Virgin Megastore MENA launched their first e-commerce channel and transform themselves into an omnichannel organization in only 9 months.
Gain unique insights on this project, from inception through to launch, and find out how we helped the leading lifestyle & entertainment brand deliver the first omnichannel experience in the Middle East.
The UAE online grocery market: a massive growth potential
Whilst the UAE online grocery market is still in its infancy, the potential for growth is exponential when we consider:
The relatively low labour and fuel costs in the UAE, which could be a key enabler for new players moving into the online grocery market.
The ability to quickly onboard lessons learned or tried and tested methods from other countries. For example, the concept of ‘store-to-home’ fulfillment, which has replaced ‘warehouse-to-home’ in more recent years.
An evaluation of four retailers from a customer perspective
In our exclusive report, we analyzed from a customer perspective the perceived value and unique benefits of the online channel for four regional brick & mortar grocers, to understand how well they were meeting the multichannel expectations of today’s UAE consumers.
Over the past 20 years we have seen a stampede of traditional retailers adding an online channel, with almost all now offering some form of Click & Collect as part of their service proposition.
Pure players though appeared to be already ahead of the game with speed to market, technological advancements, endless aisles and lower cost base modeling as the dominant factor for them to remain solely online.
This infographic illustrates the value of returning customers by summing-up key takeaways from recent articles on the subject. It highlights why investing in customer retention should be of equal importance to acquisition. This is even more prevalent in digital commerce as customer loyalty levels are lower for online retailers.
In the first of this 2-part article, we shared key considerations for building an effective multichannel commerce RFP that will facilitate your integration partner search. We will now provide some insights on important factors that will help you identify and select the right e-commerce integrator as part of your RFP.
Adding a new e-commerce channel to a brick & mortar business is an intricate process and choosing the right e-commerce integrator is crucial.
In the first of a 2-part article, we will share key considerations that will facilitate your supplier search and enable you to identify the integration partner that best meets the needs of your project.
As the backbone of the project’s implementation, your integrator’s experience and support will not only help secure the delivery of your project, but will also greatly affect the development and deployment of your multichannel roadmap in the future.
United Arab Emirates retailers deal with more than a hundred nationalities. This means different cultures and various shopping habits, sensitivities and aesthetics preferences. When designing an e-commerce website, an app or even an email blast, it is essential to know and understand your target user. Unfortunately, there is no “common user” and different customer groups must be addressed differently. It is even truer in the UAE, where it is unlikely the designer shares the same cultural background as his/her target audience.
This is where personas come into play: personas are fictional characters representing typical users or customers; they help shape profiles based on needs, motivations and desires. As we wrote in a previous blog on User Experience, creating personas can greatly facilitate decision-making, and also reduce errors and rework hours traditionally associated with design concept misinterpretations as part of multichannel projects.
In this article, we will not delve into what personas are, as there is plenty of literature on this topic, but focus more on their benefits for a multichannel business, in particular in the UAE.
Luxury brands have been reluctant to adopt digital commerce
For years, prestige goods companies have looked down on online sales channels, which they have perceived as inappropriate for an industry which is all about high-quality and exclusivity.
“We think for luxury it’s not right. It’s good in countries that don’t have the shop nearby.”
Many preferred keeping luxury in the rarefied world of high-end boutiques and department store glossy storefronts. They have mostly been using the online channel to showcase the brand, through institutional websites with limited product content and information.
Whilst many retailers have hesitated to adopt e-commerce for fear of store sales cannibalization, the reluctance of premium brands seems to have been mainly driven by a somewhat conservative view of the luxury shopping experience. This view has been largely supported by the stereotype of e-commerce as a discount channel on which it is difficult to perceive and experience the product quality.
Late 2013, Amazon decided to step out of the mass market and launched The Luxury Beauty Store, a beauty products sales site to attract prestige brands. This site competes directly with luxury cosmetics brands and leverages the marketplace’s muscle power (e.g. free shipping for orders above 35$ and free 48h-delivery for Prime customers).
Many premium brands initially refused to join Amazon’s new site, which they perceived as a grey market and low-price channel. They hoped to continue controlling their distribution and pricing, but had to rapidly review their strategy upon realizing their products were actually widely sold on the marketplace by third-party sellers. By officially listing on the Luxury Beauty Store, many of these brands managed to better control the distribution of their products on the platform.
Last month we wrote about how User Experience design matters in helping satisfying customers growing multichannel expectations, through understanding the users, their context and the interfaces they are interacting with.
We mainly focused on the customer demands and we will now see how User Experience design participates in meeting business objectives.