Online retailing in Qatar may get significant fillip during Covid-19 phase, says KPMG  

Online retailing in Qatar may get significant fillip during Covid-19 phase, says KPMG  

Online retailing in Qatar is expected to get a significant fillip during the Covid-19 phase, which has forced people to stay at home, according to a new report. 

“As the Covid-19 pandemic has forced people to stay at home, it is encouraging non-starters to learn and experience the benefits and convenience of online shopping. It is a golden opportunity for online retailers to accelerate and expand their adoption levels while enhancing their customer base,” KPMG said in its report on “Potential Impact of Covid-19 on the Qatar Economy.” Online home deliveries for prepared food is a well received concept in Qatar, but operators are facing a shortage of staff and resources to manage the workload. Opportunity exists for expanding the deliveries business and increasing customer base in the short-term, it said. 

On opportunities in technology and digital, the KPMG report said, “Retailers can leverage several technological and digital tools for productivity improvement, sales enhancements, strengthen customer stickiness, etc. Downtime due to Covid-19 offers the opportunity to review tech/ digital needs and make use of the available tools.” 

KPMG said the opportunity exists to re-negotiate contracts in terms of rental levels, utility costs and rental models. Opportunity also exists to re-assess existing staff structure, staff skills and develop a plan to align it with changing consumer preferences and behaviours. 

Opportunities may emerge in the development of new products with longer shelf life and a few retailers may start to specialise in this segment. Covid-19 has brought in the sense of enhanced personal hygiene in almost everyone across the globe, including Qatar. There is an opportunity for retailers to tap into this growing segment, the report said. 

The retail revolution in Qatar started post the 2006 Asian Games. Today, there are more than 25 retail malls, several high street retail neighbourhoods and shopping complexes spread across the country. With limited congestion, excellent road infrastructure, peaceful living environment, high penetration of personal vehicles, easy access to transport; consumers have always preferred to step out of their dwellings and pay a visit to any of such establishments, not only to satisfy their shopping needs but also their recreational needs. “However, now it seems that this landscape is about to change,” KPMG noted. 

“The ongoing pandemic has restricted such free movement of families and most of them are forced to use online shopping options, even though essential retail is still open for business. This has a potentially huge impact, as it possesses the power to change the consumer’s shopping behaviour fundamentally. “Such a development may bring transformational change in the retail sector including supply chain, operations, procurement, marketing, workforce capabilities and competencies, etc. In the current environment, challenges for the retail sector lies in managing the debt burden, cash flow management, supply chain, maintaining health, safety and hygiene standards for both consumers and staff, deliveries to the doorstep and adapting to expected change in consumer behaviour and preferences in the future,” the report said.  

Source: Gulf Times (Dated:15/06/2020)