It’s amazing how some of us have lately felt this overpowering urge to buy things that we ignored for past three months. Not all the time... but on sporadic occasions we can expect to succumb to these temptations.
I guess it is being a Dubaite - we have always lived the life to the fullest, chasing a dream beyond. In worst of recessions, we have seen restaurants full on weekends, luxury cars getting picked up, and travel plans being made for summer despite all the odds. Each one of us have challenged negativity at some point and gone for it, whether for a real estate buy or luxury staycation.
It will happen again and brands will need to be ready to capitalize on this. Call it prediction, but a calculated one when it comes to UAE and its people. Some may hold on for a bit longer, but with our evolved DNA of indulgence in this country, most will step across eventually.
The market is opening up and by mid-June most places will potentially open to full capacity. This new found sense of freedom might lead to venting of energy in the form of spending on indulgence. There are a few visible triggers that could possibly make this happen; there is a sense of saving among people fortunate to retain their jobs.
Three months of literally no entertainment, boredom and zilch shopping, add to that savings from no-travel this year. For many, the next few weeks will be a tussle to either continue in this placid state or spend some of this notional saving. In all likelihood, we will spend some part of that to make up for lost time, it could also be a mark of resilience to say we will go on.
While lockdown has shot through most of the first-half of the yearyear, it has also opened up a quarter that would otherwise have gone on travel and holidays. This year’s June to September is going to be a different one in UAE; expats in full attendance, with kids having their summer vacation right here. The only entertainment that is safe at the moment is to shop...
Now, for the marketplace, I have heard retailers talk about their loyal customers who would not stray to the competition. It’s quite possible that such shoppers do exist, but the reason for it could be just the inconvenience of exploring other outlets in a physical world.
The COVID-19 phenomenon has made even the most digital-weary customer comfortable online. There are very few who haven’t ventured onto their mobiles or laptops to explore the ecommerce experience. And when they do, they are within easy reach of any competition to lure them in.
Those who have experienced being stalked online know it is quite easy to stray. And, loyalty goes out of the window in no time.
Meeting the urge
So, a goldmine for the brave. There would be a wave of buying that could infect most customers in short bursts, before they go back to caution and safety. It is almost like the same feeling that pushes us to stayactions after a period of stress at work.
This could happen right through summer, and it is unto us brands to be in consideration when the urge happens. Brands need to stay visible omni-channel and maintain good SOV as if their life is at stake. Remember, customers are within reach and much more vulnerable to competition than ever before.
There is a saying among surfers that there are no two similar waves and a surfer has no choice but to take it on gut feel to experience the thrill. There is no precedent and I guess that is the best part of this opportunity!
- Amit Raj is with BPG Max.