UAE: Retailers revamp online, omnichannel strategies to deal with demand surge

Consumers are also shopping in radically new ways, underlined by the surge in online shopping, GMG says

by

Somshankar Bandyopadhyay

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A Geant hypermarket at the Dubai Hills Mall. Personal wellness and home cooking iterms are in strong demand this Ramadan. - Supplied photo
A Geant hypermarket at the Dubai Hills Mall. Personal wellness and home cooking iterms are in strong demand this Ramadan. - Supplied photo

Published: Fri 14 Apr 2023, 10:30 AM

In the UAE and across the region, the sudden uptick in volume demands during busy shopping periods such as Ramadan and Eid, combined with the introduction of seasonal goods and changes in many employee working hours, have forced retailers to re-evaluate their digital as well as omnichannel experience strategies. Consumers are also shopping in radically new ways, underlined by the surge in online shopping.

“These trends highlight that, besides continuing to focus on demand planning, inventory management, and fulfillment forecasting, retailers must also invest in the right technology upgrades to develop agile systems to meet consumer expectations,” Marc Laurent, President, Retail - Everyday Goods at GMG told Khaleej Times in an interview.


Excerpts:

With supply chain issues becoming a major sticking point, how has this affected shipments to the UAE, especially during Ramadan?


The Covid-19 pandemic, as well as recent socio-political disruptions around the world, have shifted the priorities of many supply chain operators. More than ever, we need to balance cost and operational efficiency with greater supply chain resilience.

For GMG, the supply chain is not an obstacle to overcome - it is a catalyst for our transformation and an integral part of our new corporate strategy. GMG’s rapidly expanding logistics arm, Trilogi, which operates across the MENA and Asia regions, shifts thousands of tonnes of goods yearly through a sophisticated supply chain network. We follow a decentralized supply chain model with warehouses closer to our customers in each market, while also ensuring we are attuned to the trends within the logistics industry.

Marc Laurent, President, Retail - Everyday Goods at GMG. - Supplied photo
Marc Laurent, President, Retail - Everyday Goods at GMG. - Supplied photo

Recent research has suggested that promotional periods like Ramadan account for a sizeable of annual sales. How are your expecting to capitalise on this trend?

Through our GMG Everyday Goods’ retail division, we see shoppers embracing the “Ramadan feeling,” which is in abundance across our 18 Géant and 22 aswaaq supermarkets. We know our consumers value variety and convenience. Therefore, we have introduced various offers - shoppers can avail of 50 percent discount or more on everything from fresh and dry food to electronics and homeware, as well as unbeatable offers on over 2000 Ramadan essential groceries such like oil, canned goods, pulses, rice, dates and more.

What are the products that are in high demand during Ramadan?

Through GMG’s own operations, we are seeing an increasing appetite from people in home cooking during Ramadan. There is a rise in purchases of ingredients that people can cook at home together with their loved ones whether families or friends including home-cooked meal kits. Likewise, initial insights from our sports division show mounting interest in athletic wear, home exercise equipment, and other sports accessories in Ramadan compared to just the month before. Health-conscious consumers in the UAE continue to include immunity-boosting supplements and vitamin products in their daily lives. All of these purchasing behaviours suggest that our community has, in fact, been utilising Ramadan as a time to refocus on their personal wellness.


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