Middle East warms up to digital commerce - Gulf Business
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Middle East warms up to digital commerce

Middle East warms up to digital commerce

Digital payments platform Checkout.com tracks trends to grow regional footprint

The events of the past year have driven a massive boom in online spending, a trend that is expected to accelerate in 2021.

A recent study by Checkout.com of the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan (MENAP) region found that 47 per cent of consumers expect to shop online even more frequently this year compared to 2020.

“We’ve witnessed a steady shift to digital payments over the past six years, but the pandemic has really served as a catalyst, condensing nearly five years of growth into a matter of months,” says Mo Ali Yusuf, regional manager for the MENAP region, Checkout.com.

“Traditionally dominated by cash payments, there’s a clear opportunity for merchants today to capitalise on digital payments to meet shoppers evolving purchase preferences,” he adds.
Checkout.com is a digital payment platform whose regional customers include Careem, Seera Group among others.

There have been questions about whether the digital momentum over the past year is sustainable in the long term.

Yusuf says the digital shift is more than just a temporary change in consumer behaviour. “Preference for digital payments over cash on delivery or bank transfers rises significantly as consumers shop online more frequently. Robust digital payment options have become an integral part of what consumers in the region expect from merchants,” he adds.

Yusuf: Robust digital payment options have become an integral part of what consumers in the region expect from merchants.

Mobile wallets
Middle East customers now have plenty of digital payment options available; in response, merchants in the region have demonstrated greater flexibility in letting customers pay their way, wherever they are.

“We offer merchants an opportunity to tap into local payment methods as well as all widespread digital wallets, and of course international credit and debit cards. Our connected technology makes these payments more seamless, secure and reliable,” Yusuf says.

The use of mobile wallets is growing exponentially in the region, offering a more convenient way of paying online or in-store.

Checkout.com has as a result extended a number of its global partnerships to the region including Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal. “We have also partnered with local mobile wallets such as Benefit Pay to offer consumers more choice at the checkout. All of these wallets are available via a single technical (API) integration to Checkout.com’s platform – offering a world of opportunities for fast-growing businesses in the region,” says Yusuf.

From cloud to blockchain, technological trends will have a significant impact on the payment ecosystem in the future. “As a company, we are constantly at the forefront of exploring new technologies that can help our merchant partners in the region and around the world,” says Yusuf.

“That’s why our cloud-based payments platform has been developed from scratch to enable a single integration for global enterprises, allowing them to access the latest and most popular payment methods in all the regions in which they operate,” he concludes.

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