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Executive Chairman of the Gulf Marketing Group at Al-Eqtisadi: Digital channels are essential for the sustainability of the retail sector. Today, Sunday, September 27, 2020, 01:06 a.m.
History: 27th September 2020
Mohamed Baqer, Vice Chairman and CEO of the “Gulf Marketing Group”, confirmed that the most prominent changes that will appear, even after removing the restrictions imposed by the “Covid 19” pandemic, is the wide spread of electronic retail channels. He pointed out that the retail trade needs to be very popular, so it cannot maintain its sustainability without adopting digital channels.
Baqer said, in statements to “Al-Bayan Al-Eqtisadiya”, that the growth of e-commerce has emerged as a global trend for many years, yet the pandemic has prompted retail trade to quickly adopt it, pointing out that the Gulf region is moving very quickly more than ever before towards the retail trade. Through multiple channels, and adopting traditional and digital shopping channels, to meet the needs of consumers, wherever they are, and this is a positive development, which we can all benefit from.
“The retail sector in the Gulf region has always been dynamic, and it is a vital part of the national economies. This year has witnessed significant changes in consumer behavior as a result of the outbreak of the epidemic, and these changes are likely to continue in the medium and long terms. Therefore, it is imperative for this sector to find the best ways to provide service to customers, while preserving the long-term sustainability of the economy.
On the group’s efforts to keep pace with these trends, Baqer said: We are fortunate to have realized for a long time the value of a retail strategy across multiple channels. This approach shows the desire of consumers to have the ability to buy products from the place that gives them convenience, ease and pleasure, whether in a traditional store or an e-commerce platform, or even through social media.
He added: “E-commerce has traditionally represented only a fraction of our total sales. However, we realized long ago that e-commerce will achieve high growth rates and enhance its presence in our lives. Our business sector has given a large share of support to this development over the years, and the “Covid 19” epidemic was nothing but an accelerator for this transformation in the “Gulf Marketing Group”, throughout the Gulf region.
For us, we were not concerned with striking a certain balance, or achieving a certain percentage of sales, via e-commerce, versus traditional retail. Regardless of the shopping channel, our priority has always been to provide a seamless, reliable and engaging experience, wherever our customers want to shop.
Baqer noted that government agencies in the UAE have adopted the best possible methodology to protect the general welfare and the viability of doing business in the long term. He praised these efforts, which came in difficult times. For the health sector, the government has implemented robust safety policies, provided high-quality testing, and mobilized public infrastructure resources to support those recovering from the virus.
As for the economy, the government has moved quickly to identify areas where efficiency can be achieved and where fiscal stimulus is most effective. The most prominent economic priority is the relentless cooperation between the public and private sectors, not only to recover, but to develop new policies and initiatives that could lead to more sustainable growth in the future.
As is the case for the region and the world’s economy, the Gulf Marketing Group has been affected by the outbreak of “Covid 19”, according to Baqer, who said: Our daily operations, along with the priorities of our partners, suppliers and customers, continued to evolve, as societies continued to make unremitting efforts to respond to the repercussions of the outbreak.
The temporary closure of many retail outlets posed great challenges to our business, despite the fact that this closure is an imperative, to face the difficult situation. Therefore, we have had to adjust some processes, within the international supply chain, to align with international trade policies. He added: However, in the end, we wanted to create a valuable opportunity in the comprehensive closures, to review and improve our fields of work.
Regarding the strategy adopted by the group to deal with the repercussions of the pandemic, and to ensure business continuity, Baqer said: As a member of the Gulf retail sector, we believe in our duty to commit to supporting its long-term vitality.
There is daily new change, which we must adapt to, and new issues also arise, which impose that we must solve them. What is certain is the urgent need for cooperation in the sector, as I have spent a lot of time in this sector, during which I made sure to cooperate with government agencies, industrial bodies, brand partners and others.
He added: Within the “Gulf Marketing Group”, we have employed digital platforms to overcome many of the challenges that our work teams faced, especially those who deal directly with customers, due to “Covid 19”. Even before this crisis began, it was crucial to have a strong digital strategy in place.
Mohamed Baqer said that the “Gulf Marketing Group” has implemented additional strategies to ensure that its brands keep pace with consumers’ needs. These strategies differ, across its business sectors, such as sports, health and food.
For example, in the sports section, we looked for ways to provide people with more offers that enable them to exercise at home. In our pharmacies, we have directed our focus towards the role that community pharmacy plays, not only in enhancing disease responses, but also in encouraging people to stay healthy and adopting a preventive approach to enhance their well-being.
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