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Ecommerce is the next big thing, however, physical retail outlets in the UAE, with augmented reality enabled digital signages could pull in the customers to their stores. The retail sector in the Emirates needs to up their game by adopting the latest technology and strategies that will help them become competitive in this cut-throat industry.

According to Euromonitor the value of UAE's retail sector stood at $56.6 billion in 2016 and predicted retail sales turnover in the UAE will exceed $71 billion by 2021. In a study with the Dubai Chamber, the size of the Dubai retail market grew to Dh128.45 billion in 2017, accounting for around 67% share of the UAE's total retail market size and is projected to grow 5.6% during 2018 to 2021, with retail sales reaching Dh160.7 billion by 2021.

According to Sharif Rahman, CEO, International Expo-Consults LLC., “The one thing that the eCommerce websites can’t offer is a distinct in-store experience of brick and mortar stores, or in the case of the UAE the steel and glass stores. Using digital signages with an embedded augmented reality feature, the retailers can offer a multimedia experience that will not only increase brand awareness but brand loyalty as well. The consumer in the digital age isn’t just interested in the product but puts a high level of importance to the service as well. Focusing on customer engagement is just as important as having a high-quality product or visual merchandising”.

Digital signage refers to solutions exactly what it sounds like: signs and screens that display advertisements, videos, signage and any other material that you want to share with the customer. Using digital signage opens plenty of options for the retailer for store displays that can make a real difference to the business the store does. Often, the customers can be seen wandering around the shelves, looking for the price and even reviews online. With proper digital signage and content, the offline stores won’t have to deal with such behaviour.

The range of options under digital signage solutions are wide and can be utilized in a myriad of different ways. Digital signage can be utilized for drawing in window shoppers and boost foot traffic, setting up a brand specific ambience, tell your brand’s story among many other things. With the help of augmented reality, digital signage helps customers try out the products with having to utilize them such as cosmetics and clothing. Retailers can plug in their own social media and reveal what their online followers are saying in the store.

Rahman added, “Retail based digital signage has a lot to offer in terms of technology and its applications. The best way for digital signage manufacturers is to exhibit in events such as SGI Dubai 2019, which the largest show for signage in the MENA region. Retailers from around the region are welcome to witness the latest innovative solutions to turn their business around.”

SGI Dubai 2019 is one such destination, a unique trade show that actually addresses the needs of the signage and large format printing industry stakeholders and will bring the best players in the industry from across the globe. SGI Dubai 2018 was a huge success with close to 330 international and regional exhibitors showcasing the latest in UV printing, textile printing, retail, LED and various signage technologies. Thousands of visitors graced the show from across the globe including the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe.

The show is an ideal converging point where visitors and exhibitors can reach out with architects, sign makers, print and production manufacturers, media agencies, real-estate developers, brand and image consultants among others. The event is a well-established business forum, which is recognised globally and constitutes workshops and seminars held by industry experts. It is one of the most eagerly awaited events of the year in the region to cater to the needs of exhibitors and visitors in the signage, outdoor media, screen and digital printing, LED and textile printing industries.

SGI Dubai 2019 will also include a creative competition – SGI Dubai ‘Wall of Fame’, a car wrapping competition – ‘Masters of Wrap’, seminars and workshops conducted by industry experts under the banner of ‘Knowledge Series 2019’.