MENA’s sales and social footprint
Online sales in MENA are expected to exceed $50 billion by the end of this year, making this region one of the most exciting emerging markets. The impact of the pandemic, digital transformation initiatives by brands and improvements in logistics and last mile delivery have vastly contributed to double-digit growth. Saudi Arabia is leading the way in terms of regional e-commerce growth (39 per cent CAGR) just ahead of UAE (38 per cent CAGR). However, a less talked about phenomenon driving this seismic shift is the rapidly changing consumer behaviors and attitudes towards retail in an omnichannel world.
MENA is home to some of the most prolific users of social media and messaging apps in the world with an average of 3.5 hours spent on social media per day. The UAE has the highest number of accounts per person globally, at an average of 10.5 accounts per user. Not only are users in the region creating and consuming content, but increasingly using these platforms to discover and engage with brands. As of 2021, globally there were more than 200 million business accounts on Instagram. Messaging apps like Whatsapp, one of the most used platforms in the world with over 2 billion active users, has over 18 million business accounts where users send approximately 175 million messages every day.
The missed opportunity
Savvy brands and online retailers are taking notice of how their customers are discovering, interacting, and shopping with them, yet traditional eCommerce is proving to be even more challenging. Online retailers are finding it harder to get discovered (increasing digital media costs), witnessing high abandoned cart rates and struggling with decreasing customer lifetime value through traditional eCommerce. These are just a few of the reasons why there is increasing pressure on brands to meet their bottom lines and look for an advantage amongst their competitors. In addition, the low to almost zero barriers to entry for digitally native challenger brands and small to medium businesses have further compounded these pressures and are changing the rules of the game. This widening gap between where and how customers meet, interact and shop with brands is paving the way for the next generation of commerce.
Say hello to cCommerce
cCommerce is a way to buy products and services through social media and messaging apps. Research has shown that almost 87 per cent of people feel more connected to brands that communicate through social and messaging apps. Facebook’s research found that 53 per cent of respondents said they were more likely to buy from a company and take their advice through messaging apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. A message sent by a brand to its customer is opened 98 per cent of the time on a messaging app versus an average 10 per cent open rate for an email or branded newsletter.
With conversational commerce, it is possible to reach potential and existing customers directly to build trusted and personal relationships through conversations that often lead to new interactions, effective personalized recommendations and increased spend. This behavior has quickly become a worldwide trend, allowing for brands to interact with shoppers in new ways. Brands that are pioneering cCommerce have found that when compared to traditional online carts, the average cCommerce cart is 2.7 times bigger and is 20 times more likely to convert into a sale.
Brands can now use messaging apps to chat with their customers allowing them to discover products, make purchases, avail offers, get personalized recommendations as well as benefit from customer support. Imagine experiencing the warmth of a knowledgeable salesperson anywhere, anytime on any device. As a result, cCommerce is poised to change the way customers shop and communicate with brands.
What does this mean for retailers and brands
Steve Jobs once said “Get closer to your customers. So close, in fact, that you tell them what they need before they realize it themselves.” This could not be truer in today’s world of big data. cCommerce platforms like Zbooni and its tools help brands build a comprehensive picture of their customer by tracking over three million data points. Past order history, product preferences, customer profile, frequently asked questions and sales data can help retailers create bespoke offers and product recommendations.
cCommerce acts as a complementary sales channel for brands seeking to engage with their customers who are increasingly wanting a more personalized digital experience. Retailers can use the power of chat over habitual digital channels like WhatsApp to share new product releases, sales and offers or brand content and reviews to turn conversations into conversions. Businesses that use Zbooni have witnessed a phenomenal 81 per cent conversion rate due to this personalized approach in selling.
For larger retailers with brick-and-mortar outlets, cCommerce can also prove to be a useful tool to increase sales and bridge the gap from offline to online or vice versa. Sales representatives can provide concierge-like services over messaging apps to their loyal customer database and notify them of exclusive sales, new products, and support with customer queries. This helps brick and mortar retail maximize their sales staff’s time by increasing productivity and selling more. As brands seek to enhance omnichannel strategies and reconfigure brick and mortar operations largely affected by the pandemic and shifting in-store experience expectations, cCommerce offers an innovative advantage.
Zbooni is pioneering cCommerce in the MENA region, and since the launch of its app in 2018 has helped thousands of businesses to interact, engage and sell more effectively, powering transactions for hundreds of thousands of customers and generating multimillion dollar sales revenue every month. Its expert team is based across offices in United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, scaling rapidly to meet the growing needs of the cCommerce revolution. The Zbooni platform provides tools and solutions that empower businesses, both big and small, to capture orders, accept payments, sell more, and track every order. To find out more about Zbooni, visit zbooni.com or download the app.