Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

A Survey on Executive Customer Service Training

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Please accept this invitation to participate in a new Sacha Orloff Group survey on Executive Customer Service Training.

Survey link: http://bit.ly/1ui9LKZ 

This survey will explore what organizations are seeking to achieve when investing in customer service training. We explore impacts on performance: productivity, profitability and long-term competitiveness.

The survey will provide critical information on what benefits business gain from understanding the importance of customer service excellence in its value-chain; and how companies grow and retain their customers and empower their employees within their organizations. We are seeking the views of executives and managers in all industries, functions, and tenures. The survey takes less than 5 minutes to complete and your opinion will make a significant contribution to our work.

Should you like to receive our research, please fill in page 2 of the survey. Sacha Orloff Group would like to thank you for helping us with our research,

For any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at strategy@sachaorloff.com

Best regards,

Alexandra de Kerros Boudkov Orloff
CEO, Sacha Orloff Group


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Beyond the Digital Divide:  Evolving Digital Commerce in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2014

Capture11Sacha Orloff Group Report

Beyond the Digital Divide:  Evolving Digital Commerce in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2014

Author: Alexandra de Kerros Boudkov Orlov – CEO Sacha Orloff Group

Website: www.sachaorloff.com 


In the Gulf, and in Saudi Arabia, the trend is an expansionist real estate strategy.  Leading groups prefer to cash-in with proven formulas, highly praised in the Middle East, such as malls and western franchises, even if mother-brands operate online and offline.

The Kingdom has largely accepted the principle of the evolution of the shopping Malls, and has adopted by default e-commerce solutions and payments to acquire a large part of the consumer goods and products market, encompassing the full value chain from banking system, retail, airline, hospitality, tourism, transport couriers and telecommunication sectors.  Most of these companies are changing their product mix to support margins, focusing on increasing sales, and consolidate customer loyalty to grow sales and introducing co-branded credit cards.

The Millennial Generation represents one of the most important factors in the adoption of e- and m-commerce in the region. This year, Internet penetration in the Kingdom reached 59.25 percent of the population, and has grown by 11 percent since 2013

Now is the time for the Saudi merchants and business groups to be fully immersed in digital activities. As most of the Saudi firms are still not embracing e- or  m-commerce; they should tap into the market of mobile owners to drive traffic, increase loyalty and grow sales.

To link technology, innovation and strategy to the Saudi digital sector require acquisition and retention of human talents.  Leadership, creativity, expertise, development and execution are key factors to growing success and excellence. It allies company culture to create strong relationship between human forces and firms.

In all the GCC, customer service is weak and investing in training human capital is essential to obtain a level of satisfaction to retain customers. The danger to accept mediocrity is that firms compete with others on the same average level.

The actual organizational moto is to move away from channel focus to customer focus. The business implies data analytics, supply chain optimization, integrated technology and strong customer service. Businesses have to take calculated risks, embrace disruptive changes and empower their talent forces to gain both offline and online customers.

Download the reporthttp://media.wix.com/ugd/17fd63_f7f73aaa041b46fc8de638b8544402ab.pdf


Sacha Orloff Group in the Media:

Saudi Gazette:

Trade Arabia

Technology Market Corporation


Ministry of Economy Taiwan – Bureau of Foreign Trade

Topix http://www.topix.com/world/saudi-arabia/2014/07/saudi-firms-urged-to-bridge-the-digital-divide-tradearabia

The Paypers

Taiwan Trade

Retail and Loyalty

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KSA to inject $30.9b in tourism in 10 years

Tourism is being ranked a top priority for Saudi tourism officials. The Saudi government is investing heavily in its tourism sector, principally to provide employment opportunities for Saudi graduates.

According to a 2013 MENA tourism and hospitality report by research consultancy Aranca, investment in the travel and tourism sector is expected to increase at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of four percent to SR 30.9 billion over a 10-year period from 2013-23.

The number of tourists visiting KSA is estimated to increase at a CAGR of two percent to 21.3 million over the period 2013 – 23. Revenues will total SR60.9 billion by 2023 – due to an increase in number of Haj and Umrah tourists and growth of international shopping centres.

To cope with the increasing number of visitors, the Saudi government has outlined a plan to invest more than $30 billion in its airports by 2020, including $10 billion in private investment for the sector. More than $12.5 billion has already been earmarked for the country’s four main international airports in Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Madinah.

Based on the expected growth of the region, the annual Arabian Travel Market (ATM) roadshow took off in Riyadh to deliver a presentation at the offices of the Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities.

“The travel and tourism sector’s direct contribution to Saudi Arabian GDP is projected to increase at a CAGR of four percent to SR83.7 billion by 2023. Put that into perspective, it is equivalent to about nine percent of current Saudi GDP, which is a great achievement. This is solely as the Kingdom looks to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbon receipts,” said Mark Walsh, portfolio director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.

