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MENA Consumers Are Shopping Online. Here's How Your E-Commerce Store Can Get Their Business

10 Mar 2024

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The power of e-commerce is undeniable. But it’s shocking to see how few businesses in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and throughout the greater MENA region are leveraging it to their advantage.

Whether you are a newly-founded tech-based enterprise or an old-school “brick and mortar” business launching your first “click and order” system, there’s a lot of growth happening for you to leverage. As our COO Ahmed Abousafy reported in our Adobe Commerce article, the MENA e-commerce market is expected to reach U.S. $57 billion in 2026, according to the latest EZDubai e-commerce report .

This amazing growth can be attributed to many factors, from progressive government policies and tech infrastructure initiatives to urbanization and an increasingly young, tech-savvy population. Economic stability is also driving the move towards online retail sales.

At Robusta Technology Group, we have the honor of partnering with some of the champions in the MENA region’s business world .They are the companies driving the shift to online commerce.

Many of these leading companies have a few things in common. A set of “best practices” is being developed in real time for making online shoppers feel confident about shopping with these companies.

Let’s talk about the best practices your company needs to attract e-commerce business and inspire loyalty and brand confidence in 2024 and beyond.

Strive For Front-To-Back Operational Excellence

The frontend of an e-commerce website is the digital storefront that shoppers interact with. These interactions should feel as seamless and intuitive for the user as possible. It’s not just about an aesthetically pleasing web experience; the progression from one step of the conversion process to the other should be largely automated.

The best e-commerce players create elegant experiences for their customers. Exceptional UX includes search capabilities, engaging content, and flawless integrations that minimize friction, ease navigation and make shopping truly engaging.

For this to happen, your online storefront must have a rock-solid back-end infrastructure as its foundation.

The backend of an e-commerce website is the part that handles prices, promotions, product images, order details, customer information and fulfillment. This layer includes components like the web server, application server, and database that make the frontend interactive.

Developing the right technology stack isn’t easy. Robusta Studio takes that challenge off your shoulders by helping you identify the gaps in your tech stack and implement the right operational solutions for your unique business model and your unique business goals.

Create Thoughtful Budget Forecasts Based On Hard Data

Business decisions should never be made impulsively or arbitrarily. You want to allocate resources as efficiently as possible. Business forecasting can help make sure money and resources aren’t being misused or wasted.

Whether your business is just launching or in growth mode, staying ahead of consumer demand means you can better capitalize on opportunities, overcome challenges, and watch your business expand. Staying ahead of this demand means forecasting market trends and your own budgetary allocations in a thoughtful, flexible and accurate way.

MENA-region business leaders need accurate forecasts so they can prioritize spending for marketing, website development, and inventory management. Overspending (or underspending) on any of these functions can be lethal.

So how do you determine how much money it takes to properly run your e-commerce business? Part of the puzzle is predicting your revenue within a given period based on past sales records. You can't predict the future, but you can combine historical data with an analysis of market trends to make an educated guess.

Run experiments before committing more budget to anything. Review the data to run quarterly budgets and further optimisations. Remember: e-commerce businesses can see vastly different sales from day to day and from season to season. By creating multiple projections, you can react proactively to multiple feasible scenarios.

Our region is growing, and a key application for e-commerce budget forecasting is finding new growth opportunities. Accurate forecasting means mapping out how a new opportunity might affect your bottom line. Which brings me to our next point …

Form Strategic Partnerships To Increase Your Business Reach

Through partnerships with businesses that offer complementary products, your e-commerce business can expand product offerings, tap into new markets and drive more revenue for both you and your partner.

Strategic partnerships can also make new resources and capabilities available. If you're weak in a certain area (say, technology, supply chain management, customer service, or digital marketing), a partner who excels in these areas can help you improve operations.

In addition to shared knowledge and expertise, third-party players help accelerate business with less effort. Say you’re providing a service to UAE consumers and you partner with someone offering a complimentary service to shoppers in Egypt. A well-defined campaign to cross-promote can not only be mutually beneficial, it can transform your entire business.

A caveat: Done prematurely, a partnership between two e-commerce businesses can become a distraction or even set a new company up for failure. So do your homework.

Master Logistics & Tech-Powered Supply Chains

The right mix of omnichannel strategies, online payments, and expedited delivery helps businesses maintain positive experiences without sacrificing the bottom line.

Although logistics and supply chain management differ for every company,they normally include these components:

-** Order fulfillment**: This includes everything in the logistics process that happens before shipping (such as warehousing, inventory management, packing, and handing off the order to the carrier).

  • Inventory management: Do you know what’s in your warehouse? Meeting and anticipating demand depends on proper inventory management. It also helps to ship items faster so customers won’t have to wait as long.

  • Ecommerce warehousing: When sales are up, you’ll need more space for your inventory. How much inventory should you stock, and where should you keep it? The warehouse should communicate with the other parts of the supply chain to make sure the right levels of stock are maintained.

  • Order packing and shipping: Ensuring the right products make it into the box and select the right shipping carrier. Here’s where you decide what packaging and packing materials to use. Think about the customer’s “unboxing” experience. Will you include free samples? Find ways to connect with the customer and influence how they perceive your brand

  • Returns and reverse logistics: Cancellations, returns and exchanges are common for MENA-region ecommerce businesses. But they must be handled correctly, or else you risk eroding customer confidence. Accepting returns and issuing a speedy refund are key parts of the post-purchase experience—when customer satisfaction means so much to customer retention.

Each component in the logistics of an online store can be optimized by technology, which brings me to the next point—incorporating technology into your supply chain management.

Supply chains are nothing new in the business world. But a tech-powered supply chain means tracking key metrics across systems, processes, and infrastructure to get actionable data about buyer activities and to be ready to pivot as the market dictates. It also means being ready for future developments in e-commerce. For example, AI assistants will increasingly handle orders on our behalf.

Will your business be ready to take advantage of these changes?

The supply chain includes the production of raw materials, manufacturing of finished products, inventory management systems, warehousing, order fulfillment, and last-mile delivery. To keep costs low and keep online shoppers happy, every link in this supply chain should be as efficient as possible.

Integrations and built-in web analytics tools such as cart abandonment analysis and conversion rate optimization help achieve this.

Remember: The end goal is to deliver a quality product that will delight your customers. A tech-driven e-commerce supply chain plays a key role in running a trustworthy brand.

Are You Ready To Embrace The Shift to E-Commerce?

The e-commerce sector in the MENA region is poised for substantial growth, driven by the widespread use of cutting-edge technologies and favorable government. A young and tech-savvy consumer base is a big part of the new digital economy, and they aren’t going anywhere.

Indeed, once customers go digital, they rarely go back. E-commerce is not going away, but it will evolve.

As online shopping becomes a part of daily life for MENA consumers, RTG is helping our business partners get ready for the evolution.

To learn more about how to leverage the power of tomorrow’s e-commerce for your business, contact us today and we’ll discuss your needs, your goals, and how best to achieve the online shopping experience you need to bring more customers to you.

Hussein Mohieldin

Hussein Mohieldin

Co-Founder & CEO - Robusta Technology Group (RTG)

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