UAE retailers look to new technology to avoid a summer slump

Emirati cities are some of the biggest retail hotspots in the world, but some experts say retailers in the United Arab Emirates will need to adopt innovative solutions to keep the market flowing during the summer months.

Locals and expatriates living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) often leave for vacation during  the hot summer months, while tourists come into the cities for their own travels. That changes the market dynamic and customer base for Emirati retailers during those months.

Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, chairman of International Expo Consults, said the solution to bringing in that tourist money could be found in innovative technology.

“Is it as easy as putting a sale banner on the store window?” Falaknaz said. “These things would have worked well 5 to 10 years ago, but not now. The retailers who innovate by using augmented technologies will win the game for them.”

Falaknaz suggests technology-driven signage might be the key to keeping retail numbers up. Investments in burgeoning interactive digital sign technology could include ads and signs customers touch, or might have gesture control.

New digital sign technology could go so far as to incorporate a social media or augmented reality as a way to engage potential customers more deeply.

“The key differentiator for many organizations is engaging and empowering the use of ‘interactivity’ through digital signage," International Expo Consults CEO Sharif Rahman said. "If it is not interactive, it is not in."

Rahman and Falaknaz believe interactive retail signage will be the game changer that may set some Emirati retailers a cut above the rest. They may be right, as industry experts forecast interactive digital signage will bring in more than $13 billion by 2017.