A Pair of Shoes and Digital Transformation

Last week I decided to throw away my old trainers. Old faithful with the toes bent up I only bought them last summer that’s a lot of walking. Battered and worn they went in the rubbish bin.

Anyway, the Dhahran mall, a mall of malls and a great place to shop if you can stay the distance.Off I went in search for a pair of hiking shoes. The First shop I walked into I was approached by an expat salesman; can I help you sir? Yes, I want a pair of hiking shoes please what do you have?He frowned and pointed to a pair of Sketchers, so what’s good about them I asked? They are German he replied. Anything else I asked? He pointed me in the direction of another expat salesman.I swivelled around very quickly and left the shop.Sketchers, German? No there are American mate.

Sports direct was my next visit and what I have heard about them from the UK news I was a bit apprehensive. It was almost prayer time. A salesman approached me and asked can I help you Sir? Yes please I am looking for a pair of hiking shoes? Ladies Sir? Do I look like a woman? I left.My next shop was Sun and Sands Sports. After a quick reconnaissance, I found a few pairs of hiking shoes and a salesman. I had many questions and the buzzer went for prayer time. Come back after prayer Sir. Off I left to go outside and drink my water. I went back in and was hanging around looking, wondering if I still had the “man stamina” to continue my shopping. The manager arrived when I was eyeing up the second pair. I want Vibran soles please, in no time he helped me out and got me sorted. Very knowledgeable and what a pleasant change, super shopping experience.I have been to both IKEA and H&M in Saudi and it is like chalk and cheese to most shopping experiences, well trained educated staff just like in Sweden, apart from the fact they don’t have any cheese slicers I am not complaining one bit, oh and no sill at Christmas or Jul Must. After 30 years of living in Sweden there are things you miss. 

I wonder if many of the brands in Saudi Arabia have discussed  “digital transformation” and how important it is to get the same experience and information across all touch points. Many of the staff here don’t have the language skills to engage with either the local Saudis or us expats from Europe. To get better sales you must engage your staff with values and a sense of belonging to the tribe like IKEA and H&M have done. Both companies are renowned for having long serving staff members. Lifers! Continuing education and real life skills to be a part of your shopping experience.

In Saudi we are on the brink of major changes in the economy and wherever you go you are faced with gofers or shelf stackers. Neither can sell or engage the shopper in any manner. So how are they going to learn about digital transformation? When will they be trained? And who will replace them?

In the next tfew years, it is possible for 100,000 plus jobs to be created in the new economy, Saudis with language skills that can engage the consumers in a more professional manner. Grow sales understand the important of the same message across all touch points. 

This of course will mean fewer shelf stackers and gofers. We are talking about building new communities with AI and audience building. Businesses facing new challenges with, business digital transformation, revenue generation management, vital parts to improve performance.  Join me on Haaartland to get the AI.

Time to go now so Changan from me.