The Connected Consumer

Consumers are increasingly connected through a wide array of Internet-connected devices.

Customers no longer interact with companies from a pure “channel” perspective. They interact through different touchpoints opening up to many new possible journeys as they engage with brands and shop.

The Web is the most commonly employed touchpoint when shopping today (see the purchase lifecyle below), be it to search products online, read reviews, compare pricing or find store location. 83% of customers research products online before buying (66% in the Middle East). Customers are becoming savvier and they expect accurate and relevant information to be available in support of their purchase decision making.

scheme showing customer touchpoints and purchase flow

The customer touchpoints in the purchase lifecycle

Only 15% of Middle East businesses have online presence today.

Considering GCC impressive Internet penetration (around 60%), the gap between consumers expectations and the existing regional market offer is becoming increasingly noticeable. This is especially true for online commerce as most e-commerce occurring in the MENA region is cross-border with a staggering 70% year-on-year growth. Regional businesses, whether B2C or B2B, therefore need to urgently react and establish at a bear minimum strong online presence in line with today’s consumers digital habits and expectations.

Sources

Welcome to the Era of Agile Commerce (Forrester)
The Multichannel Retail Handbook, Chris Jones, Jan 2013
Ecommerce Middle East (go-gulf.com)
PayPal Insights – e-commerce in the Middle East 2012-2015