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Dubai’s shopping mall operators launch contactless drive-through collection due to Covid-19 pandemic
Shopping mall operators in Dubai – the retail and business hub of the Middle East – are becoming creative in their approach to increase business for their retail tenants in the shopping malls, severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, as the malls get ready for full reopening in June 2020.
Shopping malls in Dubai were closed during the lockdown imposed in the fourth week of March 2020, following the global outbreak of the Coronavirus, as a precaution, except for the anchor stores, supermarkets for grocery shopping and pharmacies. The malls have been partially re-opened in the fourth week of April for a limited timing.
Dubai has more than 30 shopping malls where thousands of retailers used to do brisk business before the Covid-19 crisis that nearly stopped economic activities. Dubai’s shopping malls largely depend on domestic buyers and foreign tourists who come to Dubai to shop, especially from South Asia, Africa and Central Asian countries.
Two more large shopping malls were getting ready for opening later this year, ahead of the planned World Expo 2020 – that has been pushed back by a year. The shopping malls are getting ready for a full re-opening in June. However, strict health, safety and social distancing measures are expected to be in place to ensure that the Coronavirus is contained.
Nakheel Malls, which owns and operates a number of shopping facilities in Dubai, has launched a contactless pick-up service at Nakheel Mall, The Pointe and Ibn Battuta Mall, giving more customers instant access to over 700 retailers and restaurants while social distancing.
The programme billed as ‘Call, Come, Collect’ is a quick, convenient way to buy a wide range of goods, takeaway meals and Ramadan treats, with no booking or collection fees and an average call-to-collection time of 30 minutes. The service operates daily from 12 noon to 9 pm.
Customers place their order by phoning the shop or restaurant directly before collecting their items from a designated drive-through pick-up zone. Once contactless card payment is made, a dedicated team ensures all items are safely placed in customers’ cars before they drive away.
Omar Khoory, Managing Director, Nakheel Malls, said: “Call, Come, Collect has been created to support our retailers and in response to consumer demand. With malls currently operating at 30 per cent capacity and some online orders taking longer than usual, this quick, convenient facility is the perfect solution for customers who want instant access to shops and restaurants. More people can now continue to shop for a wide range of items from some of our biggest retail and entertainment destinations, safe in the knowledge that the whole process is efficient, contactless and hygienic.
“If similar schemes in other countries are anything to go by, this will be a big hit with retailers and customers, and will become a permanent fixture at our malls.”
The service offers everything from takeaway food to fashion and everyday essentials to luxury treats. Participating outlets and their dedicated Call, Come, Collect phone numbers are listed on the Nakheel Mall, Ibn Battuta and The Pointe websites and social media accounts. Supermarkets and pharmacies are excluded.
Like all other areas at the malls, pick-up zones are sanitised regularly, while staff have daily temperature checks and wear gloves and masks.