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Customer Engagement & Brand Loyalty Learnings from Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) 2023

Customer delight and unbelievable discounts contribute to 28 years of success of DSF 2023. Learn about customer engagement tactics & loyalty programs Emirati brands have deployed in the event to bring more loyal shoppers.


Aprajeeta Singh

7 Min Read

March 01, 2023

Dubai is one of the leading cities in the Middle East in innovation, creativity, and development. UAE was ranked first in the MENA region for doing business in the World Bank Group’s 2020 Ease of Doing Business survey. The country offers great benefits for entrepreneurs to build their businesses and implement strategic practices to support trade. 


Events and festivals have always been a major source to attract tourists and increase trade globally. Likewise, in Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE) started Dubai Shopping Festival as a city event to promote retail businesses in 1995. He led the foundation of the Dubai Events and Promotion Establishment (DEPE) – now Dubai Festivals & Retail Establishment (DFRE), dedicated to conducting and managing Dubai festivals and events. For 28 years, DSF has contributed majorly to tourism marketing and retail trade in the UAE. ”Providing luxurious customer experiences” always remains the primary focus for Dubai’s trade & tourism authorities. 


Several premium Emirati brands participate in DSF every year and use intriguing approaches to engage with shoppers. There is some surprise element in every DSF you haven’t seen elsewhere. Here we will focus on the approach DSF took in 2023 to improve customer engagement, which you can also use for your business. Also, we will talk about loyalty programs DFRE & Emirati brands deployed to drive brand loyalty. 


Unique Customer engagement strategies at DSF 2023

DSF Black Box – Way to increase in-store Footfalls

DSF black box - An idea to increase in-store footfalls

“Guess & Win” that’s a simple strategy to solve the mystery of DSF Black Box. DFRE placed rewards for customers in Dubai’s 3 premium malls – Mall of Emirates, City Center Mirdif, and City Center Deira, one at a time. They rewarded 3 winners, one at each mall, who guessed right about the reward inside the black box. 


Key Takeaways – 

  • Brands can leverage this idea and implement it in their physical retail outlets to improve in-store footfalls. 
  • At DSF, customers who shopped for a minimum of AED 200 were eligible to participate in the ‘Guess & Win’ campaign. Likewise, you can set eligibility criteria and set the timeline for more than a week to have more customers visiting the store.
  • Like DSF promoted DSF black box on deal portals on the web, you can promote such deals and put it on your website/mobile app to inform your shoppers.  


Here’s how Capillary’s Engage+ can assist in the goal of increasing store visitors. It lets you personalize interactions with your shoppers using targeted campaigns across multiple channels. With the below features, you can do much more than the implementation of such events–

  • Set marketing objective: You can make your campaigns smarter by defining your marketing objectives. Say here it will be “increase store visits.” It lets you configure the regions, stores, or zones where you are offering discounts/sales or conducting any event. 

Personalize your marketing campaigns with Capillary's Engage+

  • Message optimization strategies: Engage+ lets you personalize your messages for product/store-specific promotions.

Message optimization feature - Capillary's Engage+

  • You can set the channel priority rules for your target audience per their response rate and minimize the cost of communication.
  • Leveraging the power of AI, you can reach your customers on the channels they most likely respond to with X-Engage. With the right message on the right channel, X-engage helps you boost your ROI. 



DSF Lucky Receipt – An approach to drive more social media engagement

DSF lucky Receipt - Way to improve social engagement

That’s the signature promotion of DSF for customers to win incredible surprises like 75″ Sony TV, the iPhone 14 Pro Max, and more. It was a 10-day long discount offer open for anyone who shops for AED 500 or more from any of the 10 participating brands like Eros, Galeries Lafayette, and more. They announced DSF lucky receipt winners on their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter handles.


Key takeaway – 

  • The approach is perfect to drive more traction on your social channels. 
  • Further, you can keep organizing lucky draws along with monthly/ quarterly sales to promote more social commerce. 

This gives you another channel to understand your audience a bit more with their social interaction patterns. Here, comes the role of Facebook Campaigns you can create with Capillary’s Engage+. 

Configure targeted Facebook campaigns with Capillary's Engage+

Utilize your existing target audience groups on Engage+, linking your official Facebook Ad account to your Engage+ organization’s profile. You can build a better connect with your newly added followers and give them offers on their next orders. You can run and manage as many as campaigns together as you want to create for different target audiences with variable marketing objectives.

Golden Tickit – DSF’s all-in-one Loyalty program

Golden Tickit - DSF's all-in-one loyalty program

Golden Tickit – a loyalty app by Dubai Holdings (A real estate company of Dubai’s Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum) to let visitors and shoppers instantly earn and redeem points at DSF 2023. The app lets users sign up feeding their UAE-issued Visa or Mastercard. It is a group loyalty program designed for customers to earn reward points across diverse activities. While shopping in a mall, staying in a hotel, visiting theme parks, or dining in any restaurant, there is a reward for customers for every Dirham spent. Moreover, the app offers weekly prizes, daily awards, and a chance to earn double points on partnered brands.


