Go for a brand new physical store or expand on the virtual presence? Tech gadget retailers in the UAE — and elsewhere — have to wrestle with these starkly divergent options to map out their expansion plans. And, as yet, there are no clear-cut answers.

Which is why retailers seem to find it best to have a foot in both camps. “Keeping in mind the fact that the residents in the UAE always want their hands on the latest available products, the average sales on per square foot ratio remains stable,” said Jaouad Dakir, CEO of E-City. “We think the market is far from saturation.

“Our new strategy aims to go above and beyond mundane electronic offerings.” (As a first step on this pathway, the retailer has gone in a for new corporate identity and accompanying tagline — ‘Experience the Future of Electronics’.)

E-City operates locations at The Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and Mirdif City Centre, among others. The existing outlets are to be revamped to for a “more comprehensive design, (and) a more engaging user experience with enhanced offerings,” the CEO added. “We are also actively seeking ideal locations to set up new stores, which will take shape by February.

“The reworked strategies will be evident in the logo, product offerings, store design, marketing models, customer engagement programmes and much more.” But the retailer is as keen to maintain a parallel online presence. “We are currently in the process of establishing a solid presence in the form of online stores,” said Dakir. “We have seen a stark increase in the online retailing trend in electronics because of factors such as convenience of cash-on-delivery payment and price discounts.”