The growth of e-commerce and how it complements physical retail

Fast, affordable and reliable delivery options have supported the trend

By Ahmed Al Khaja

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The idea of being able to shop anywhere, at any time has made ecommerce an attractive, trusted proposition.
The idea of being able to shop anywhere, at any time has made ecommerce an attractive, trusted proposition.

Published: Mon 24 Apr 2023, 12:28 PM

Last updated: Mon 24 Apr 2023, 12:29 PM

The impressive rise of e-commerce has transformed the way retail is conducted and become one of the major disruptive influences on how we shop.

Technology is a central component of that success, with advancements in logistics and widespread use of mobile phones adding a turbo boost to online retail. That successful evolution has been perfectly packaged in the Ramadan Edition of the Great Online Sale — a three day sale across Dubai’s e-commerce platforms that took place from April 14 to 16. Hosted by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), the first ever edition of this sale highlighted the convenience of e-commerce that has made it a regular way of shopping for many.

Confidence in the market is a key driver, with more consumers becoming at ease with online shopping and prepared to make big ticket purchases via the internet than ever before.

Fast, affordable and reliable delivery options have also supported the trend, with many retailers across the UAE offering same-day or next-day delivery options, and convenient product return principles.

The idea of being able to shop anywhere, at any time has made ecommerce an attractive, trusted proposition. And with discounts and promotions becoming a regular theme, such as those that were on offer during the Great Online Sale — that trend is set to continue to enjoy an upward tick.

Amid this sea of change, it is clear that e-commerce has not replaced physical retail — but instead complemented it in a new symbiotic relationship. The growth of e-commerce has provided businesses with new opportunities to reach customers beyond their geographic location. It has expanded the potential customer base for businesses, enabling them to grow and broaden their reach to engage with a much larger audience across multiple digital media platforms.

Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment. - Supplied photo
Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment. - Supplied photo

The focus of our annual retail calendar in Dubai has always been to enhance the physical retail experience. Every year through our festival programme, we support retail with everything from attractions, to art installations and live music events to help drive footfall, working in close partnership with malls across the city. We do it to help the retail industry thrive and also to support the city’s tourism ambitions - we know visitors choose a destination based on the breadth of experience it offers, and that shopping is integral to that decision making.

Now e-commerce also has a role to play supporting the tourism economy with visitors being able to buy products that may not be available at home from the comfort of their sunlounger or hotel room - with fast and reliable delivery to their door. We want to support this shift - with activations like the Great Online Sale - as we focus on Dubai becoming the best city in the world to live, work and visit.

Many incredible e-stores and brands took part in the inaugural Great Online Sale including Ounass.ae, Noon.com, Azadea.com, 6thStreet.com, Namshi.com, Mall Of The Emirates, Mom Store, The Red Carpet, V Perfume, Carrefour.ae, Virgin Megastore, Jumbo, Lacoste, Centrepoint, Puma and many more — shoppers in Dubai enjoyed shopping and taking advantage of incredible deals in the way that best suited their needs.

The writer is CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE)


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