DISTREE ME: Hybrid models to shape future retail businesses

The thirteenth edition of DISTREE Middle East highlighted the region’s growth in the e-commerce space and had insights on what the future holds for online players.

The thirteenth annual consumer technology channel event, DISTREE Middle East, held recently at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, UAE, gathered more than 200 senior executives and buyers from the region’s leading consumer technology retailers and e-tailers under one roof.  During the three-day event, exhibiting vendors and distributors held pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings with buyers from across the region.

DISTREE Middle East 2017 was supported by Gold Sponsors Lime Concepts and TargetOne, plus Event Partners GfK, IE Singapore and Naghsh. Content Providers at this year’s event included Azur Digital, CONTEXT, GfK and Sixthfactor.

Highlights of the event included keynote presentations on e-commerce and omnichannel by Stephane Paraiso, managing director, Azur Digital and Howard Davies, co-founder and CEO, Context, respectively.

Giving insights on the evolution of omnichannel within the region, Davies said, “Customer purchase is now a journey across both time and space. The rise of mobility and e-commerce are raising consumer expectations.”

Touching upon several aspects of regional e-commerce business and expected growth within this segment, the event also featured an engaging panel discussion with panelists across retailers and analysts. One of the takeaways from the discussion was that the future of online retailing will be a hybrid model that includes both, a physical store and a robust e-commerce business. Another key takeaway was that in order to have a thriving e-tailing business, one must invest in developing a customer-centric platform.

The popular ‘60 Seconds to Convince Award’ took place at the event, giving exhibitors the chance to deliver a one minute pitch for their latest product. Live voting determined the winners in three categories: Best Product Design, Best Product Innovation and Best Presentation.

Promate picked up the Best Product Design award for its Hometree product, securing 34 percent of the final live vote. The Best Product Innovation award was a tie between IRIS and TargetOne, who both picked up 30 percent of the live vote. IRIS presented the IRIScan Book 5 WiFi scanner, while distributor TargetOne showcased Urbanears connected speakers, which form part of its portfolio.

The Best Presentation award went to Lime Concepts for its highly entertaining demonstration of the Minions Baby Cam product. Lime Concepts took home the presentation award with an impressive 50 percent share of the live vote.

DISTREE Middle East 2017 hosted the third annual DISTREE Diamond Awards in the region. The recipients of DISTREE Diamond Awards were determined using on-site feedback from retailers at the event. The event also included the ‘Middle East Retail Academy (MERA): 2017 Awards’, which recognise the performance of outstanding retailers and distributors.

“DISTREE Middle East offered all delegates a compelling mix of pre-scheduled meetings, keynote speeches, workshop sessions, awards and professional networking opportunities. Planning is already underway for DISTREE Middle East 2018,” said Christophe Painvin, executive director, DISTREE Events.

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