Riding high on retail boom, UAE to host Smart Stores Expo

Riding high on retail boom, UAE to host first Smart Stores Expo (1) copy

Emirates Business

Positive economic outlooks, remarkable increase in tourist footfall, rise in per capita income combined with altering consumer behaviours, are together acting as a positive growth catalyst for the retail sector in the UAE.
Gauging the immense potential of this sector, corporates are giving sufficient impetus upon improving their facilities and offering customers one of the best shopping experiences.As much as 26 percent of the new store owners in the UAE are giving top importance to the well-trained staff while another 24 percent are putting emphasis upon the back office hardware and software, as factors that are most essential for day-to-day retail operations.
These industry finding are part of a survey conducted by Virtual Info Systems (VIS), as it announces the launch of the first Smart Stores Expo (SSE) in Abu Dhabi in January 2017. SSE would be a dedicated exhibition for suppliers to the region’s booming retail industry.
“SSE is designed in such a way that it will cater to all aspects of the retail industry in the region including providers of smart products, services, equipment and solutions to existing as well as new businesses,” said Jayaraman Nair, Chairman — VIS Exhibitions and Conferences. “The idea for the exhibition came up as we identified a gap in the market when we realised that it would benefit the industry to have all the suppliers in one place. This means a new entrant into the market need not run in multiple directions trying to set up a venture,” added Nair.
VIS survey also found that 18 percent of store owners place importance in ERP (enterprise resource planning) and merchandise management, with logistics at 15 percent.
The survey of potential exhibitors highlights that 15 percent are looking to promote their retail security solutions, supply chain and logistics suppliers stood at 11 percent. Retail design and fabrication suppliers are at 10 percent, followed by furniture and fittings at 9 percent, and signage at 8 percent
“The UAE has been found to be the eighth most-popular global location among international retailers, the highest in the Middle East. This also makes it one of the most lucrative regional markets for foreign investors. With retail sales, according to reports, expected to reach US$284.5 billion by 2018, the need to meet the growing demand for consumer goods has led to a boom in planned shopping mall developments here,” pointed out Nair. Among new store owners, virtual merchandising was a priority for 35 percent, whereas the size of the store stood at 27 percent. 25 percent of the suppliers also wanted to meet consumer electronics stores owners, and 23 percent preferred supermarkets and hypermarkets.
SSE 2017 is categorically designed to offer four broad categories of exhibitors’ profile: Smart store design, smart store technologies, smart store services and smart virtual stores.

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