is aired at the Super Bowl? The calls come in the next day, asking if we have that particular product in our stores."
Shocair also cautioned that it is dangerous for young brands to have their ideas generated at the top levels of management. Good creative ideas, she said, come from young teams working in the store that are in touch with what customers like and need.
Like Shocair, Andrea Bernholtz, the CEO of Titan Industries, highlighted the importance of a brand's store atmosphere.
"Nowadays, retailers are under enormous pressure due to the fact that a lot more people shop for the items they want online, and they are concerned that their stores are almost like showrooms. This is why it is soo important to ensure that you provide an exceptional sales experience that helps build brand loyalty." She also talked about how it is important to stay true to your brand, but at the same time ensure that you are evolving in light of the new trends around you.