Mamdoh Rouhani represented Saudi Optic as jury member for Vision-X VP Awards. Here he is in conversation with Siraj Bolar
It was very interesting. Of course, it had some challenges. I think the challenges were mainly about evaluating the products based on services that the distributors provide.
What’s your opinion about the entries?
I think the entries were very good. Like I mentioned earlier it was difficult to evaluate the service of a distributor for a product as it’s different for a region like Saudi Arabia as compared to a smaller region like Kuwait, Qatar or Bahrain. It’s easier for a distributor to provide service in the smaller regions whereas in Saudi the distributor would obviously have challenges due to the geographical space.
Tell us about the evolution of optical retailing?
It’s going more towards customer loyalty and branding. The younger generation are looking more for service and that’s only natural. You will see a particular brand selling very easily at a particular brand of store where the service is excellent while another store may have the same brand and it doesn’t sell as much. It’s also different in Saudi Arabia as it has a population of 30 million and then you have large cities and then you have towns and then you have villages and rural areas. There’s a huge variety and also the tastes and consumptions are different in each region. So it’s very different from the other regions.
For those who missed out on the opportunity to have their products in Vision-X VP Awards, what do you have to say?
Well, I am sure that when the results come out they will wish they were here. I think it’s very healthy to have everyone as it makes it more credible and it also pushes the competition.
Your opinion on online retailing and where it’s headed
I am a big fan of online retailing and it’s a very tricky area. I know a few companies are investing very heavily in this and I know for a fact that it is the future. But not necessarily the near future. I needs pioneers who would invest in projects. There are certain products in the eyewear industry that a customer needs to have a physical feel of the product before purchasing and that’s currently the main hurdle. And if there’s an innovative project in the online retailing domain, I think more than the sales point of view, it’s important to be a part from a marketing point of view.