Abu Dhabi’s Lulu Group will spend €242 million (Dh1 billion) in the next three years on its e-commerce and logistics capabilities and be a top 3 online retailer in the Middle East.
“In the last three years, we have moved from being a brick-and-mortar retailer to having a presence in online shopping as well,” Yussufali M.A., Chairman told Gulfnews. “In the next three years, we will build on what’s been achieved so far and be among the Top 3 e-commerce names in the UAE and Gulf. We can do it”.
Currently, online sales form around 5 percent of Lulu’s overall sales, but Yussufali wants to push that to 15-20 percent by the end of 2024. The Chairman did not divulge current sales levels, but the retailer had reported a turnover of €6.2 billion-plus in 2019.
The €242 million spend will go into ‘fulfillment centers’ – which are critical to handling the stock needs – as well as in buying a fleet required for last-mile delivery. “We own and operate the entire fleet rather than subcontract,” said Yussufali. “We need to be a true omnichannel company and we will own what we use.”
WHAT WILL CHANGE?
As much as anything else, mindsets too will change at the Abu Dhabi headquartered group according to Gulfnews. In the online push, Lulu will bring in smaller online-focused vendors as well as product categories that are not part of their stores.
“What usually all the retailer do is morph everything that worked for physical retail space onto the e-commerce,” said Yussufali. “That’s not how it should be – retail will have its own focus within the Group from now”.
While noon and Amazon battle it out as pure-play e-marketplaces, the region’s leading retailers such as Lulu, Majid Al Futtaim, and Landmark are bulking up their online channels. The year of the pandemic speeded up investments in digital channels, the focus on contactless payments, and any retail trend that can help push sales – and grab more market share (online and offline).
IT IS A ‘SUPER FRIDAY’
Part of that strategy shift is already in evidence at the ongoing ‘Lulu Super Friday’ promotions. “A much wider range of products are available, and these online promotions come with their special offers too,” V. Nandakumar, Chief Commercial Officer, told Gulfnews. “We need to bring in more vendors, even those who do not typically sell through our stores. There are new demographics, new consumer tastes, and wants that need to be fulfilled. We are open to meeting all possible consumer wants through Lulu Online”.