DSF has much to gain from online shopping

The touch and feel of shopping is now limited to point and click.

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Published: Wed 27 Dec 2017, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 2 Jan 2018, 4:56 PM

How can Dubai set the bar higher after pioneering a retail revolution in the Middle East 23 years ago through the Dubai Shopping Festival? The annual gala is still going strong; interest is still high among consumers and retailers. Great deals are being offered; there are bargains galore as crowds throng stores for the touch and feel of some great products and even bigger discounts. But the shopping landscape is changing - e-commerce is revolutionising the way people purchase goods from the comfort of their homes, on their smartphones. We move as we shop these days on our devices, clicking from product to product - looking, salivating, transacting, and buying. Let's admit it. We've become lazy shoppers. Indeed, it's a virtual, technological shift that is taking the world by storm.
The touch and feel of shopping is now limited to point and click. The product is delivered and customers are delighted. Retailers in the UAE have also been busy joining the digital bandwagon this past year. Amazon, the world's largest e-commerce giant, is here, and is set to redefine the shopping experience for the customer and seller in the long run. Imagine a drone delivering your Christmas gift next year. It's not the stuff of dreams but is happening at a rapid pace. This poses both a challenge and opportunity for DSF, which should exploit the e-commerce boom to its advantage. It needs partners in the digital space and the festival could add to its bumper profits by embracing online sales. The challenge would be keep the allure and tradition of real shopping alive with the advent of e-sales. Would traditional shoppers still head out to malls when they can purchase online? Real shopping is about the experience, digital is about speed. What then happens to malls? They could serve dual purposes as entertainment and shopping centres, a kind of shopping bait. The possibilities are endless for the DSF, which could take Dubai's pioneering spirit online and rake in profits while attracting more visitors to this hip and happening city.

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