Personalisation: how retailers can get their piece of the pie

Middle East customers are craving online personalisation

As more and more e-commerce websites are emerging in the region, consumers are increasingly turning to digital to search and purchase products – UAE, KSA and Egypt consumers spend in excess of 7 hours online daily; 3 of those being on social media according to Hootsuite(1). Digital is increasingly  changing customer expectation – in the UAE for example 89% of consumers are stating that they are more likely to buy from e-commerce platforms that personalise content to a unique user(2).

From browsing, search and purchase history through to wish lists and reviews, consumers leave a wealth of precious behavioral information that should be leveraged to create highly differentiated and rewarding shopping experiences. Yet in real life, Middle Eastern consumers are quite frequently exposed to irrelevant and poorly executed personalisation experiences.

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How AI is transforming retail

Everyone is talking about Artificial Intelligence or AI; this umbrella of technologies that is able to emulate and sometimes replace human cognitive performance. In fact AI is already largely present in everyday digital interactions. Think of voice recognition, maps itinerary calculation, stock trading and gaming to name a few.

In retail, Artificial Intelligence is primarily being used by market leaders to personalise marketing engagement, optimise supply chain operations and costs and enhance customer experience across channels. Let’s walk through a few examples.

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Amazon.me is coming – what to expect in consideration of Amazon.in

Earlier this year, news that Amazon had acquired Souq.com threw the Middle East retail scene into turmoil, for the e-commerce giant’s hunger for growth is legendary. Yet over the ensuing months, business has more or less returned to normal. As we consider how Amazon changed the face of India’s e-commerce landscape forever – despite a late entry onto the local scene – and given the many similarities seen between India and Middle East market conditions, we could well be witnessing the calm before the storm.

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Is noon on its way to deliver the best ecommerce experience in the GCC?

Noon.com, the $1 billion e-commerce joint venture founded by Mohamed Alabbar, was announced in November 2016 as a ‘future-focused company which is the biggest online shopping platform ever seen in the region’. Its launch at the time was expected in January 2017.

Since then, noon acquired JadoPado in May and appointed Faraz Khalid (formerly of Namshi) as CEO in July following Emaar’s acquisition of 51% of Namshi.com. Meanwhile, Amazon completed their acquisition of Souq.com in July.

On the evening of the 30th September the long awaited noon.com went live followed by a dozen announcements in the regional press. By the end of the next day, The National even published a price comparison benchmark with their direct rival Souq.com.

We visited the website of this new marketplace with a lot of excitement and asked ourselves ‘Is noon.com up to market expectations?’

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Driving change in omnichannel retail

In our article Meeting the omnichannel expectations of your customers, we talked about the business loss that may result from lack of in-store adoption of the ecommerce channel and how it could affect the customer perception of your brand as a whole.

More recently, we have been talking to several Middle East retail groups who have taken the plunge into ecommerce, but are realising multichannel is not being so readily adopted throughout their organisations.

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Report: The UAE E-commerce Fashion Landscape

How brick & mortar fashion brands sell online in the UAE

Whilst the store remains the favorite destination for apparel shopping, digital is increasingly influencing 
in-store sales and more and more brands such as Marks & Spencer, Nordstrom and Net-A-Porter are selling online in the UAE.
As online shopping is increasingly being adopted by UAE consumers, we have reviewed the country’s 
e-commerce fashion landscape.

Our analysis of the e-commerce presence of 
450 brands in the UAE revealed five main groups. In this report, we delve into each one of these models in more details and share insights about their benefits and disadvantages for retailers.

Download the full report

Meeting the omnichannel expectations of your customers

From department stores through to grocers and mall operators, omnichannel is rapidly gaining momentum in the MENA region. As more and more retailers are evaluating which way to go in the age of digital and customer-centricity, we highlight in this short article the key differentiators between siloed-multichannel and fully transformational omnichannel approaches.

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Digital interactions driving store conversion & sales

In our previous article, we reviewed some of the digital tools used by retailers to drive store footfall and customer engagement with their products and brands.
In the second of this 2-part series, we will now look at examples of digital technologies that can be used in store to drive conversion levels and sales.

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Geant and Choithrams websites redesign: have they improved the customer experience?

In March, we released our Multichannel grocery shopping report which analyzed from a customer perspective the multichannel offerings of 4 leading grocers in the UAE. In parallel to this, Geant and Choithrams, who were both reviewed in the report, have released new versions of their respective e-commerce websites. Beyond the noticeably revamped designs though, what are the main changes which have been implemented and have they improved the overall customer experience?

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Digital interactions driving store footfall & engagement

Due to the digital evolution, the bricks-and-mortar retailing space is changing with many analysts predicting that we will see more changes in the next 5 years than we have seen in the past 20.

Historically driven by a need to stop stores simply becoming showrooms, retailers now have access to an abundance of digitally interactive solutions they can use in pursuing their overall business objectives, from driving customer engagement and loyalty through to conversion and sales.

In the first of a 2-part article, we will look at some of the technologies and tools which can be used by retailers to drive footfall and customer engagement levels in the store itself.

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