Sales are secondary to experience at Dyson’s new flagship store in Dubai Mall, according to a senior executive at the British home appliance company.
In an attempt to create a new paradigm in retail, Youssef Mouallem, General Manager for Dyson Middle East and Africa, said that he believes the company’s new store in the world’s largest mall should act as a brand investment, and not simply just as a point of sale.
“It would be short-sighted of me to look at the store profit and loss statement and say this store is making profit, or not, and as such it’s a successful store, or not,” Mouallem said in an interview on Wednesday.
“We don’t look at the cost or if we’re making money, we look at the store as a brand investment,” he added.
Despite initially hoping that the Dubai Mall store would be the first of its kind in the world for Dyson, the waiting list prevented the company from entering until this month.
In the meantime, the British technology company opened so-called Dyson Demo stores in Tokyo and London. “Usually, whenever we open a demo store, all of the retailers that sell Dyson technology in that neighbourhood get a 20 to 30 per cent uplift in sales,” Mouallem said.
The demo area at the Dyson store in Dubai Mall. Dyson wants people to get hands-on with products at its store.
He noted Sharaf DG, Galleries Lafayette, and Jumbo Electronics as candidates for this uplift.
Despite the high rent Dyson is likely paying for a prime position at Dubai’s most popular mall, Mouallem said that he didn’t mind people getting hands-on with the products in Dyson’s store, and then making their actual purchase elsewhere. “A lot of times, after exploring the store and talking with our product specialists, people don’t even buy in the store. They go online, for example,” he said.
Dyson is set to launch its own eCommerce platform in the region at the end of June, according to Mouallem. “Experience is number one for us. The purchasing platform is secondary to that,” he said, adding: “Whatever is convenient for you in terms of mode of purchase — we’re happy.”
According to a study released by Accenture Strategy in April 2017, many retail Chief Executive Officers interviewed reported that they planned to close shops in the near future due to rising costs and the growth of online retail.
Challenging this idea, Dan Murphy, Managing Director, Kurt Salmon, part of Accenture Strategy, said: “What about money that is spent online, on things that people have seen in the store? The shop, therefore, is part of the sales journey for customer.”
Another point raised in the Accenture report was about the future role of retail staff.
Murphy argued that the research suggested salespeople would need to be retrained to provide more consultative services to customers, as opposed to simply stacking shelves or working as cashiers.
According to Mouallem, the company has hired young people with engineering backgrounds and a love of technology to work as product experts in the Dyson Demo store, to act as product specialists. “In today’s age of selfless checkouts and phone payments, the role of product specialists is more important than ever. People who understand the intricacies of the product — why it’s valuable and so on,” he said.
People need trusted, educated advice, he added.
Dyson is currently investigating three new locations across the Middle East and Africa, including at least one in the UAE, for similar demo stores.