Middle East Retail Forum (MRF) 2023

Agenda 2014

Conference Agenda-2014

Reinventing retail growth in the Middle East

The annual Middle East Retail Forum (MRF) is the region’s most awaited retail event. The largest gathering of ideas, innovations, concepts and minds in the business of retailing, this two-day event, will see who’s who of the retail industry discussing key issues facing the retail fraternity and exchanging best practices within the industry. MRF is a great Knowledge and networking platform for sharing insights and learning from others.

November 3, 2014


Vision: Retail Business Owners & CEOs Conclave 2014
(by invitation only)

The inaugural Retail CEOs Conclave is an initiative by Images RetailME to bring together the best minds in the retail fraternity – thought leaders, business owners and CEOs – to get their shared visions for the future of the retail industry in the Middle East.

RetailME strongly believes that this exclusive platform for sharing best practices, ideas and visions will further catalyse retail businesses in the Middle East and accelerate their pace of growth.

The Retail CEOs Conclave will set the agenda for similar annual gatherings and the formation of an exclusive ‘Retail CEO Club’, to which attendance and membership will be by invitation only.

→13:15 Lunch



The CEOs Agenda: Thriving in the most dynamic business

The retail environment is more dynamic today than it has ever been before. Competition is intensifying and shifting to new arenas, and consumers are rapidly evolving their approach to purchase decisions. Therefore, it’s not enough to understand the needs of the customer today; retailers need to forecast the needs of a customer tomorrow.

The most successful heads of coveted brands and retail businesses offer in-depth insights on how they develop their retail game plan to succeed, how they form the vision in the boardrooms, and how they then finally develo an execution culture in their organisation modelled along the three core processes – the people process, strategy process and operations process – needed to deliver execution excellence.

This session highlights the major trends reshaping the retail landscape in the Middl East and the actions which retailers must take if they are to ride the wave of a bright era of retail. Some of the prominent retailers in the region will share insights into how they are adapting and innovating their business models to cope with fast-changing customer behaviour, rising customer expectations and technology evolution at breakneck speed.


→15:40 Bricks meet Clicks: Harmonising the physical and digital presence to keep customers engaged

Online is no longer a choice but a necessity.The future of retail will be made up of interdependent touch points rather than independent silos, with offline and online channels complementing each other. Retailers must integrate and harmonize their physical and digital presence to keep customers engaged while also enabling access to a wider audience.

The key to an omni-channel retail strategy is to offer the right combination of helpful product information, product availability, and a good price for the shopper who is ready to buy now. This strategy when extended to brick-and- mortar stores demands knowledgeable store associates who can help the shopper find the right products; and in e commerce, it demands a wide range of product selection tools including product reviews, product comparisons, plus up selling and cross-selling recommendations to boost total sales. This session highlights why forward-thinking brick-and-mortar players must recognize the inevitable rise of online shopping, and how are they adapting to the new realities.

→16:40 Tea break


→17:00 The constant evolution of retail marketing

The way in which consumers research products, shop, make purchasing decisions and finally buy is changing dramatically. Some of this is due to mobile shopping, and some due to consumers’ ready access to product information online. Consumers stand in stores, using their smartphones to compare prices and product
reviews; family and friends instantly weigh in on shopping decisions via social media; and when they’re ready to buy, an ever-growing list of online retailers deliver products directly to them, sometimes on the same day.

The marketing mindset is increasingly evolving from a focus on products and services to a focus on the customer, and big data and digital are the tools which are helping marketing heads of both brands and retailers to make the next game- changing decisions which bear a short-term operational and long-term strategic impact.

This session highlights why retailers must create content driven retail marketing experiences that integrate consumer shopping touch points across stores, retailer websites, social media, and email.

→19:00 Cocktails
followed by Images RetailME Awards 2014 (by invitation only)

November 4, 2014

Experiential Design

→09:30 Creating ‘wow’ brand experiences

It’s crucial for retailers to wow shoppers not only by offering the right products and services at the right price points but also an overall pleasurable and meaningful shopping experience, starting with a mult sensory experience that can engage all five senses – sight, sound, touch, smell and taste, in addition
to value-added services such as personalised products, advice and after-sale services.

Apple is a great case in point famously considered as the king of brand experience. And how does Apple makes it happen – it doesn’t spend its time telling consumers how the new iPad works or describing its new features, but through engaging its consumers by weaving its story around the whole experience of an aspirational lifestyle which its users vie to be a part of.

Another great example is Urban Outfitters – which famously turned itself around on its re-focus on ‘understanding their customers and building the whole brand experience in a way it resonates with the product assortment and an environment so compelling and distinctive going beyond the core product itself that the customer feels an empathetic connection to the brand and is persuaded to buy.

Learn how retailers can do the same by moving a step ahead from just focusing on merchandise and assortments in their store, to build a brand experience model where convenience, reach, price value equation, store experience, digital content … all combine to form the halo of a great brand connect and having the key element of emotional pull with the consumer.

Big Data & CRM

→10:40 Moving towards a technology-driven business strategy

Customers around the world are now always connected via their mobile devices, and they are quick to seek and share opinions about brands on the Web. With every click and comment, they generate high volumes of information about themselves that marketers are eager to collect and use to provide a more relevant and personalized experience.

Even at the store level, online purchases on e-commerce sites, and the data through RFIDs and barcodes generated through store assortment and inventory management; a huge amount of data is being collected on consumer decision making process, purchase patterns, in- store shopper insights. Big data combined with the power of digital as the medium can enable retailers to multiply their sales and profitability if used in the most effective manner.

Decipher the science behind big data and get a concise understanding of how you can harness data from a wide range of touch- points to understand consumer behaviour and personalize the shopping experience to boost sales. How do retailers turn data into insight, insight into action, and action into tangible results, through a systemic approach.

Our panel of experts will share insights into how you can translate Big Data metrics of connectivity, predictive analytics,personalization, context, location awareness, and consistency, to deliver the right message to the right consumer at the right time and right place.

→11:55 Tea break

Ideas & Consumers

→12:15 Women – the biggest influencers in retail

MMen buy, women shop. In an industry that has a primary female customer base, women buyers are ahead of their male counterparts. Women also play crucial roles as influencers and decision- makers in the success of every product category.

But does the Middle East retail industry have enough women in senior management, especially when they rely on women as their biggest and best customers. What are the opportunities available for women entrepreneurs and managers to influence the future growth of the retail industry in the Middle East?

→13:00 Lunch

Real Estate & Entertainment

→14:00 Retailtainment – the future of brick and mortar retail

It’s no longer a ‘shopping mall’ but a ‘mall’.The diminution in terminology is significant,reflecting a change in consumer mind-set, the space no longer being identified as a place to just shop, but a venue incorporating retail and leisure that increasingly draws visitors to socialise, have fun, dine – and shop.

Underperforming malls across the world, including the Middle East, have managed to improve their footfall and sales significantly either by adding F&B outlets, cinemas, a family entertainment centre, or different combinations of the three elements.

Learn how mall developers and leasing heads are looking at the evolving win-win concept of retail and entertainment to increase footfall and dwell time by creating highly engaging social spaces

→15:15 Tea break