What to Consider as an eCommerce Business in the Middle East

Amy Thomason
March 19, 2021
5 mins

The Middle East is an up-and-coming region when it comes to eCommerce. Digital maturity has been growing and although it’s made up of a lot of different countries, cultures and accompanying complexities, as a whole it is rife with opportunity.

On the back of RetailX’s eCommerce World Review of the Middle East webinar featuring experts from Amplience and Tealium, we thought we’d look at a few important strategies you need to be adopting if you want to get ahead in the region.

Delivering true omnichannel experiences

Pre-Covid, in-store shopping and the mall culture dominated the Middle East retail approach. The online eCommerce experience was mainly one of browsing. Now, it’s about transacting. And although this change was forced upon brands and retailers through lockdowns and store closures, customer behavior and expectations have changed as a result. It’s a trend that’s here to stay.

Mobile adoption is also on the rise in the Middle East, as is the number of channels people can shop and interact with brands through. Customers are going between devices to purchase, and their experience with a brand can come from a number of peripheral elements.

So, retailers must take all these elements into account and take on a true omnichannel approach whereby customers get the same seamless experience regardless of how or where they shop. No longer will it suffice to have the in-store experiences and tacked on online presence of old. Every device, every channel, every interaction demands consistency and must deliver a high-quality experience. Conversion rates and revenue depend on it.

Building meaningful relationships with your customers

Many eCommerce businesses are moving away from a transactional mindset, instead realizing the value of having more personal relationships with customers. They know that while simply selling will provide short-term revenue, it’s the relationships they can cultivate with shoppers that will deliver long-term brand advocacy and repeat custom.

With this, retailers must know their customers, intimately. They must capture and use the data available to them to provide not only the consistent experiences across channels and devices mentioned above but personalized and relevant experiences too. Simply, if you’re not doing so your customers will switch off and go elsewhere.

The Middle East is still maturing in the digital and eCommerce space, to the point where one to one personalization might not be quite there yet. But retailers must still get to know their customers across devices, sessions, channels and across time and tailor everything therein. Because transactions don’t always happen on one device, in one sitting. They must also be able to capture contextual data to understand not just that one person completely but understand patterns across say, a household, because what if a person is buying for someone in their family for example?

Leverage and invest in existing technology

Now’s the time for retailers in the Middle East to invest in and leverage the right technology – because all of the above, and more, can be achieved if they do so. The winners in the Middle Eastern eCommerce space will take stock of the tech solutions available to them, looking to scalable, best-of-breed platforms and tools to build out their digital channels and online business. With this composable commerce approach retailers will be able to realize the flexibility and agility needed to scale for the future.   It’s the retailers that look beyond simply relying on their physical stores for revenue and understand the power of digital that will prosper.

Taking on the Middle East

If you want to understand more about eCommerce trends in the Middle East, then RetailX’s The Middle East 2020 Ecommerce Region Report is a great place to start. Similarly, you can get more expert insight from Amplience and Tealium in the RetailX eCommerce World Review: Middle East webinar.

If you’re keen to take advantage of the technology you need to deliver powerful digital experiences, then simply get in touch.