Stock - FIFA World Cup and Shopping
Have you bought your football gear or jersey yet? This 11.11 sales blitz, football-related merchandise is in for some heavy volume churn. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Retailers in the UAE and Gulf are ready to go live with their first promotions between now and year-end – this time they will give equal attention to resident shoppers and on the rush of football-crazed fans flying in for FIFA World Cup matches and associated revelry.

The first promotion – the 11.11’s – have less than 48 hours to go live, with retailers hoping to land big orders for tech gadgets, fashion and accessories – and footballing merchandise.

“Our November selection decisions are primarily influenced by tourists visiting for the tournament,” said Neha Choudhary, Digital Strategy & Growth at noon, which is going all out on the 11.11 starting tomorrow (November 10). “Because the assortment is also available on our Minutes’ platform (noon’s quick-delivery service), World Cup fans and followers can order football essentials and have them delivered the next day - or within minutes.

“Many of these visitors (for the Doha matches) will stay in the UAE, giving us a fantastic opportunity to reach out to this new customer base. We have updated our platform so that tourists can now order from noon. All international phone numbers can place orders from the app.”

For retailers (hotels and F&B businesses) in the UAE, it’s a 1 million plus visitor opportunity that the FIFA World Cup represents. And all these possibilities within a 30-day window. The 11.11 deals will soon be followed by Black Friday promotions, and then each retailer can come up with their own offers at other times.

Go for team jerseys

Whether online or at premium sporting goods stores, football is everywhere. If it’s not the boots, then jerseys of your favourite team/player is a must. And a fan – hard-core or casual – have been given every opportunity to pick up new ones. Going by retailer feedback, football merchandise is the No. 1 sub-category right now, and in the next 10 days will only get bigger.

Stock - noon
noon is all set to get cracking on the 11.11, the first of the heavy promotions coming up in UAE's busiest retail calendar. Image Credit: Supplied

What caution?

Retail industry sources talk about consumer caution on what and when to buy, but they are convinced that given the best offers and incentives – cashback, zero-interest payment schemes – shoppers will not wait too long.

“Some categories and brands may be showing a slight slowdown due to a shift in product type trends,” said Neha. “We were more concerned about COVID-19 last year, and certain product types performed well compared to this year. For instance, home gym equipment and home office furniture.

Because there are so many people out and about this year, categories such as outdoor toys, camping, and so on are seeing significant increases leading up to our 11.11 sale.

- Neha Choudhary, Digital Strategy & Growth at noon

Gadget deals

Electronics retailers in the UAE are also timing their offers on the latest smartphone and tablet models. If the iPhone 14 won’t get much of a price cut, for sure, the previous iterations definitely are. “With the UAE consumer, the focus is always on the latest and the best – but there are visitors who would willingly buy slightly older models at a discount and VAT-free,” said a retailer.

With resident shoppers, TVs are the other must-buy this season - "More residents settling in the UAE meets all those existing residents wanting to upgrade their television sets in time for FIFA," said an electronics retailer. “It’s the best of times for electronics…”

And a lot more besides - the likely sales for 11.11 will only be a sampler for what's to come.

Get logistics and delivery spot on
Heading into the busiest online shopping season of the year, retailers and service providers need to get a firm grip on delivery.

"Key challenges for logistics firms during peak shopping seasons, such as Black Friday, include scaling on-time deliveries, onboarding and managing multiple logistics partners to increase serviceability, improving capacity planning, and driving logistics operations cost-effectively and eco-friendly," says Soham Chokshi, CEO of Shipsy.

"Advanced territory optimisation, routing capabilities, and dynamic order batching help logistics businesses improve resource utilisation, expand serviceability, and reduce logistics costs. Such a solution sends a notification to the customer, allowing them to track the consignment in real-time (and) lowers return to origin (RTO) instances by 18% by validating non-delivery reasons with customers."