Mr. Al Obeidi, why did you decide to engage in the sale of men's shoes?
My company Scarpa Shoes Trading is an agency and distributor of the MM Scarpa brand in the UAE and GCC countries. We chose this brand for its uniqueness, both in terms of design and in terms of product quality. It was important for us to offer the market high-quality business men's shoes, which would differ from what other brands already have. Moreover, we deliberately did not look for a place for a boutique in well-known large shopping centers, but decided to open our first company store at the beginning of last year in the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), where office workers who are our direct consumers work.
Why did you find that it is in DIFC that it is best to open a men's shoe store?
We conducted research, studied large shopping centers, such as Wafi, BurJuman and others, which offered us a place for a store. In the end, we decided that DIFC suits us perfectly for various reasons. Firstly, we don’t sell women's or children's shoes, and the main category of visitors to DIFC are male businessmen with incomes above the average. So, it is here that our target audience is located, for which collections of shoes and accessories MM Scarpa are made. In my opinion, the choice turned out to be ideal, because at DIFC business people meet for lunch or dinner, the offices of leading financial and consulting companies are located here, it can be easily reached from the city's main highways and from major business hotels. In addition, there are no stores of our competitors, which also makes it easier for us to promote the MM Scarpa brand in this market.
Who do you consider the main competitors of MM Scarpa?
I would say that these are leading manufacturers of men's business shoes, usually Italian or English. But I would not dare to name many famous brands as our direct competitors, as MM Scarpa shoes compare favorably in price. Many people wonder where the Swiss shoes came from, because traditionally this country is not associated with shoe production, here is chocolate, cheese and watches, yes. We are proud that MM Scarpa is not a brand with a long history, but today it can fully compete with the world's leading manufacturers both in quality and price, and in the future become the international leading shoe brand for men.
What are the pricing limits for MM Scarpa products?
We offer MM Scarpa shoes, depending on the design, at a price of from 1000 to 2000 dirhams, bags and briefcases - from 2800 dirhams, and leather goods (belts, wallets, business card holders and other goods) - from 480 dirhams. Quite reasonable prices, in my opinion. However, the buyer always has the opportunity to choose and compare. I believe that MM Scarpa maintains a good price-performance ratio. If we talk about shoes, we have business shoes (classic shoes and shoes), fashionable shoes (moccasins, ankle boots, boots) and a large selection of sandals. Other categories include accessories. All our products vary in styles, colors and textures. So, the choice is great.
How often do you replenish your collections?
To date, we have in stock more than 40 different collections of shoes that differ in style, materials and colors. You understand that it is impossible to imagine everything in our store at the same time, therefore, we periodically supplement existing lines with new ones.
Or, for example, we can offer the buyer custom-made shoes if he liked a certain model, but he wants it to be a different color or from a different skin. We can help him with this.
Do you already have regular customers? How do you maintain their interest and encourage new purchases?
Since MM Scarpa is a new brand in the market, we constantly study customer demand. And, based on this, we replenish the collection with new samples. Many of our customers like patent leather shoes, others buy shoes made from exotic varieties of leather - crocodile, snake, lizard, someone like suede or bronze-colored shoes.
We have already formed a circle of regular customers, from those who suit the style and quality of MM Scarpa. One of the most important indicators of these shoes is also incredible comfort, therefore, if the shoes are suitable for the buyer, he can acquire from three to six pairs at a time. Citizens of the GCC countries love slippers of various colors and rarely buy shoes or shoes, while Europeans, on the contrary, buy business shoes from us.
As a reward to our regular customers who have bought from eight to ten pairs of shoes from us, we offer one pair of shoes as a gift. We calculate the average cost of his purchase, and for this amount he can choose a bonus pair. Moreover, for each new purchase we count 10% bonus points, and when a person gains 100%, he can also count on a pair of shoes or an accessory as a gift. Another measure of encouragement is bonus points to anyone who recommends our store to their friends. I believe that such advertising is the best and most effective.
Do you personally like MM Scarpa shoes?
I wear it with pleasure. Of course, when I am in the UAE, these are mostly slippers, but when traveling to Europe, where I have to walk a lot, I always wear MM Scarpa shoes or shoes, as they are very light and surprisingly comfortable.
Since the flagship store is already open, what are your future plans to expand the brand's presence in the region?
The first steps for further expansion, in agreement with the brand, will be the opening of MM Scarpa's branded departments in large department stores in the UAE and in the countries of the region. We are already presenting our products in Salam department stores in Wafi and Mirdif City Center shopping centers, and are in talks with other large multi-brand galleries. Next, we will develop business in the UAE and in neighboring Gulf countries. Hope he will be successful.
Thanks for the conversation, Mr. Obaidi. I wish you success.