Home Business & Finance Sir Richard Branson and Huda Kattan take to the stage as headline speakers at The Retail Summit 2019

Sir Richard Branson and Huda Kattan take to the stage as headline speakers at The Retail Summit 2019

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By Rafiq Vayani

DUBAI: Brand powerhouses Sir Richard Branson and Huda Kattan will take to the stage as headline speakers at The Retail Summit, the new two-day event at Atlantis, The Palm from 13-14 February, joined by more than 80 senior industry experts and 600 global retail executives.

With 62% of global retailers now present in Dubai, the emirate overtook London in the most recent global rankings of the 2018 edition of ‘How Global is the Business of Retail?’ by property advisor CBRE.  In order to stay relevant, the future of retail will adapt to a ‘bricks and clicks’ model.

Customers now demand personalised services and tailored experiences, according to Fahad Abdulrahim Kazim, Vice President of Meydan Malls and a speaker at The Retail Summit.

“Moving forward, retail will be defined by technology’s role in creating an expedient and tailored shopping experience,” he said.  “As with most industries today, artificial intelligence and big data will feature heavily in the evolution of the retail sector over the next decade; the challenge will be in harnessing AI in an ethical and responsible manner.”

Kazim added: “While there has been a resurgence of brick-and-mortar retail outlets, what will change is the way people interact with these physical structures.

“Among the most anticipated trends is augmented reality (AR), which allows the customer to experience a product or service before they buy it.  A recent PwC report found that 56 per cent of respondents prefer to use their mobile as the main tool for shopping, while on the other hand 42 per cent prefer the tactile side of shopping, opting to touch and feel luxury products before purchasing them.

“Within the mall landscape, the demand for more integrated spaces will continue to rise, with shopping being just one of the many experiences customers will seek during a visit.”

Held in partnership with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Meydan One, The Retail Summit will bring together a new generation of retailers who are delivering a winning combination of outstanding service and ground-breaking use of technology to deliver memorable shopping experiences.

With a packed agenda featuring inspiring topics of discussion across the two-day Summit, other industry heavyweights confirmed to participate include: HE Hamad Buamim, President & CEO, Dubai Chamber Of Commerce & Industry, Julia Goldin, CMO, Lego, Beth Horn, Industry Head, Retail, Facebook, John Veichmanis, CMO, Farfetch, Fahad Abdulrahim Kazim, VP, Meydan Malls, Ghizlan Guenez, CEO & Founder, The Modist, Jo Malone, Founder, Jo Loves and Niu Gang, Chairman, Dashang Group.

Gary Thatcher, CEO and Co-Founder of The Retail Summit believes today’s consumer wants a unique and memorable experience during every interaction with retailers.  “We have seen the industry make significant investments into converting their bricks and mortar stores into destinations, where retailers are combining technology, wellness and incredibly high levels of service and hospitality.

“At the same time, there is an increased emphasis on ethics and accountability; shoppers won’t engage unless they buy into a retailer’s ethos.  As a result, we have seen a spike in ethical initiatives, alongside retailers placing a significant emphasis on curating a compelling, differentiated in-store and online experience.  Today’s retailer needs to be digitally fluent, adaptable and comfortable in taking risks in order to be successful.”

The Retail Summit is supported by event partners Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Meydan One; Innovation partner: Accenture; Silver partners: Black Jack, CBRE, CEGID, KPMG, SAP, Umdasch and Xpandretail; Strategic partners: Al Futtaim Malls, Arvind Internet, Bentley, BJSS, Content Square, Department of International Trade, Gate Avenue, Lava Moments, Mcube, Nook, Openbravo, Parcelly, Ponant, Presso, Samsung and Sensemi.

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