Smart Receipt For A Smarter Dubai

Dubai Economic Department (DED) has announced to introduce “City Smart Receipt” which will allow retailers in Dubai to issue smart receipts rather than paper or email receipt against the purchases made. A memorandum has been signed with a San Francisco based green technology firm named retailGreen to enact the initiative. The concept, which is considered to be first of its kind across the globe, is aligned with the Smart City plan.

The Smart City plan, which has been announced in October this year, aims at connecting the citizen with public services through the help of high speed free internet accessed via citizen’s smart or mobile devices. The intended plan of offering sophisticated value added services to the citizen will be realized by synergizing the expertise of public and private sectors. Like the “City Smart Receipt” the parent initiative is unparalleled across the globe and once realized can enhance the status of Dubai as one of the most technologically advanced city globally.

Coming to the “City Smart Receipt”, it might be considered as an immensely constructive step by Dubai, towards offering its residents and tourist a hassle free retail environment. It can make shopping a more pleasurable experience in the Emirate as shoppers would not require carrying paper receipts, unnecessarily.  Zooming out a little more; the initiative will also have implications in the context of environment and business intelligence as well.

The initiative, which is based on real time digital records, can stimulate the business intelligence landscape of the Dubai’s retail sector. Dubai, which is known as the retail capital of the Middle East, enjoys a vibrant retail sector driven by massive family consumption and robust tourism inflow. Not to mention a diverse and cosmopolitan culture, that adds extra depth in allowing retail industry flourish extravagantly.

The initiative can help retail stores generate and analyze both purchase and consumption behavior in detail and hence consequently devise effective strategies to retain and expand their customer base. Similarly, as the receipt will be stored on the mobile and handset device, it will allow shoppers to evaluate their buying and spending behavior with more convenience. More often than not, it is observed that shoppers do not carry the receipt and hence are deprived of understanding their own spending behavior. On the contrary, with the emergence of smart phone the initiative taken by the DED and Dubai Government seems to be well timed.

Another area which should receive a significant impact is the environment. Replacing paper receipt with mobile based receipt system can contribute towards reducing the carbon footprint in UAE. It is important to note that UAE has a notorious carbon footprint of around 19.9 metric tons per capita, much higher than other developed counterparts such as United Kingdom, Japan and Germany. Hence, integration of greener technologies with the existing retail infrastructure is definitely constructive step.

The administrative benefit will manifest in the form of DED offering permits for promotion inline without the procedure of submission of paper receipts by the retailers. There is not much information available in terms of the willingness of the retail companies towards adopting the initiative. However, Union Cooperative or Uni-Cop, where most of the Emiratis and expatriates shop, has signed up for the initiative. If our initial discussions with some of the insiders in Dubai’s retail sector serve us right, many retailers are optimistic about the initiative and are planning to implement it in the next stage. They believe, it will enhance the Konnect between the shoppers and retailers.

Author: RKonnect
The author is the Managing Director of Research Konnection, a Dubai based market research and consulting firm that helps local and international companies to identify emerging business opportunities and successfully expand in the Gulf region. The author can be reached at
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