Retailers take up emerging tech as brick-and-mortar becomes cool again

Chalhoub's deal with b8ta to open a store in Dubai is the latest example of how AI, machine vision and other technologies are transforming retail.


Cutthroat competition, escalated by the growth of ecommerce, is forcing brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers alike to explore emerging technology like machine vision, VR and AI. In some cases, online suppliers are migrating to the physical world, deploying technology that has proved to be an asset on the web.

This global trend holds true for the Middle East, with its thriving retail sector.

The retail sector, for example, is expected to be among the top three spenders on virtual reality and augmented reality technology by the end of this year, and sales of the technology in the Middle East are strong, IDC says. While global spending on AR/VR is predicted to near $20.4 billion by the end of this year, sales in the Middle East and Africa region alone are expected to increase from $181.59 million in 2017 to $6 billion next year, IDC says.

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