Challenges and Changes in Retail Space

June 15, 2022 | Retail

The retail sphere has changed greatly over the last few decades, ranging from a greater reliance on technology to minimalist environments. While these changes may seem like obstacles to overcome, they are actually the perfect canvas for you to push your retail game to the next level. Read on to learn how to incorporate these changes to the retail landscape into your business.

Location, Location, Location

One of the newest innovations in the retail world is the emphasis on pop-up shops. Rather than worrying about staying in one location for years on end or pulling together enough capital to get into a building, more retail owners are looking to open up pop-up stores, such as Fashion Forward Dubai. Pop up locations are an excellent tool if you’re looking to put your foot in the water of retail as well, giving you a chance to feel out what it might be like to set up a permanent store in that place.

Supply chain problems

If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s how precious the supply chain truly is. Retailers have faced issues with every step of the selling process, ranging from purchasing inventory to keeping up with customer demands. Saudi Arabian retailers and producers have taken notice and are working hard to combat these issues from becoming problems in the future. From taking steps to prevent supply chain disruption to ensuring faster shipping, many retailers are taking this time to fix issues in their companies they didn’t even know existed.

Going local

Many retailers are finding that people aren’t necessarily interested in foreign-made goods anymore, instead turning their focus to local products. Retailers are taking note of these change as well, taking the time to source and stock products that have been made by people in their country. The main market this isn’t affecting (at least in Saudi Arabia)? The food sector. Most consumers in Saudi Arabia were already purchasing from local food suppliers. For those who prefer foreign imports, the Saudi Arabian government has kindly suggested they opt for local food products.

Digital takeover

E-Commerce is quickly becoming a staple in many Saudi Arabian homes. An estimated 28.4 million Saudi Arabians were ordering products online in 2021, and that number is expected to grow to 34.5 million by 2025. Although e-commerce may feel like an uphill battle for brick-and-mortar stores, opening an online shop can help increase revenues and ensure company longevity.

Finding the right tech solutions

There are hundreds of technology solutions available to retailers in the Middle East. From social media apps to NPC cards, people are readily incorporating different technology into their spending habits. Businesses have an assortment of options they can select when looking for technological solutions for their companies as well. From improved software that automates mundane managerial tasks to smart shelf labeling, retailers can feel overwhelmed with all the new options available. This is where a retail strategy consultant can come in handy, offering businesses the tools they need to select the right tech products for their companies.

Maintaining a customer base

Brand loyalty is becoming one of the most important assets a business can have, showing how returning customers keep coming back. In the past, many business owners looked to bring customers inside their store but didn’t think about how they were going to keep their customers coming back. Today, businesses are looking for innovative solutions to get customers to keep coming back, ranging from rewards cards to apps offering discounts.

Changing customer expectations

Closely related to brand loyalty, customer expectations have greatly changed over the last several decades. Customers are now demanding more from their brands, causing many to look for innovative solutions to satisfy their customers’ needs. From adding new products that match seasonal trends to keeping track of shopping behaviors, businesses now need to ensure their finger is on the pulse of customer wants.

Digital marketing

Long gone are the days of print and television ads. Instead, more and more businesses are finding they need to switch over to digital marketing methods. Email and social media continue to be popular as they allow a way for customers to connect directly with the business, increasing their loyalty to the brand as well. Furthermore, brands can now look at more customer data, learning about their ideal customer as well as any pain points they may have.

Inspiring and retaining employees

For a long time, Saudi Arabian jobs in the retail sphere have been held by foreigners. However, the Saudi government has been looking to change that since 2018, ensuring that more Saudi women are in the retail workforce while lowering the unemployment rate. While retail has a high turnover rate, more and more businesses are looking to keep employees engaged by continuing training and opening communication channels.

Internal communications

The days of primarily relying on email for internal communications are long gone for many industries, including the retail sector. Instead, many companies are turning to apps for their communication systems, allowing people to talk to one another without sharing phone numbers. Furthermore, ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems that allow them to communicate while centralizing information handling into one location.

Outdated visual merchandising

Visual merchandising on store displays and passe visual elements simply isn’t enough to bring people in anymore. Instead, retail locations need to invest in quality displays that grab people’s attention once they are in the store. However, retailers need to use these displays in conjunction with digital marketing techniques to showcase products as well. This ensures that people see the products that are available as well as ensuring everything is branded to reflect the company’s values.

While the retail sector is undergoing drastic changes due to the pandemic and a deeper reliance on technology for purchases, retail store owners can stay ahead of the curve by making changes to their stores. From focusing on digital marketing to testing the waters with pop-up locations, store owners have a variety of methods to overcome certain roadblocks. To help streamline this process even more, store owners should consider hiring a retail management consultant.

Retail Consulting Services

We believe that retailers should evolve at the same or faster pace to remain on top of the consumer market and meet the expectations of an ever-changing clientele. Ollen Group is one of the leading retail management consultant firms in the Middle East & Africa region (MEA) offering retail design services with turnkey solutions from strategy to execution. Our retail business consultant will help your through your journey.

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