Mall of Qatar, slated to be the country’s largest leisure, entertainment and shopping destination, when it opens its doors to the public, made an emphatic participation at the 5th InRetail Summit: United Arab Emirates, held in Dubai during September 14 and 15, 2015.
The summit witnessed participation from regional as well as international retailers, brand owners, and mall developers sharing insights on proven strategies that give retailers a competitive edge and position companies for longevity in the future.
During a highly anticipated and interactive panel discussion, Rony Mourani, General Manager, Mall of Qatar, spoke on the challenges and opportunities for the retail sector.
“The opening of Mall of Qatar in Doha next year will mark a new era in retail and entertainment and will benefit from the promising opportunities that Qatar retail market offers. We have to understand its directions, the needs of the consumer as well as common shopping behaviors. Our participation at the InRetail Summit offers us an ideal platform to focus on important issues and topics that pioneers in this sector need to tackle and address properly” said Rony Mourani.
According to Rony Mourani the Mall of Qatar will transform luxury and leisure experience in the region, as it introduces new retail brands and varied entertainment choices in a unique setting.
Commenting on the fiercely increasing competition for shoppers, Rony Mourani said, “We are in a unique position to differentiate ourselves and provide a unique shopping experience for shoppers. With so many choices it is imperative that mall owners and developers hone new opportunities to attract new shoppers. Delivering new mall formats are essential to stay relevant, generate increased footfall and become the number one destination for shoppers.”
On being asked if the era of mega-malls is coming to an end, Rony Mourani said, “A confluence of global trends are coming together to cause mega malls to change the role they play in people’s lives. No longer are they primarily about shopping.”
Explaining further Rony Mourani said, “Today, when consumers visit malls, they are looking for experiences that go well beyond traditional shopping. The growing middle class in the Middle-East maintains a strong association between consumption and pleasure, driving the need for more engaging shopping experiences.”
Highlighting the challenges from e-commerce, Rony Mourani said that the rise of digital technologies are fundamentally reshaping consumer expectations and shifting the function of stores towards useful and entertaining customer experiences.
“The world of retail is changing considerably; however, mega malls still can have a central role in the urban communities, and mega mall operators must expand their horizons of what a mall can be. They must envision themselves no longer as real estate brokers, but instead as retailtainers,” added Rony Mourani.
Rony Mourani suggested that in the face of these considerable challenges, mega malls must: Stay relevant, drive growth and boost efficiency.
The Mall of Qatar reflects the commitment of the developers to Qatar’s economic diversification as well as human and social development through the opportunities and jobs that the development will create during construction and upon completion.
Other themes that were discussed during the Summit included technology-related retail advances and redesign of the retail environment. Regional as well as international retailers had the opportunity to know more about the latest retail trends and best practices. This will place organizations in a better position to understand and connect with today’s shoppers thereby ensuring long-term growth and profitability.