Meet global consumers in UAE

Reuters file photo
Reuters file photo

Changing dynamics of the UAE’s marketing sector is a great case study for consumer intelligence.



by

Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Fri 19 Nov 2021, 4:53 PM

Last updated: Fri 19 Nov 2021, 6:08 PM

The UAE is a melting pot of different cultures and understandably, diverse consumers. Whether at a coffee shop or inside a mall, it’s not hard to spot customers with varied tastes and of different age groups, ethnicities and nationalities.

So, how the salespeople in the UAE are trained or coached, especially post-Covid, to not only approach a wide-ranging consumer base but to also do a successful sale? What are the parameters to determine a potential sale in an extremely competitive place like the UAE? What propels shoppers in purchasing maximum good or services?

Answering these questions is an uphill task and the dynamics of marketing has changed ever since the pandemic struck. The UAE was compelled to adapt to changing trends in marketing as the pandemic unfolded the unexpected adoption to digitisation. Now, there are some who prefer shopping at the mall while there are others who like online shopping which also evolved and catered to the convenience of the consumer.

Many retail sectors encounter a high influx of customers, be it offline or online, on daily basis, so is it possible to give a personalised service to every customer, for instance, hairdressers, waiters, auto salesperson, banking and many more.

wknd. spoke to sales professionals, consumers, and marketing experts to find out what they desire to maintain loyalty to their favourite brands and what kind of sales service they desire to offer their consumers?

Professionals

Sharjah-based Niloo, who is in her 40s, is a beautician with a reputed salon, and takes pride in serving her customers who come from diverse backgrounds — mind you, she does not have a professional degree in marketing, and yet has a huge clientele. “Whatever be the price of most costly service in my salon, if I don’t offer service purely on the objective to retain the customer, then nothing will work. A simple lesson has taken me a long way that each customer can be converted into a loyal customer.”

Dubai-based Qaiser at his work place.
Dubai-based Qaiser at his work place.

Similarly Dubai-based Qaiser, also a hairdresser, explains that he serves only a certain number of customers daily. “I am compelled to deliver the best to every customer I cater to sustain my customer base. Every customer is unique and so are their preferences, but experience is the best coach that teaches us to boldly cater to anyone who reaches out.”

Automobile sales expert Sameer Ghag.
Automobile sales expert Sameer Ghag.

Automobile sales expert Sameer Ghag said: “When a customer walks up to me for buying a vehicle, I never judge people with what they wear or what they drive. Some of my best deals have happened with unexpected customers. Dubai teaches you to be resilient and helps you put your best foot forward.”

Kessington Gabriels Isiayei.
Kessington Gabriels Isiayei.

Interaction makes shopping interesting

The rich experience while shopping leaves lasting memories, endorsing what Dubai resident Kessington Gabriels Isiayei said: “I usually enjoy the interactive experience I get when visiting stores and meeting the customer services staff who try their best to introduce me to the possibilities of a product. Online shopping for me has always been a secondary point of shopping for when I want something that is either not readily available in stores or would take me too much time going to get it, and I have the luxury of waiting a few days for it to arrive. When shopping in the stores, you get to interact with new gadgets, see it physically and it takes away that uncertainty of the product not fitting the description or needing to return it, should it arrive defective.

Isiayei added that going to a mall or a souk introduces people to that familiarity with the outdoors which everyone has been craving for more than a whole year due to the Covid pandemic, and it provides that wow factor you get when you meet an interesting sales person who can spice up the process in his own human-like way, and you get the sudden warm feeling seeing a kid pushing a mini cart as you would see these days in Carrefour supermarkets.

Consumers expect personalised experience while shopping, be it in malls or online, and enhancing the same is key to boosting sales. “Shopping online, if it’s not Amazon or Noon, I usually am too sceptical because there are too many people selling fake stuff with great reviews that makes it a headache to purchase from just any site online. But if you walk into a shop, you can tell if what you got is the real deal. I would usually be able to go back, to ask for a refund if what I bought prove defective,” said Isiayei.

Nousheen Mukhtar, founder of Nousheen Mukhtar Marketing International.
Nousheen Mukhtar, founder of Nousheen Mukhtar Marketing International.

Similarly, Dubai resident Nousheen Mukhtar, founder of Nousheen Mukhtar Marketing International, said: “When it comes to buying goods, I will select a vendor that promises quality, durability, and standards that meets expectations. Ease in shopping matters a lot, as the products or services have to be well-defined and described to help in making choices. Well-informed sales service is priceless. I like being helped by the salesmen who make an extra effort in explaining the properties and honest benefits of products.”

Ritesh Mohan.
Ritesh Mohan.

Marketing experts

Dubai resident Ritesh Mohan (aka Retail Ritesh) is a passionate retail professional with over 23 years in the sector. An author of the book Simplifying Retail, he has written many articles on retail management.

“Dubai has always been a shopper’s paradise when it comes to shopping for fashion, beauty, and luxury goods. The evolution of retail in the Emirates started from traditional souk to high street retail and finally evolved to the malls, super-regional malls, leading to the world’s biggest shopping mall,” Mohan said.

The Emirates has seen it all — traditional souks, high streets malls, the emergence of e-commerce and experiential retail, he added. With the UAE opening its doors post-pandemic and welcoming the world to see the great exhibition, Expo 2020 Dubai, one of the main sectors which tend to benefit is retail.

Retail can be divided into fashion, food, or even F&B retail with restaurants offering their gastronomical varieties of cuisines from all across the globe. Dubai is fast becoming the food capital of the world wherein shoppers can relish their favourite cuisines from across the globe.

Kishore Dharmarajan, CEO of SeoSouq.com.
Kishore Dharmarajan, CEO of SeoSouq.com.

Kishore Dharmarajan, CEO of SeoSouq.com, said: “Marketing at its core is using messages to push emotional buying buttons, and brands that master this art will win. As emotions are universal in nature, a good message will always appeal to global consumers. As advertising clutter increases, brands will have to become even more empathetic with their messages and use personalisation to deliver it in the most receptive format. Retail brands that venture into the metaverse and tap into the power of new modes of communication will win.”

Phil Bedford, Master Franchisee Asentiv GCC and founder of The Rebel Networker.
Phil Bedford, Master Franchisee Asentiv GCC and founder of The Rebel Networker.

Online shopping: A new normal

“People have become so much more comfortable with the online purchasing space due to restrictions in movement during Covid lockdowns. This will increase the opportunity for e-commerce due to new confidence in online products. Mainly because people were forced to become comfortable with the unknown,” said, Phil Bedford, Master Franchisee Asentiv GCC and founder of The Rebel Networker.

A hidden benefit going forward is that people have believed that real-world relationships, meetings, and networking became less needed and less important (since the rise of social media). Due to being confined to the digital world for so long (2020 and 2021) the human part of our soul has fought back and people are reading the importance of meeting face to face in the real world with clients to discuss prospects, he added.

“The change for business moving forward is an even more amended approach to business with a larger proportion of people being comfortable where the online and offline approach to business is in sync rather than an either or approach. In the UAE, due to the rise of digital meetings such as Zoom, business will become more efficient and the work from home or from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world has become more of a reality,” concluded Bedford. — sandhya@khaleejtimes.com


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