Riyadh is the final leg of the six Middle East destinations being visited by the ATM team during its roadshow which took in Bahrain, Kuwait, Beirut, Muscat and Dubai. A strong delegation from the Kingdom is expected at ATM.  Led by the Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities it includes, Saudia Airline, Umrah & Makarim Hospitality Group, Fursan Travel & Leisure, Hanco Rent a Car, EbreezTech, Rahhal International, and Unique Choice.

Meanwhile, Saudi Airlines Cargo will increase its belly capacity on new international routes beginning April 1 through Saudia Arabian Airlines’ new passenger flights to Manchester and Los Angeles.

The Manchester service will be operated by the airline’s B777-200 aircraft and will have a capacity of 9 tons from Riyadh/Jeddah and 12 tons into Riyadh/Jeddah, while the Los Angeles service will be operated by the B777-300 aircraft and will have a capacity of 6 tons from Riyadh/Jeddah and 8 tons into Riyadh/Jeddah. Both destinations will be served three times per week.

Source: Saudi Gazette – http://saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20140220196352


Filed under Consumer, Investment, Saudi Arabia, Uncategorized

Saudi Retail industry players discuss new strategies to trigger growth

By Samar Yahya

JEDDAH – Key retail industry players in the Kingdom gathered here Monday morning at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (JCCI) Abdul Kader Al Fadel Hall to discuss innovative strategies to drive the industry forward during the InRetail Summit Saudi Arabia event.

The summit, which was described as a strategic platform to discuss how to sustain the growth that the Kingdom’s retail industry is currently experiencing, opened with a lively discussion involving more than 140 retail executives on keeping a pace with the next generation of shoppers’ demands. The discussion hosted industry leaders including, Mohammad Alawi, CEO, Red Sea Markets Company; Nigel Clarkson, Managing Director, MASMI; Maartenjan de Wit, Industry Principal Trading and Consumer Industries, SAP MENA; and Raj MK, Director, StatLabs and SAS.

“For the retail industry to achieve substantial growth, retailers, mall owners and developers need to have a platform where innovative ideas can be shared and discussed. Many retailers are planning to expand their operations and open new outlets. This event provides the perfect opportunity to learn about their future plans and be able to respond to their needs.” said Alawi.

The main topics discussed at the summit included current and future trends, new opportunities, achieving success and growth strategies, human resources investment, redesigning the shopping experience, leveraging new technologies, attracting customers digitally and the future of retail.

One of the highlights of the summit, which was organized by the JCCI and its Commercial Committee and co-organized by MICE Arabia and dmg events, was the CEO roundtable discussion on capitalizing on new trends to stay relevant in today’s market. The discussion was chaired by Alawi and joined by Abdulkareem Al-Agil, CEO, Jarir Bookstore; Mohamed Galal, CEO, United Electronics Co (eXtra); Muwaffaq Jamal, CEO, Azizia Panda United Co., Savola Group; and Ibrahim Ashemimry, CEO, Munch Bakery. The experts explored adopting a multichannel approach to reach new customers.

Over the course of the two-day summit, the latest retail solutions and technologies by leading local and international brands such as SAP, Retail Business Solutions, NCR, Baud Telecom Network, CISCO, SAS, Dorchester Estates, Data Capture Systems, Tatweer International Software Development Company, Sávant Data System and Retail Performance Group were introduced to the Kingdom’s key brand owners, retail managers, mall owners and retail real estate developers.

Other notable attendees who shared presentations and lead discussions included Mohamed Abd El Latif Lotfy, Retail Property Manager, Dar Al-Arkan Real Estate Development co. (DAAR); Abdulrahman Tarabzouni, Head of Emerging Arabia, Google; Abdullah Alghadouni, Digital Marketing & CRM Manager, Nokia; and Majid Bin Anzan, Director General, E-Mall, Saudi Post.

Read more:  Saudi Gazette http://bit.ly/102UHgC

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GCC retailers adapting to new consumer preferences

Courtesy of Saudi Gazette

Courtesy of Saudi Gazette


Jeddah – Companies across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are developing their business models and product offerings in a response to the changing trends in consumer preferences in the region, said in a recent report.

Companies are diversifying their product range, according to some reports. Take Almarai for example. The dairy supplier capitalised on consumers’ preferences for fresh products by expanding their offerings to include fresh poultry (over frozen alternatives) and juice. Other companies are on a similar path,  said the report.

Not only food retailers are diversifying their product lines. Jarir Bookstore, which has outlets across the GCC, has adapted to the increasing demand for electronics, which now are sold in its stores.

The move toward adapting to consumer preferences by retailers comes as a response to the growth accelerating in up and coming product niches.