Key Takeaways – 

  • Loyalty programs are a great way to drive customer retention, increase referrals, and encourage repeat purchases. If you plan to incorporate a loyalty program that can create a holistic view of your business, Capillary’s Loyalty+ can make it happen for you. 
  • Partnering with brands across diverse domains lets you offer more chances to earn customers and engage with them often. 
  • A group loyalty program like Golden Tickit can be helpful to give quick rewards to your customers for their loyalty and increase their customer lifetime value. 
  • Also, it gives you an understanding of your customer’s journey with multiple brands and gives you better insights to improve customer experiences.

Enrich customer relationships with conglomerate loyalty program like SHARE Rewards

SHARE rewards - UAE’s renowned conglomerate lifestyle reward program

SHARE rewards – UAE’s renowned conglomerate lifestyle reward program by Majid Al Futtaim gave an opportunity for its customers to win 1 Million reward points by shopping from them in Dubai Shopping Festival. They ran 12-hour campaign where their 100+ partnered brands located in City Center malls & Mall of the Emirates gave up to 90% discounts. A lucky winner of that campaign could unlock the chance to win 1 Million SHARE points. As a SHARE member, the winner will be able to redeem rewards to any of their 2300 stores within 16 shopping malls. 


Key Learnings – 

  • To claim rewards, shoppers were nudged to download MAF SHARE Rewards app. This approach helps you understand how shoppers think about claiming rewards and make decisions accordingly. A little nudge allows brands to build long-term connections with shoppers. 
  • Multi-brand loyalty programs power customers with more choices to stay engaged for a longer tenure. You can partner with the brands in your domain to increase customer engagement and make rewards programs more widely accessible. (Learn here how to design an effective conglomerate program)
  • SHARE rewards allow customers to pull and gift points within a group. You can implement similar features in your loyalty program to give your customers more than earn-redeem options. 

Uplift your digital engagement with Collaborations like X Club Apparel at DSF

Increase digital engagement collaborating with brands and Club Apparel collaborated for a campaign, “DSF VAT ON US week,” under which they waived Value Added Tax (VAT) for shoppers for a week. More than 25 renowned brands like Aldo, Calvin Klein, Levi’s, and Beverly Hills Polo Club partnered with them in the VAT ON US campaign. Also, they rewarded 24 lucky shoppers of the week with 1250 Club Apparel points (worth AED1,250). Additionally, 7 most fortunate customers had the opportunity to win 10,000 Club Apparel points. 


Key Learnings:

  • Customers are more likely to sign up for a multi-brand loyalty program that offers them more choices to earn & redeem rewards. That’s where collaborations can earn you more success than a dedicated loyalty program solely for your brand.
  • Time-limited reward campaigns can drive instant engagement at your store. You can try vivid approaches to decide on the interaction patterns working well with your customers. 


That overviews how DFRE, in association with Dubai’s premium retail brands, is driving customer engagement and brand loyalty in DSF 2023. Unleash new growth opportunities for your brand with us. 




People also ask   


1.What are the most successful loyalty programs in Malaysia?

The most successful loyalty programs in Malaysia include those by AirAsia, Petronas, and Maybank, which offer innovative rewards and seamless customer experiences through advanced loyalty management platforms.


2.How can Malaysian businesses create effective loyalty programs?

Malaysian businesses can create effective loyalty programs by using customer data to personalize rewards, integrating loyalty programs with digital marketing strategies, and offering exclusive benefits to loyal customers.


3.What are the key elements of a successful loyalty program in Malaysia?

Key elements of a successful loyalty program in Malaysia include personalized rewards, a user-friendly mobile app, regular engagement through email marketing, and partnerships with other brands to offer diverse benefits.


4.Why should Malaysian companies invest in loyalty program technology?

Malaysian companies should invest in loyalty program technology to enhance customer engagement, streamline operations, gain insights from customer data, and ultimately drive higher customer retention and sales.


5.How can B2B loyalty programs drive business growth in Malaysia?

B2B loyalty programs can drive business growth in Malaysia by building strong relationships with business partners, offering incentives for repeat purchases, and providing valuable data for improving business strategies.



Aprajeeta Singh
Aprajeeta Singh

Writer by profession & an artist by passion. Aprajeeta spends most of her days writing the tales of brands and those of her imagination. In odd hours you find her reading literature & diving deeper into ecommerce sciences. Art fuels her creativity & she adores experimenting with it.

Aauthor Name

Aprajeeta Singh

Writer by profession & an artist by passion. Aprajeeta spends most of her days writing the tales of brands and those of her imagination. In odd hours you find her reading literature & diving deeper into ecommerce sciences. Art fuels her creativity & she adores experimenting with it.

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