The Department of Economic Development (DED) has announced a novel project that will further align retailing in Dubai with the ‘Smart City’ initiative of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Known as ‘City smart Receipt,’ the new project will transform shopping in Dubai by bringing in added convenience, accountability, transparency and reduced carbon footprint into retailing.
A memorandum to this effect was signed recently by His Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of DED, with San Francisco-based green technology firm retailGreen. The ‘City Smart Receipt’ technology allows retailers to issue smart receipts to customers rather than paper or e-mail receipts against purchases. Dubai is the first ever city to have the new smart technology.
“Dubai has gone past a milestone along the high-tech street with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum articulating his vision of a ‘Smart City’ where the public can access all government services on their smart devices from anywhere in the city. DED is committed to take our online services to the next level to support His Highness’s vision. The ‘City Smart Receipt’ is a smart solution that will increase competitiveness in Dubai’s retail sector,” Al Qamzi stated.
Al Qamzi added that the local retail sector has continuously evolved in terms of choices, facilities, customer relations and awareness among consumers as well as traders while being one of the biggest attractions in Dubai and a premier driver of the economic momentum in the emirate.
“Both retailers and consumers will benefit from the ‘City Smart Receipt’ initiative. It will also enhance transparency in retailing and consumer confidence. With the smart solution in place DED will be able to issue permits for promotions online without retailers having to submit paper printouts. The real time digital record of purchases will also enable us to provide more accurate reports and assessments on consumer behaviour and business perceptions,” said Al Qamzi.
Reiterating retailers’ support for the initiative Majid Hamad Al Shamsi, Board Chairman of the Union Co-Operative Society, said his retail chain is already working with DED on streamlining the smart receipt concept. “As a business dealing with a large customer population we understand the benefits of implementing this new initiative and we want to be part of this positive change happening in Dubai’s retail sector. It is another example of successful public-private partnership and will ensure 24/7, round-the-year service to consumers,” he added.
Mohammed Shaal Al Saadi, Chief Executive Officer of Business Registration and Licensing (BRL) sector in DED revealed that various other retailers including Aswaq have shown interest in implementing the smart receipts in the next stage.
“The new initiative will add more value to the expanding smart applications portfolio of DED. Over 95 per cent of BRL services are now available online and many of them are progressively added on smart devices. The ‘City Smart Receipt’ will also reinforce the strong public-private interface that makes retailing and doing business in general a hassle-free process in Dubai,” said Al Saadi.
Omar Bushahab, Chief Executive Officer of Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) termed the ‘City Smart Receipt’ an initiative in line with Dubai’s efforts to protect trademarks and reinforce confidence among businesses that look at Dubai as a competitive hub. “We will try to implement the new initiative in such a way that the retail sector in Dubai has its flag flying higher,” added Bushahab.
The smart receipts will make shopping easier and more fun as customers have less paper receipts to carry. Shoppers are also guaranteed of better spend analysis and smart merchandise services while the retailers can have real time reports and statistical analyses reflecting the purchasing patterns of consumers. Such information will help retailers to assess their markets better, reach out to different customers more efficiently and increase their revenue.
Ayman Sulaiman, President, retailGreen, said that the company has succeeded in forming strategic alliances with some of the largest shopping centres in Dubai as well as in California. “Dubai’s ‘Smart City’ is a model for the world to follow, showing how governmental agencies can be as efficient, productive and environmentally-friendly as any private sector enterprise. We are proud and honoured to be chosen to partake in this bold venture.”
Reyad Al Quaqezeh, retailGreen’s Regional Director, noted: “Our partnership will address the need for the Department of Economic Development to transform itself into a smarter government by using smarter platforms Dubai will be the first city in the world to implement such a unique technology. Through our partnership with DED retailGreen is looking forward to successfully replicating the ‘City Smart Receipt’ technology in other parts of the world.”
Amjad Hijazi, retailGreen’s Sales and Marketing Director added: “We are committed to providing quick and clever strategies that will help shift the retail trade concept in Dubai to being 100 per cent green, thus reducing the emirate’s carbon footprint.” A Project Steering Committee including representatives from DED, retailGreen and other public and private stakeholders involved will finalise the implementation plan for the new technology.