Find out how Sharaf DG operates and what makes people come back to them.
After multiple locations in Dubai and one even outside the UAE, Sharaf DG, the largest electronics retailer in the UAE opened their first store in Abu Dhabi. We visited the massive 30,000 sq. ft. store located inside Abu Dhabi mall last week where everything was meticulously arranged. At the store, I had the opportunity to sit down and have a casual chat with the Managing Director of Sharaf DG, Mr. Yasser Sharaf. The following are excerpts from that discussion:
What took you so long to come to Abu Dhabi?
Joining Abu Dhabi was always on the agenda. We started six years back with one shop in Dubai which was at Ibn Batuta mall. And we had a growth plan to be strong in Dubai, to make sure that operations wise we were strong before going out. Of course you would have noticed that we went to Bahrain before coming to Abu Dhabi, but that was just because we could not find the right location- size wise. We just had to wait for the opportunity. There is future growth plan for Abu Dhabi and Al-Ain and the other Emirates.
How many stores do you have in total?
Twenty, including this one in Abu Dhabi. We have three stores in Abu Dhabi duty free and one in Bahrain. The rest of the fifteen stores are in Dubai.
Do you basically use the same formula at all locations?
Exactly the same formula. Wherever we go, we follow the same way we are operating, the same training, the same products, the same selling techniques, customer service and brand promise which is our biggest strength. If you come in looking for a certain product and you don’t find it, we will find it for you within 24 working hours. If we don’t get the product for you, you get it for free. Since we started, we have more than 21,000 forms filled and everybody got their product except 202 people who got what they wanted for free because we couldn’t get it for them within the right time.
What happens if I purchase something from the UAE store and am in Bahrain and want to return or service it?
Depends on the product. If it has a Sharaf DG warranty then of course we will accept it. If it is not Sharaf DG warranty, then we follow the local supplier warranty.
Can you explain the Sharaf DG warranty?
There are products that are not sold by local suppliers that we have taken the initiative to bring so we source it from other channels to satisfy our customers. For such products, we give the Sharaf DG warranty.
How has the increased number of electronic superstores in the region affected Sharaf DG?
Well of course the doors are open to everybody to come and compete but for us, we have our customers, we have our service, we have our brand promises. It is not an easy task but our job is to satisfy our customer and they do come back.
What do you think makes the consumer come back to you?
I think our brand promise is one of such things because I don’t think anyone has offered anything similar in the region. Plus our customer service and fast after service to the consumer. We get a lot of good feedback from the customers that they are happy.
Can you talk a little bit about the logistics of setting something as massive as this new Abu Dhabi store?
It has to work like a factory because the success of a retailing business depends on how efficient the logistics are, like moving merchandise- how you move your merchandise from your factory to warehouse to a retail shelf and finally into the hands of consumer. How well you understand the demand, how well you can keep the right products on the shelf so that the customers find what they are looking for.
That is why we have been very successful in terms of our brand promise, when we say, “ If you don’t find it, you get it free”. So what does that mean? We have got the largest assortment of electronics- around 22,000 and managing them is definitely a challenge. Now with this assortment, chances are that when the consumer walks into our store, 90% of the time they will find what they are looking for, unless its a product that has not been officially launched in the region. We have to depend on the agents and the distributors and we can’t import directly. So whatever the consumer is seeing in the local media or in other stores- we will have it in our stores as well.
There is a 10% chance that the product they are looking for is not there- for example, we could be out of stock on that day. In this case we speak to our agents and distributors and try to arrange the product within 24 business hours and if we fail, we give the product for free, which we have done for 202 customers so far.
We want to thank Mr. Yaser Sharaf for his time and wish him the best of luck with the new Abu Dhabi Sharaf DG store.