Shoppers check out a bridal jewellery
The picking of a piece of jewellery is as much an emotional decision as it is about price consideration. Shoppers visiting the Gold Souq need to feel the experience right through the time spent at the destination and not just within the stores. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Shopping for gold and diamond jewellery is, at its heart, all about the experience leading up the moment where a piece is chosen and the transaction gets completed. In effect, the journey leading up to the point where the cash or card is handed over is vital for consumer and retailer alike.

It’s no different for shoppers coming to their favourite retailer at the Deira Gold Souq for their next precious purchase. The majority who do so are affluent and looking to spend a significant amount at the stores.

However, more often than not, their first contact on arriving at the Gold Souq is with an ill-mannered and imitation watch salesperson. Instead of being greeted with the most vibrant shopping experience, they are met with intrusive vendor hawking goods.

Such an introduction to the Souk – one of the most visited destinations - is shameful in itself. Most buyers would consider having to be subjected to these unwanted approaches and would instead choose to head for the jewellery outlets at some of the malls.

This is not how it should be.

Spoiling it for everyone

For those still willing to brave such encounters at the Gold Souq, the bitter aftertaste lingers. Even when they escape the streets, they are generally not in the mood to purchase high-end merchandise. Compare this experience to entering a well-monitored shopping mall with no unlawful intrusions.

And yet, it is important to note that the Gold Souq has one of the highest per square foot commercial rents in Dubai… and as such this destination deserves a much better security protocol.

Spare a thought to COVID-19

Not just that, street vendors are unlikely to follow social distancing laws. They will come close to shoppers to engage in whatever conversations they make about the shoddy products they proffer. These vendors are undermining the efforts of authorities to project the city as a luxury shopping destination.

But these momentary interactions with street vendors can leave lasting impressions on tourists, who then take back unpleasant memories of such a prestigious site. We request the authorities to take strict action against these individuals.

Firstly, on the basis that their products are outright fakes and completely out of place in this marketplace for the elegant and exclusive. Secondly, unsolicited vendors should be organized into a specific physical location rather than hawking their wares near retail premises not owned by them.

Any intervention by the authorities will ensure the prestige jewellery brands in the Gold Souq can go about their business and interactions with shoppers in the most desirable ways.

- Deepak Soni is CEO of Marhaba Jewellers.