Dubai Mall retailers to sell products on Emaar's virtual store

Developer ties up with noon.com to help merchants continue business online

  
People shop at The Dubai Mall, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates March 12, 2020.

People shop at The Dubai Mall, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates March 12, 2020.

REUTERS/Satish Kumar

As social distancing measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus continue to affect businesses in the malls, Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping centre, will open a virtual store on noon.com exclusively for its retailers to market their products online and to connect with customers.

The virtual store is part of a new partnership between Emaar Malls, the shopping malls and retail business majority-owned by Emaar Properties, and noon.com, an online marketplace that was founded in 2016 by Emaar Properties chairman Mohamed Alabbar.

The tie-up will “support retailers,” as well as the community, to address the “unprecedented challenges” from the coronavirus pandemic, the mall developer said in a statement.

Retailers in the malls, including, restaurants, supermarkets and pharmacies, are virtually one of the few public spaces still left open for social interaction in the UAE. Schools, museums, parks, cinemas, gyms, beaches, community pools and bars have all been shut down to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Analysts have said that, aside from the air transport and hospitality industry, retailers will be among the hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis, as fears of infection are forcing consumers to self-isolate in their homes.

“In most other segments [in retail], the outbreak will probably reduce traffic and revenue. Retailers of all types must be prepared to act quickly to mitigate the impact of such turbulence,” Bain & Co said in its latest analysis.

In the UAE, so far, only American tech giant Apple has closed its outlets across the country, while in the United Kingdom, Marks & Spencer reportedly said some of its outlets might close.

Virtual store

By opening up a virtual store, Emaar Malls, said customers can continue shopping their favorite brands without going to the physical shop, and have the purchases delivered to their homes by noon.com.

With the “store-to-door” delivery scheme, Emaar Malls said, it will be able to help the retail sector “tide over the challenges” posed by the pandemic.

"Unprecedented challenges call for innovative, collaborative and bold measures. The Covid-19 situation and its impact on the global economy call for us to rally our strengths and identify new measures that take into consideration the social and economic realities,” a spokesperson for Emaar said.

“We stand by our nation, community and industry to address the impact of the situation. The Dubai Mall virtual store will help retailers continue to do positive business while factoring in the need for social distancing and people making their purchases online.”

In a separate statement, Emaar said that as part of preventive measures to safeguard society, Emaar Group has adopted a work-from-home policy for its employees effective Monday, 23 March 2020. The move is aligned with the UAE’s ‘Stay at Home’ campaign aimed at combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

More malls to follow

The e-commerce platform said it is also “in discussions” with other large mall operators to follow Dubai Mall’s example. 

“We expect to announce further major partnerships with large malls shortly,” a spokesperson said.

The number of coronavirus cases has swelled past 300,000, barely three months since it was first reported in Wuhan, China in late December.

The UAE government has recently rolled out a $27 billion economic stimulus package to help cushion the economic impact of coronavirus.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

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© ZAWYA 2020


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