Lifestyle’s “Store of the Future”: Brick-and-mortar meets e-commerce
Dubai was named the number one retail destination in the world by CBRE, a prominent research company that provides market insights.
New stores emerging in the city are no longer a surprise.
But this one is! Simply because it is being called “Store of the Future”
Lifestyle has launched its newly-designed store at the Dubai Mall, perfectly integrating in-store technology and the personal element synonymous with brick-and-mortar retail.
Spanning approximately 4,800-sqft, “store of the future” opened its doors, bringing the first-of-its-kind omnichannel experience to the beauty and lifestyle industry in the UAE.
The revamped Lifestyle store at The Dubai Mall sports a new look, enhanced by the interactive digital touchpoints.
In a statement, Lifestyle said that the store’s purpose is to create an interactive experience that attracts style-lovers, fashionistas, and millennials who have a knack for online retail and love to use their smartphone.
The store provides different sections centered around beauty accessories, bags, bath & body, and home fragrances, available online and in-store.
This ‘futuristic store’ contains an area called ‘Beauty Labs,’ where transformations and other beauty activations take center-stage.
This option was included for a younger generation of Middle Eastern shoppers for whom social media trends are of central importance.
A key element of the enhanced interiors is the incorporation of projections, LED screens, touch screens, and tablets which allow for a seamless yet exciting customer journey, according to the statement.
‘Click & Collect’
Lifestyle launched the ‘click & collect’ function as well, an option that combines the convenience and intuitiveness of online shopping with a tangible in-store experience.
The shop’s main goal was to allow customers to shop for products online, and then collect their purchases at a Lifestyle store of their choice, free of charge.
In the statement, Lifestyle mentioned that their research division has identified that 40% of its shoppers conduct their research online and then make a purchase in-store.
It has also found that online shopping allows customers to research product reviews and find items easily; however, it can never give buyers the physical experience of touching and exploring merchandise before purchasing it.
Additionally, it cannot provide the personal connection between vendor and customer that has defined retail since its very inception.
E-commerce ME: Growing pains
E-Commerce sales in the Middle-East doubled between 2015 and 2017, with a projection of further growth at annual rates of above +20% through 2021, according to a report entitled “Middle East B2C E-Commerce Market 2018” published by Research and Market, the world’s largest market research store.
The combined E-Commerce sales of the Gulf countries are expected to more than double between 2017 and 2020, it said.
The main growth drivers include high rates of Internet connectivity among the population, reaching above 90% in countries such as Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE, it added.
The retail E-Commerce, however, has some room for growth as local online retailers rise to rival cross-border competitors such as AliExpress and Amazon.
A number of barriers still remain on the Middle East’s path to online retail boom, the report mentioned.
These include the prevalence of cash on delivery over other payment methods and consumer wariness of safety of E-Commerce and online payment transactions.
Furthermore, a number of countries lack a unified address system which, on the one hand, creates challenges for last-mile delivery and, on the other, forces delivery companies to innovate, such as use mobile apps to verify the customer’s exact location, the report said.