There are still shoppers out there who haven't as yet taken the online plunge, says noon. One of the upcoming Fridays could yet convince them to do so. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: It’s that time of the year when Fridays come with a dash of colour. And UAE’s online shoppers start checking what to pick for the gifting season.

This year, online vendors expect a fresh wave of buying to happen when the dates for the yellow, white and other variations are announced, as many prospective shoppers have put off buying closer to the year end. And there is also the matter of a new wave of first-time shoppers going online – even in a year when online sales growth in the UAE has grown at never-before-seen rates.

“Prior to the pandemic, many still did not regularly shop online,” said Maya El Ayach, who heads digital growth and strategy at noon. “COVID-19 has changed this - and we expect to welcome lots of new customers to Yellow Friday.”

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Mix it up

And where possible, keep giving shoppers a mix of online and offline possibilities. For instance, noon will continue offering shoppers access to retailers at The Dubai Mall via a dedicated channel. This was launched as an add-on to the noon portal during the pandemic weeks… and will stay on.

“With many customers understandably concerned about negotiating large crowds, this year’s Yellow Friday Sale offers everyone a safe way to shop via the noon app,” said El Ayach. “Omni-channel shopping is increasingly the new normal for customers.”

Chance for smaller retailers

This year, the online marketplace will have more representation from small and mid-sized retailers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia wanting to catch the shopper’s eye. (This is a theme that is resonating across the wider retail sector, with Nakheel’s Night Souq and the recently launched Al Khawaneej Walk focusing on having a sizeable representation of home-grown brands.)

“People want to shop locally, even more so since the pandemic,” said El Ayach. “Customers are actively seeking more meaningful ways - and this includes supporting local businesses. With noon, customers can both support local businesses and enjoy a seamless shopping experience.”


In fact, some of the lessons and value-additions from the pandemic is proving quite useful. It was in late July that noon hinted at the possibility of launching a dedicated order-and-delivery portal for local F&B businesses. And in doing so take aim at how some portals are charging commissions of up to 35 per cent of the order value.

“There was a significant increase in SME sign-ups following the arrival of the pandemic,” said El Ayach. “The need to pivot to digital to continue to connect with customers was immediate and crucial for the survival of many.

“We offer all businesses - no matter the size - extremely competitive commission rates, and access to a detailed seller dashboard providing insights to help amplify sales.

“The presence of local businesses on is high, particularly within the fashion space. The Mahali initiative focuses exclusively on supporting the success and growth of local Emirati and Saudi retailers. Retailers in the programme get access to further benefits, including reduced rates and one-on-one training to guide their online growth.”