According to Ernst & Young’s 2012 MENA Customer Barometer, MENA consumers are among the most brand loyal consumers in the world. Twenty five percent of respondents in the UK and the US stated that brand influences their purchasing decision compared to 29 percent in Saudi Arabia, 31 percent in the UAE, 33 percent in Bahrain, 34 percent in Jordan and 35 percent in Oman.

The report also revealed that consumers are now harder to define, understand, and please than ever before and that MENA brands are facing challenges to adapt to “Chameleon Consumers”.

Five broad trends emerged from the survey, covering ten different products and services:

1. Traditional market segmentation no longer holds true. The ‘chameleon’ consumer has conflicting preferences and facets, which need to be accommodated.

2. Brands are increasingly likely to influence purchasing decisions within emerging markets, unlike the mature markets where lower loyalty is challenging companies.

3. Personalized communication and service is a priority. There are huge opportunities for organizations that can harness digital consumers through closer ‘community’ vehicles, such as social media and other digital channels.

4. Consumers are now equipped with all possible product, price and stock information and can simply bypass retailers that don’t engage consumers with relevant information and a compelling purchase pitch.

5. These new empowered customers want a greater say in how they experience service and to be active “co-creators”, not passive consumers.

The consumer base in the GCC region is growing at five million consumers per year. It indicated that spending is highest in the UAE at over 50 percent, followed by Saudi Arabia at 40 percent, and Qatar at 45 percent.

Moreover, retailers in the region are “moving away from disorganized neighborhood vendors toward organized retail outlets, such as hypermarkets,” the report mentioned.

For instance, organized retailers in Saudi Arabia are taking advantage of the country’s developed logistics infrastructure, high access to retail outlets by an increasingly mobile affluent population, the report mentioned. One example is Saudi Arabia’s Savola Group, which owns Panda Hypermarkets.

In the UAE, however, the scene is starting to look different.

Hypermarkets themselves have been expanding their reach via small neighborhood stores, according to a report by AT Kearney.

Lulu Hypermarket is planning to open 50 neighborhood stores across the GCC, while Carrefour is setting up its express stores across the UAE.

Ross Maclean, Customer Advisory Leader, Ernst & Young MENA, said: “The survey finds that in recent years, customer behavior has changed beyond recognition. In becoming a ‘chameleon’, the consumer has undergone a radical ‘metamorphosis’ and this change has significant consequences for all customer-centric organizations.”

The challenge of categorizing consumers is demonstrated by differences in consumer behavior between regions. — by SG/Agencies

More on: http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20130123150249

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Filed under Consumer, eCommerce, Retail, Saudi Arabia, UAE

2013 – UAE retail sector set to flourish

Mall of the Emirates Sacha Orloff 2012By Wam

In 2011, the UAE was rated by Forbes magazine as the world’s sixth wealthiest nation by GDP per capita income, surpassing most developed economies. This means the country is on the top in terms of purchasing power, which is playing a crucial role in keeping the domestic retail sector one of the world’s busiest and most vibrant.

With the announcement of new mega-projects in Dubai, with shopping malls and online market services continuing to mushroom, the domestic economy remaining strong and inflation dipping to a minimal level, experts believe the UAE’s retail sector will steam ahead in the next years. What will give this sector an additional momentum is the sophisticated shopping infrastructure in the country and the so-called Arab Spring, which is luring more tourists into Dubai and the rest of the UAE.

The UAE’s high purchasing power is reflected in its massive family consumption, which involves individual spending on consumer items and services. Formerly second only to Saudi Arabia in the Arab region, the UAE jumped to the top position in 2010, when family consumption stood at Dh575 billion. It maintained that rank in 2011 as consumption leaped to nearly Dh640 billion, more than 15 per cent of the total family consumption in the 21-nation Arab League, according to official Arab data.

The steady surge in family consumption in the UAE, mainly a result of the high per capita income, was manifested in the rapid growth in the retail and wholesale sector’s contribution to GDP over the past years.

Trade to GDP

From around Dh67 billion in 2001, the value of that contribution leaped to Dh90 billion in 2005 and Dh134 billion in 2009. It swelled to Dh138 billion in 2010 before hitting an all time high of around Dh146 billion in 2011. The rise boosted the trade sector’s share of the overall GDP to one of its highest levels of around 11.7 per cent to maintain its position as the second largest component of GDP after the hydrocarbon sector.

“The retail sector in the UAE has grown so fast over the past years that it has become a major contributor to the non-oil economy this growth was driven by many factors, including the presence of a sophisticated shopping infrastructure, the organisation of too many events and occasions every year and the opening of scores of malls and other shopping outlets,” said Mohammed Al Awadi, a prominent businessman in Abu Dhabi. “Other factors include the demographic diversity in the UAE as there are nearly 150 nationalities and cultures this means we are talking about 150 different tastes another major factor is the strong tourism sector in the country, mainly Dubai, which has become one of the world’s dominant retail business destinations,” said Awadi, who controls a big chain of jewellery shops in the country.

