Data shakes up world of retail

As the data revolution gathers force, none of the defining industries of the 20th century are immune to its impact: from historic car makers to national electricity companies to the giants of financial services, there are few organizations that are not using digital technologies to reinvent the way they do business.

Data is breathing new life into Dubai’s malls

In that architectural icon of the consumer age, the shopping mall, some of the world’s largest developers are using the power of data to find new ways to attract customers and increase spending.

At a time when traditional retail is under pressure from online commerce, data is giving the malls the ability to provide shoppers with bespoke, personalized experiences in a vibrant real-world environment.

Alain Bejjani CEO, Majid Al Futtaim

“I am a believer in digital enablement, not digital disruption,” says Alain Bejjani, the CEO of Majid Al Futtaim, a Dubai-based holding company which is one of the Middle East’s largest developers of shopping malls. “Thanks to data technology we can develop customer experiences that are unique and tailored to every person.”

As a reflection of its leadership in data, the company has signed a pioneering MoU with Smart Dubai, under which both organizations will work together to enhance and improve raw data. Majid Al Futtaim is the first private sector company to sign an MoU with the authority to advance the emirate’s data and analytics capabilities.

“With data we can win the experience economy.” Alain Bejjani, CEO, Majid Al Futtaim

The company’s giant loyalty schemes and its ever-expanding network of points-of-sale generate massive amounts of data about the shopping habits and leisure interests of more than 7.7 million people.

“Our new data and advanced analytics space enable us to understand our customers better than ever before, giving them what they want and not what we think they want,” Bejjani says.

Large-scale stores can seek to provide a tailored experience to customers

Payment services companies are also playing a major part in the personalization of retail. As the official payment technology partner of Expo 2020 in Dubai, Mastercard will be deploying technologies including augmented and virtual reality and face and fingerprint recognition at the event, as well as wearable and contactless payment solutions and voice shopping, all to help provide visitors with a personal, seamless and memorable experience.

As Bejjani says, with the rise of data the dividing lines between industries are blurring and new possibilities are emerging for those companies who can seize the opportunity: “Retail is becoming entertainment and entertainment is becoming technology”  full_stop

As published in TIME magazine