Many retailers are constantly finding ways and serving up enticements to drive foot traffic to their stores. Whether you’re walking into a supermarket, an electronic store or clothing shop, it’s hard not to miss the ubiquitous “sale” and “buy one get one” banners, the bundled offer at the corner or the ever cheerful sales staff calling out passersby to visit their outlet.
Despite their best efforts to stand out, a number of merchants are failing to leave their customers happy. Nielsen has recently polled more than 30,000 respondents in 61 countries to gather some feedback about their shopping experience.
The study looked at how well retailers are meeting consumers’ needs and why shoppers patronize one store over another.
The study found that while UAE residents want the thrill of a good deal, businesses need to do more than just promise value for money and great savings. “So what is it about the shopping experience that is particularly unpleasant? Many consumers think retailers don’t understand and deliver on their needs,” said Nielsen.
This is manifested by the fact that only less than half (48 per cent) of UAE respondents think that retailers actually provide offers they like and value.
When it comes to grocery shopping, for example, only a little over half (53 per cent) of the respondents believe the merchants always communicate with them in a relevant way and understand what they want in their shopping carts, while 31 per cent said their go-to store rarely offers what they like and value.
Only 58 per cent said their grocery store carry the products they prefer . While many people in UAE are conscious about their health, 47 per cent believe there are not enough healthful options available to buy.
“This indicates that on the product assortment front, UAE retailers have much to improve,” Arslan Ashraf, managing director of Nielsen, Arabian Peninsula and Pakistan, told Gulf News.
What shoppers want
According to Ashraf, today’s shoppers also look for convenience and speed and they tend to be more conscious with their health.
“Healthy options are not simply ‘nice to have’ and there are still limited number of retailers in the UAE that offers sufficient selection of fresh and healthful food,” he said.
“And as far as store layout is concerned, there is room for improvement in this area as well, as consumers tend to opt for stores with an organised layout that makes it easy to shop, and provides consumers the ability to get in and out quickly.”
When they’re out looking for food, household or personal care products, UAE consumers said they also want banking services (55 per cent), fast-food services (52 per cent) and coffee services (42 per cent) available.
A lot of what consumers prefer have been overlooked because there is just too much focus on providing the best bargains or lowest price.
While many people in the UAE do remain price conscious, Nielsen said there are many other attributes that lure shoppers in.
“In the UAE, consumers believe value is about more than just the lowest price,” Nielsen said. In fact, consumers rate convenient location (96 per cent), product availability (94 per cent) and high-quality produce (93 per cent) as highly and somewhat more influential in store-selection decisions than the lowest price (92 per cent).
“The way to stay relevant and connected to ever-changing consumer demand is to find pockets of unsatisfied demand and provide the products and services that will keep consumers satisfied and coming back time after time.”