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Dubai Has Lost Its Charm For Retail Shopping


Retail has always been the key factor of Dubai's economy. The shopping festival is the season where the consumers are drawn towards Dubai. Consumers from all over the world are excited to visit Dubai during the shopping festival. After all, Dubai is 'Do-Buy". People book their flights and plan the trip well in advance because the airlines would be booked completely. Even hotel reservation would be really difficult.

Dubai's shopping sale has all the major brands in really slashed prices. Consumers were able to afford sophisticated goods in reasonable prices. Gold is available in much better price than the other places. There are consumers who save up money and make a trip to Dubai during the shopping festival and purchase the necessary stuffs. Mobile phones, camera, gold, clothes etc were available in cheap prices. It was heaven when I visited Dubai five years back. I shopped till I dropped literally. It was like Disneyland for me. Dubai's main revenue was real estate and shopping. But after the recession a lot of things have changed. After the recession, the real-estate business is down and now shopping is also slowly receding.

Last year, the sales in the retail outlets and the malls have declined more than 20 percent. Even the tourism has reduced. The main reason is because that there are malls coming up everywhere. India, Pakistan and China are coming with massive malls. And Dubai is finding it very difficult to get cheap labor. They used to have Indians but now then they turned out to be expensive, they changed to Filipinos and when they also turned out to be expensive they changed to the Nepalese, Chinese and Bangladeshis. I always thought that the electronic items were much cheaper in Dubai than any other place. But with the evolution of the internet I was able to compare the prices and find that these equipments were available at much cheaper prices in India and other places. There was nearly 10 percent difference in the total amount. It was really shocking.

Last year when I visited Dubai, they had labours who could not speak even few words in English. I heard that their labours are paid less than 10 dirams for an hour. They have people for work for three years without the raise in salary. Very few employers give refreshments or free lunches for the employees. They do not treat their employees too well. That is the reason they find it too hard to find workers.

Another thing they seem to lack is consumer relationship. They have people who could not read in their bookstore. I asked for a couple of books and their salesperson was staring back at me like I had abused her. Consumers find it very difficult to shop around in a new place without proper help from the sales person. Even in the clothes store, the salesgirl was not able to get me my size and it got really irritating after a time. These employees cannot keep up with the new technologies. They have sophisticated billing and stocking systems which these employees have no idea about. Consumers should feel comfortable and relaxed when they shop else they would just leave. No one has the time to sit and make the salesgirl understand things that she should already know.

There are other cities growing and Dubai should not be buried on the way. Malaysia's shopping festival is becoming more famous and fabulous by the day. I find Malaysian promotions much cheaper and they have really good consumer support. They have the source to get good employees. Their employees are bright and pleasant. I had good time shopping in Malaysia. They had good promotions in all the major brands. Plus they are promoting their festival in the right way. I definitely will go back over there again. But after shopping in Dubai I felt the other way around. So Dubai should stay on its toes.

Unfortunately, the Dubai retailers have the trading skills and lack marketing tactics. But that should definitely change. If not, they would definitely lose their business on the whole. They should come with good marketing skills and employ experienced people who know the trade. Consumer relationship should definitely increase. They should have a complete makeover if they want to stay in the business.

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