Four steps for UAE businesses to up their e-commerce game
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Four steps for UAE businesses to up their e-commerce game

Four steps for UAE businesses to up their e-commerce game

Many consumers are unlikely to give up online shopping even after the pandemic ends

Dubai Real estate

The UAE’s e-commerce sector this year saw massive growth as consumers shifted to buying online following the lockdown and other measures by the local government to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

In a recent survey, Dubai Economy, Dubai Police and Visa conducted earlier this year, almost half (49 per cent) of UAE consumers said they have been shopping online more since the outbreak. The majority (61 per cent) said they were now using cards or digital wallets more to pay online instead of cash-on-delivery. For many it was also their first-time shopping online, but data shows that they’re unlikely to give up the ease of the e-commerce experience after the pandemic ends.

But there’s still so much ground left to gain.

According to ‘The United Arab Emirates (UAE) eCommerce Landscape 2020’, a joint study by Dubai Economy and Visa, the UAE e-commerce sector is expected to see continued growth, driven by the demand for online purchasing by a young tech-savvy population. Shopping via mobile devices, personal computers, tablets, and connected devices is an accepted part of their everyday lives. Considering the country’s high population of digitally native millennials, if you aren’t making the transition to seamless and convenient online buying, your business risks falling behind.

To help your business plot the next step in its online trajectory, here are four moves you really need to be thinking about to step up your e-commerce game:

Bridge the retail digital divide with augmented reality
Don’t write-off the idea of venturing into augmented reality (AR) as too far into the future. Bringing in-store experiences online will be important to retain recent online shopping converts. The ability to experience the product is a key reason for in-store shopping but if you’ve got the tools to bridge the retail digital divide, you’re sure to become a preferred platform with consumers and set yourself apart from the competition. AR technologies offer a much richer buying experience enabling online shoppers to better visualise the products they are interested in from the comfort and safety of their homes. The trend is likely to stick even post-pandemic as a way for consumers to test or try products before purchase.

Use your best word-of-mouth for social commerce and in-app purchases
With everyone glued to their mobile devices for hours of the day, with significant time spent on social media, think of how much more reach your business could have if you sold on social networking and sharing sites. Platforms such as Instagram have integrated e-commerce, with in-app checkout, allowing users to make purchases without leaving the app. Going social also gives you the chance to chat with customers and respond to questions in real-time and in a more relatable way. Don’t forget to make sure your product images wow your audiences and get them to act instantly.

Get feedback and personalise the experience
Pay attention to what your customers are or aren’t doing on your shopping platform. Are they able to find what they want? Are they abandoning carts? Did they come looking for particular deals? Merchants are increasingly analysing customers’ previous actions, shopping behaviours, demographic profile, and other personal data to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, that inform individualised offers and product recommendations. Becoming more data-driven can give you an added edge to keep your customers loyal, returning and converting.

Expand your digital payments 
It’s no secret that customer will abandon purchases if their preferred payment method isn’t available or if they don’t feel secure. From securing transactions, to enabling new form factors, to driving value through loyalty and trust – make sure you do it all. Digital payments facilitate secure, frictionless, and convenient e-commerce experiences. Adding on payment options such as cards and “pay” buttons such as PayPal, Apple Pay and Visa’s Click to Pay removes the hassle of entering payment details for each transaction. Technologies such as Tokenization and Secure Remote Commerce that increase security and reduce friction will also evolve to be part of the default checkout flow of e-commerce merchants, replacing traditional checkout forms.

Dubai Economy has prioritised digital payments as a key enabler for its smart transformation that will set Dubai apart as a competitive global business hub. Also, partnerships between government and private sector players are instrumental in accelerating e-commerce success and economic growth.

Marcello Baricordi is Visa’s general manager for MENA, and Mohammed Ali Rashed Lootah is the CEO of Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector at Dubai Economy

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