Shopping gets smarter as aswaaq looks towards an innovative future

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  • Leading the way with the latest customer-focused technology as the UAE celebrates Innovation Week
  • First retailer in the Middle East to partner with Philips for revolutionary smart lighting system to change the way consumers shop

innovation-week-aswaaqDubai, UAE: What’s the first thing most of us have to hand when we enter a store? Rather than the traditional paper shopping list, it’s probably a smartphone. According to a recent regional study from On Device Research, up to 90 per cent of shoppers in the UAE and now use their smartphones in-store, for reasons including price checking, product information and looking up reviews online.

As shoppers’ behavior becomes more reliant on the latest technology, leading UAE supermarket and community mall chain aswaaq is taking an innovative approach to maximizing customer happiness, in line with the UAE government’s objective to make the happiness of its residents a priority, and become one of the happiest countries on earth. It is the first retailer in the Middle East and the second worldwide to partner with Philips, and has created an exclusive smartphone app which is designed to make shoppers’ experience faster, easier and more enjoyable. The technology uses ‘visible light communication’ (VLC), one of the latest advances in smart lighting developed by Philips. Installed in aswaaq’s Al Bada’a supermarket, the revolutionary new system uses special LED fixtures which are detectable by smart phones, which helps customers find the exact location of items on their own personal shopping list – to within an incredible 30cm range.

“Providing the best ever shopping experience to our customers is one of our key objectives at aswaaq,” says Affan Al-Khoori, Deputy CEO of aswaaq. “We are the first retailer in the Middle East and the second worldwide to install Philips’ smart lighting system, and in doing so will be able to revolutionize the way the retail industry interacts with consumers. By providing innovative solutions, we are making customers’ shopping experience easier, simpler and more enjoyable, in line with the UAE’s strategy for innovation and embodying the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to prepare the emirates for the future and create innovative solutions which improve quality of life across the UAE.”

Accessed via aswaaq mobile application, the new system also sends instant information direct to shoppers’ devices, and can target them with nearby special offers and even the prices of individual items. The supermarket will be able to adapt to each customers’ own preferences, such as recipe advice, discounted items and preferred products.

Alongside increased customer engagement and the opportunities that brings, the new VLC technology also offers numerous benefits to retailers. The technology provides a unique insight into shopper behavior – from what draws their attention, to what their journey looks like in real time. It also enables retailers to assess shopper traffic and routing, improve staff efficiency and generally offer a better service to consumers. It even boasts great eco credentials, too, by reducing the store’s lighting-based energy consumption by 50 per cent.

The new VLC technology is just one part of aswaaq’s Innovation Roadmap, which adopts the latest technology to ensure that the company can maximise efficiency, improve processes and ensure that aswaaq customers have the best possible experience. The roadmap also includes an interactive digital ecosystem based on QR codes, to enable more effective asset identification and related analysis, as well as developing a model to source direct current (DC) solar energy to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

As a pioneer for innovation in retail and the community, aswaaq will be participating in this year’s UAE Innovation Week, which takes place on November 20 to 26. Launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Innovation Week serves as a platform to create a culture of innovation in the UAE, and strengthen the country’s position as a global innovation hub.

Alongside the new smart lighting system, aswaaq will also be highlighting its Shop Smart system, which was moved out of the incubator phase during the 2015 Innovation Week and is ready to be used in a real retail scenario. The cash-less, card-less payment system, which also does not require cashier staff, uses advanced biometric technology to access customers’ registered information. Easy and convenient, the process is also self-service, saving both time and resources.

“As a trusted national brand, we take great pride in supporting the UAE’s vision to create an innovative, future-thinking society,” says Al-Khoori. “Continuous innovation is key to succeeding in our aim to be renowned as a world-class regional retailer, and it is through innovation that we will be able to continue to offer our customers an unrivalled shopping experience that evolves with their needs.”

About aswaaq:

aswaaq is a local pioneering brand in the modern world of shopping envisioned to be bench-marked as a world-class retailer in the region. “Let’s All Speak aaswaaq” a language that breaks down all barriers of communication and brings the community together under one umbrella.

aswaaq is a fresh, strong and easily recognizable brand consists of small & medium sized Community Malls located at the heart of the communities with aswaaq supermarket surrounded by retail shops aiming at becoming number one shopping destination of the surrounding neighborhood.

aswaaq supermarkets offers a unique and friendly shopping experience characterized by the quality of the products and services provided based on the needs of the surrounding neighborhood. aswaaq Loyalty Program ‘Wafa’ provides the customers with endless benefits including 10% cash back on monthly purchases.

aswaaq is HACCP, ISO 14001, ISO 9001 and OHSAS 18001 certified. In 2014, aswaaq was awarded Dubai Quality Appreciation Certificate.