Awadi, a former head of the trade committee in the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said he expected the retail activity in the UAE to pick up in the coming years because of the steady population growth, the high per capita and purchasing power, strong economic growth and plans for new mega-projects in Dubai.

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GCC retail sector is robust

imagesThe GCC’s retail sales are expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.7 percent from end-2011 2 to reach $270.3 billion by 2016, was said in a report Sunday.

Food retail sales are anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 8.8 percent during this period while non-food retail sales are likely to grow at an annual average growth rate of 6.6 percent. Food sales growth will outperform non-food sales growth during the forecast period as high-value and healthier food products could find greater demand.

Sales of supermarkets and hypermarkets in the GCC are expected to grow at an annual average rate of 10.5 per cent between 2011 and 2016. The relatively under-penetrated markets in terms of modern grocery retail formats like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait are likely to outperform in this segment.

Duty free and travel retail sales in the Middle East are forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 11.6 percent from 2011 to 2016, outperforming the broader retail industry in terms of growth. The outlook for the luxury segment remains positive and is expected to expand at CAGR of 8.2 percent between 2011 and 2016.

The region’s retail sector has displayed strong resilience in the face of global economic downturn and is expected to continue to grow at a steady pace given its attractiveness to tourists and residents, geographic location, developed logistics and availability of diverse shopping options. While the sector presents attractive opportunities, it is highly competitive and retailers need to continue to innovate so that they can achieve sustainable growth and profitability.

“Retail industry, which is one of the fastest growing sectors in the GCC, has thrived over the last several years due to increasing purchasing power, growing expatriate population, changing lifestyle and an expanding tourism & hospitality industry. Retailers have benefited from the government initiatives and progressive policy agenda and have a healthy period of growth ahead of them”, said Sameena Ahmad, Managing Director at a consultancy.

“The region’s retail sector has displayed strong resilience in the face of global economic downturn and is expected to continue to grow at a steady pace given its attractiveness to tourists and residents in terms of geographic location, developed logistics and availability of diverse and quality shopping options. While the sector presents attractive opportunities, it is highly competitive and retailers need to continue to innovate, so that they can achieve sustainable growth and profitability,” said Mahboob Murshed.

Food retail sales are anticipated to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.8 per cent during this period while non-food retail sales are likely to grow at an annual average growth rate of 6.6 per cent. Food sales growth will outperform non-food sales growth during the forecast period as high-value and healthier food products could find greater demand. Sales of supermarkets and hypermarkets in the GCC are expected to grow at an annual average rate of 10.5 per cent between 2011 and 2016.

The relatively under-penetrated markets in terms of modern grocery retail formats like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait are likely to outperform in this segment.

Duty free and travel retail sales in the Middle East are forecast to grow at a CAGR of 11.6 per cent from 2011 to 2016, outperforming the broader retail industry in terms of growth. The growth projection has been revised upwards from the previous report primarily in anticipation of higher passenger traffic at the Abu Dhabi and Qatar airports and concourse 3 plans at the Dubai Airport.

The outlook for the luxury segment remains positive and the luxury retail sales is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.2 percent between 2011 and 2016. While retail sales in all the countries across the GCC region is expected to register positive growth through 2016, the outlook for Saudi Arabia is the most optimistic .The retail industry in Saudi Arabia is projected to expand at a CAGR of 9.5 percent between 2011 and 2016. All the other GCC nations are likely to register retail sales growth of around 5 percent-7 percent during the same period.

Based on a Moderate Growth scenario calculated at 80 per cent occupancy over the next five years for the supply-side estimates, occupied gross leasable area (GLA) in the GCC is projected to reach 15.8 million sq m in 2016 compared to 11.4 million sq m in 2011 growing at a CAGR of 6.8 percent during the same period. Retailers are expected to continue their focus on improving efficiencies and making optimum utilization of retail space.

Although the projected GLA additions in the GCC are unlikely to create an over-supply situation and vacancy rates are expected to remain under control, retailers may be selective in picking the right space for their stores in shopping malls.

There are several factors contributing to the growth of the GCC retail sector. A consistently expanding population base, young population and growing urbanization make demographics of the GCC highly attractive for retailers of both essential and discretionary products. A growing GDP, substantial government spending on infrastructure and healthcare, low fuel prices and low or no tax incidence, free up a substantial portion of individuals’ income for consumption of food and non-food items and fuelled the growth of the retail industry. GDP per capita (PPP) of all the GCC economies is high and is expected to see a healthy growth. — Saudi Gazette

Read more: http://bit.ly/Z9B1vb


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