Saleh Al Shawa of Al Jaber Opticals is known for his in-depth knowledge of products and brands and of course, the tastes of the Middle East market. He was one of the esteemed jury members for Vision-X VP Awards.
What do you think about the Vision-X VP Awards?
It was all very good and hopefully now with experience your organising will get even better. Of course this is the first time and we all learn from our experiences and I am glad if we are able to help in any way for this initiative. Overall I think it was a very good event and well organised.
What’s your opinion about the entries?
The entries were all very nice and I wish in the future there are more categories to help differentiate the products even more.
Tell us about the evolution of optical retailing?
We have witnessed over the last 15 to 20 year a big change in the retailing concept. There is so much more of a mall environment nowadays and it’s not just about the malls but also the experience inside the store that matters. How you treat your customers and how you offer them your products has all evolved over the years. The biggest change I have seen is that compared to Europe and USA, the stores here are competing on a global scale. In fact, I know that some people from Europe and USA are learning from the Middle East about a lot of things in retailing and they are even using our ideas in their region. This is something that would not have happened in the past. So you see our retailing is on a very developed level.
For those who missed out on the opportunity to have their products in Vision-X VP Awards, what do you have to say?
Yes some of the brands that missed out are doing this at international events too. They would rather have their own events and normally stay away from events organised by others. I am happy about the event and Vision-X looks very promising this time and I hope it lives up to the hype.
Your opinion on online retailing and where it’s headed
We have our online presence already but I don’t see this region very accepting about online purchase of eyewear. This region is different. We have a shopping centre within 10 minutes of wherever you are. And these shopping centres are huge and provide an excellent experience. And the buyer in this region would rather go and shop at the store and feel the product and then make the purchase. Maybe online shopping works for electronics but I feel that for eyewear purchase the region is not prepare for the online shopping experience. However if someone were to come with an unique idea and make the online experience extra special then you never know.