Summit highlights impact of digital tools in retail industry - GulfToday

Summit highlights impact of digital tools in retail industry

Sheikh Maktoum is being briefed during his tour of various stands at the event on Monday.

Sheikh Maktoum is being briefed during his tour of various stands at the event on Monday.

Sajjad Ahmad, Deputy Business Editor

Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, on Monday attended the opening of The Retail Summit, a global content-led event being held at the Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai from 14-15 March.

Featuring several leading international brands and more than 800 participants from around the world, the event was attended by Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers; Gary Thatcher, CEO and Co-Founder of The Retail Summit, and Marc Howard, Director and Co- Founder of The Retail Summit.

Sheikh Maktoum attended a session titled ‘Go Agile or Go Home’, which highlighted the impact of the digital transformation in the retail industry and the increasingly sophisticated tools and techniques that are eliminating the competitive advantage once enjoyed by traditional retailers. Led by Angela Farrugia, Founder of Brand x Society and Catherine Levesque, SVP Europe of Tapestry, the session also discussed the importance of practicing agility in the retail sector to resolve current challenges, and adopting an agility policy to ensure the transition towards a more efficient business model.

During his visit, he also toured the stands of several international brands participating in the event. The exceptional event seeks to showcase young and emerging retail brands from all over the world looking to explore business opportunities in the Middle East and Dubai in particular.

The two-day Summit features a programme of 27 presentations, panel discussions and interviews led by over 70 key C-level speakers from around the world. Speakers participating in the event will offer insights and ignite conversation around opportunities, challenges, and the future of the global retail industry.

Commenting on the opening, Gary Thatcher, CEO and Co-Founder of The Retail Summit, said: “The retail industry is currently in its recovery phase following the 2020 pandemic, which has changed consumer behaviour and emphasised the imperative need for further change across the sector. People are now more open to the digital transformation impacting our daily life and the desire for more sustainable choices. The Retail Summit aims to gather leading experts around the globe to discuss, shape and evolve the future of the industry based on consumer trends and expectations. We are delighted to have speakers joining us today from around the world, making this event one of a kind, and giving all participants the opportunity to hear from some of the most influential and innovative voices globally.”

Addressing participations at the summit, Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, described The Retail Summit as an ideal platform to showcase the competitive advantages the emirate offers as a global retail hub. “The Retail Summit is a platform for retailers in Dubai to learn about the most prominent trends and technologies that are shaping consumer experiences. The event comes at a time when the global retail sector is experiencing unprecedented change driven by the digital transformation, while industry players are adopting and creating new solutions to boost their competitive edge and retain tech-savvy customers,” said Buamim.

The value of the UAE’s e-commerce market is expected to reach $8 billion by 2025, Buamim said, adding that consumer spending and new strategies and incentives introduced by the government to advance the digital economy are among the key factors expected to support e-commerce growth in the long-term. Dubai Chamber of Commerce is supporting the Summit as part of its efforts to position Dubai as a preferred destination to host international events and attract global retailers to the emirate, he said.

During the opening day of the Summit, Dr Ira Kalish, Chief Global Economist, Deloitte, demonstrated what economic prospects look like as we learn to live with COVID-19, and how retailers can build strategies to remain ahead of the curve. The presentation referred to supply chain bottlenecks, job market disruption and social unrest.

The first day also included several highly engaging panel discussions. During a session titled ‘The Winning Formula For Middle Eastern Retail, Scott Armstrong, Editor in Chief of Arabian Business; Kapil Sethi, Deputy CEO of GMG; Michael Chalhoub, President of Strategy, Growth, Innovation & Investment and Joint Venture at Chalhoub Group; and Abdulla Al Hashmi, Head of Business Intelligence at DP World, discussed the factors driving a behavioural shift amongst consumers in the region and how experiential retail can adapt to a new climate.

In another panel discussion titled ‘The New Global Workforce: Attracting, Retaining, and Motivating The Next Generation’, Lesley Exley; Chief Executive of Exley Hervey moderated an insightful discussion between Marcella Wartenbergh, CEO of AWWG; Patrick McIntyre, Head of Global Retail at Mars Retail Group; and Marisa Selfa, CEO of North Sails Apparel, which explored the best methods to attract and retain Gen Z; how to effectively manage change in the workforce; and ways to foster a diverse and inclusive culture.

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