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Businessman on online shopping: New retail concepts needed
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Online shopping will not disappear because of the new seven per cent tax, so local businesses will have to adjust to be competitive. According to Omar Hadeed, director of Sports and Games, many of them charge more than they should for some products.
“Other countries regionally are facing the same issues and some have taken even more drastic measures to control it with even higher tariffs placed,” he said, commenting on Financer Minister Colm Imbert’s mid-term budget measures.
“The local retail industry employs a very large percentage of this nation's population, and consumers must appreciate the cost of doing business as there are many expenses attributed to any retail business.“
Hadeed was also critical of  the fact that goods purchased online are entering the country without the appropriate duties and VAT being paid. “A better procedure for importing online goods should be put into place so that the playing field is leveled.”
On March 29, Sports and Games launched its first RAW concept store at the Falls, West Mall. It offers the latest trends in footwear, clothing and accessories with brands from across the globe such as G-Star, Scotch & Soda, Vans, Toms, Palladium, Mitchell & Ness, Nike, Penguin, New Balance lifestyle and  much more.
“RAW also has their own line of locally designed fashionable jeans, shirts, shorts and tees. We want people to love their clothes and enjoy wearing them, that is why we make great garments that suit every individual. Our products are rich in detail, and in quality and extremely affordable,” Hadeed said
Given the changes in the economic environment and technology he argues that the rules of retail are being rewritten.
“At the core, it is all about how do retailers provide their customers with a flawless experience regardless of channel. RAW was created to ensure a more seamless experience for customers, and increase the productivity and effectiveness of employees, by incorporating mobile technologies. At the store there are over 20 tablet computers which allow the customer to scan and compare our prices to that of other online merchants. We are now competing against the world and this means that our prices, services and delivery must compare or surpass that of any international standard.”
He believes that globalisation offers a huge disadvantage for retailers in every market, including T&T.
“We must be innovative and develop our own strategy. In T&T persons choose to shop online for several reasons, most being better pricing, variety of product base and not having to accept poor service. RAW has taken all of these complaints into consideration and a strategy was developed to ensure that within our segment of the market (fashion) our customers are retained. RAW is part of the larger SG Group of companies which aims to be one of the most dynamic retailers in the industry and in spite of the current economic situation facing our nation we must take advantage and grow from changing dynamics in the market place to strengthen our brands.”


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