As online retail gathers pace, retail CEOs are showing commitment to continue investing in their digital channels; not only as a way to reach their customers but also to focus on the “return on experience,” indicates a survey undertaken by PwC.
In the Middle East, online retail still accounts for a smaller share of the market, at an estimated 2-3% compared with 10-15% in developed western economies – yet that share is growing quickly. The PwC 2018 Middle East Total Retail consumer survey, found that 53% of respondents now shop with Amazon, up 4% since 2016. Using the site also influences customers broader shopping habits: 45% start their product search on Amazon, and 41% use it to check prices.
Online retail growth is also being boosted by global e-commerce giants competing for shoppers’ attention and spending. Amazon bought SOUQ.com in 2017 to become the biggest e-commerce platform in the region at that time, and its recent announcement to launch a new marketplace here is set to ramp up the level of online competition.
Home-grown digital marketplace noon has partnered with eBay this year and offers a platform for local and international franchise brands to sell online without them having to invest in their own e-commerce presence in the region.
Mumzworld, a leading name in the mother, baby and child space, has built its business by providing a full range of products for mothers and babies, some not available anywhere else in the region, at competitive prices. This year the company aims to expand its online customer community and focus on offering the best value while customers remain price sensitive.
Overall, creating a multi-channel experience that includes online is a priority for all the retail CEOs, PwC found out. They are committed to continuous investment in their digital channels; this investment should not only provide another way to reach consumers, it should build on the experiences that retailers provide to their customers.