Oct 30 2023
In this episode of Retales we discuss retail operational complexity with Rima Abou Saab, Country Manager of Azadea Group, leading retailer in the Middle East and North Africa region, and our client here at Orquest. With over 20 years of retail experience and a deep understanding of the operational intricacies of the region’s distinct landscape, Rima shares valuable insights on retail operational complexity, the franchise model and consumers in one of the industry’s most attractive markets.
We begin the conversation by discussing the retail franchise model in MENA. Our guest explains that to set up in the region, the ability to adapt international brands to local customs and preferences is essential to succeed. “For international businesses entering the GCC and MENA markets, understanding and navigating local customs, regulations, and consumer preferences can be challenging. Cultural sensitivity is essential,” Rima points.
She also highlights the uncertainty of its changing political and economic reality. In her words, “definitely franchisees have to be prepared to navigate those uncertainties”.
The episode also delved into the retail operational complexities, including challenges related to market cultural specificities, demand fluctuations and regulatory hurdles in store management. “Retail store operations are undergoing significant changes and digital transformation plays a crucial role in adapting to these changes and ensuring long-term success,” argues our guest.
And tech solutions like Orquest are not only reshaping the way organizations work internally. “Emerging technologies are fundamentally reshaping the way retailers interact with their customers,” she explains.
Another takeaway from the conversation is the important role of employees in improving operational efficiency. “The staffing is key in the operations of the store,” says our guest and, therefore, it is important to “create a positive work culture that values and motivates employees.”
Regarding MENA market traits, Rima highlights that the population is “young and tech-savvy” and “family is central”, which “often translates into spending on family-oriented goods and services”. She also explains that several countries in the region, especially in the Gulf, “are working to diversify their economies away from oil dependency. This diversification can lead to increased job opportunities and higher incomes, positively impacting consumption patterns.”
Finally, according to our guest, if you want to maintain long-term momentum in retail, “you have to think outside the box”. And we couldn’t agree more.
Listen to the full conversation to find out everything Rima Abou Saab shared with us. And don’t forget to subscribe and share this episode of RETALES, from retailers to retailers.