A wide range of promotions and discounts offered by popular brands and retailers in Qatar have surged online amid the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, it is learnt.
With most retail shops at major malls closed, many businesses have relied heavily on promoting and marketing their products, especially non-food commodities, on social media and other digital platforms to attract customers.
From luxury apparel and bags, perfumes, jewellery, electronic devices and personal accessories to cars, vehicle insurance, and services, among others, residents can choose from an array of selections that suit their budget and preference.
Car insurance companies, for example, entice customers with special premiums, as well as additional services and exclusive discounts if they buy comprehensive insurance.
Besides free roadside assistance for a flat tyre or a dead battery, some companies offers include giving a courtesy car for a number of days for those who had an accident and may not be able to use their vehicles, free airport drop, and free car pickup for its regular maintenance.
“This is very timely as many car owners like me are renewing vehicle insurance during this period,” said long time Filipino expatriate Rolly Q, who is also told to work from home.
He also lauded the decision to temporarily suspend car inspection saying that such move is logical since many commuters may not use their vehicles for now.
Online shoppers can also avail of discounts up to 50% for apparel such as denim, jackets, and shirts for both men and women, as well as cosmetics and fragrances, with free delivery to their homes for both cash and card payments.
A resident who work from home told Gulf Times that she finds online orders convenient, hassle-free and time-saving after getting her office/computer chair from a popular furniture chain.
“Aside from saving money for transportation, I also got a good deal since these items I bought were on special promotion,” she said, adding that many of her colleagues have availed of such offers.
It is learnt that many residents in Doha continue to receive emails from renowned luxury brands from other countries which offer promotions, discounts and free shipping.
Meanwhile, major hypermarkets and supermarkets in Qatar are trying to increase their capacity for delivery as the demand for online shopping, particularly grocery items, continue to surge.
Several residents hope that delivery will improve since they prefer to stay home and wait for their orders than visit a store to buy what they need.
“I ordered several food items on March 21 on their (hypermarket) website and delivery was supposed to be on March 24. When I called and made a follow-up, I was told that they might deliver it only between April 6 and 14, it’s really very frustrating,” said a resident at Al-Hilal, who was prompted to go to the nearest store to buy essential commodities.
Hypermarkets such as LuLu, however, have implemented a number of precautionary measures such as putting transparent protective screens across its stores to safeguard the health and welfare of its employees and customers against Covid-19.
According to LuLu, other measures to prevent the spread of the virus include frequent hand-washing of its staff, marking the floors for customers to follow the right distance in queues, availability of hand sanitsers at relevant areas, and exclusive check outs for health workers, elderly and vulnerable people, among others.
Apart from posting promotions on social media, many retailers are also sending messages via sms to inform customers about their offers.