Power Letters 2023: Fahed Ghanim, CEO, Majid Al Futtaim - Lifestyle
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Power Letters 2023: Fahed Ghanim, CEO, Majid Al Futtaim – Lifestyle

Power Letters 2023: Fahed Ghanim, CEO, Majid Al Futtaim – Lifestyle

As we look to the year ahead, we will undoubtedly see ‘moments’ become the currency of customer experience

Majid Al Futtaim

The year 2022 has been one of driving impact. But it also came with challenges, which moved the needle on people’s priorities.

Net zero has new urgency, health priorities continue to evolve, and customers continue to remain skeptical towards brands, seeking out those that offer hybrid experiences and are purpose-driven. We have taken this onboard throughout 2022 whilst maintaining our deep commitment to understanding and fulfilling our customers’ needs.

We’ve continued to grow our portfolio, particularly online – with the launch of seven new tech platforms – expanded into new geographies, and even entered new categories for the very first time. This constant redesigning of customer journeys enhances the interactions over multiple touchpoints as we focus on omnichannel growth.

Keeping customers at the heart of what we do means we cannot ignore the anxieties brought about by economic inflation, which has caused shoppers to reassess their spending priorities. Here, we’ve started to witness the shift from the ‘experience’ economy to the ‘moments’ economy – customers choosing smaller moments coupled with smaller purchases.

Despite the decline of real spending, some categories, such as cosmetics, are experiencing double-digit growth globally.

This tells us that there are still opportunities to make bold moves and deliberately stake on long-term growth. And so, we did just that; Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle moved into the beauty and skincare category, namely through our most recent partnership with the iconic beauty leader, Shiseido.

We also capitalised on the opportunity to take our partner brands across borders, introducing CB2 to Saudi Arabia and expanding lululemon across the region and online.

We expect athleisure to generate enormous growth as it firmly establishes itself as a core fashion category, driven by growing wellness trends. In fact, after lululemon’s regional expansion, we’ve seen an impressive 63 per cent year to date growth.

Retail is detail, not rocket science. We must remain opportunistic and flexible, responding to trends as and when they appear.

On the one hand, e-commerce continues to explode; increasing in the UAE by 34 per cent between January and September 2022, and accounting for 11 per cent of total retail sales. In response, we have rapidly accelerated our digital presence, doubling our online revenue in 2022 alone – with a forecast to double it again in 2023. On the other hand, we are witnessing an increased appetite for in-person shopping – a lingering pandemic after effect.

As such, we have built upon our bricks and mortar proposition and opened 15 new stores in 2022. We’re cognisant that the ongoing relevance of ‘physical’ outlets will depend on our ability to deliver a customer experience that seamlessly blends the physical and digital, with minimal friction.

Our home-grown brand, THAT Concept Store, is a great example of this: conceived as a retail destination that offers additional experiences beyond browsing or buying, customers can also use the instore smart mirrors to digitally request items to the fitting room, book a hair appointment via the mobile app, search the newly launched online platform, and much more.

What is interesting is seeing the way all our touch-points interconnect. Mobile devices have come to be viewed as an extension of physical stores, as customers use their phones to search for product information, read reviews, and communicate with friends about purchases. There is an increased demand for transparency from and engagement with retailers, which has resulted in us dialing up our social interactions.

As we look to the year ahead, we will undoubtedly see ‘moments’ become the currency of customer experience. Majid Al Futtaim will remain focused on elevating its omnichannel proposition across its business.

Read: Majid Al Futtaim launches SHAREPay for loyalty programme members

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