Around 90% of the UAE’s residents carry a smartphone or use internet on a mobile device and it’s this rapid adoption of technology that has created a boom in the local e-commerce industry, with platforms like souq.com, Jadopado, and the newly launched Noon fuelling the e-commerce growth, it is expected to generate $10B in the gulf region this year!
The evolution of technology and the internet has transformed how an entire generation interacts with brands and businesses. In the UAE alone, it is estimated that 56% of consumers frequently shop online with an average basket price of AED1,500. Similarly, 25% of Turkish population shop online, but their e-commerce sector is growing at a whopping 40% – the highest in Europe! As many organizations in the Middle East and Turkey region work to meet the ever-changing needs and demands of digitally-savvy millennials, they are also faced with the challenges of replacing legacy systems quickly and cost-effectively.
E-commerce has come a long way since Jeff Bezos started Amazon in his garage in 1995; from being an almost non-existent business model to threatening to disrupt the entire retail industry, e-commerce now embraces the latest technologies to offer customers personalized experiences, world-class customer service, and unprecedented shopping experiences. In recent years, the seamless shift to mobile and the rise of online marketplaces like Dubizzle and Facebook Marketplace, have sparked the most impactful changes to the industry. But this couldn’t have been possible if the right technological foundations hadn’t been laid in the first.
In order to launch a successful e-commerce platform or online store, organizations must be prepared to deploy advanced cloud solutions and as the world’s leading storage company, we think the basis of any e-commerce platform is in storage. Dell EMC’s Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS) is a software-defined solution designed for both traditional and next-generation workloads. It provides unmatched scalability, flexibility, and resiliency, bringing organizations all the benefits of a public cloud to their datacenters while keeping costs under control. ECS is especially beneficial for e-commerce businesses because it can securely manage, monitor, and analyze large volumes of data to better serve customers and meet IT transformation milestones.
E-Commerce of the future
While IT transformation is happening before our very eyes, we can still expect to see some outstanding developments and a few major disruptions in the years to come! In an Internet-of-things (IoT) world, our dependence on browsers will begin to wane. Mixed in with mobile apps, AR interfaces, and voice interactions, the browser will become just another channel among many and no longer the sole method by which we purchase products or services digitally. In fact, souq.com is already leading the local industry with an item being sold every 1.5 seconds and over 45% of shoppers using their mobile devices for transaction.
Here are some of the other latest e-commerce technologies making waves:
- Voice Activated Assistants – In 2018 we will witness the growing trend of consumers interacting with their devices using voice commands. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has advanced significantly with the recent launches of Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa, and retailers are expected to cash in on these technology innovations by enhancing shopping convenience through personalized product recommendations.
- Augmented Reality (AR) – An already massive trend that is expected to explode in the Middle East in the coming months, is AR. IKEA recently launched their augmented reality app to allow consumers to experience and experiment with their products in their homes before making a purchase. Products are in 3D and true to scale so consumers can see exactly whether something will fit their space and how it will look. This type of technology is dubbed to drive a significant increase in sales of large size items and help reduce return rates.
- Beacon Technology – Companies have started to offer mobile deals and greetings when someone walks into their store. Beacon technology is an exciting area of development that searches for consumers’ mobile devices and offers them personalized promotions or product information.
- Research Online, Purchase Offline (ROPO) – IT transformation is helping perfect the ROPO’s ratios to accurately measure the in-store impact of digital marketing and advertising campaigns. By combining data from mobile devices, tracking payments, monitoring social media activity, activating geolocation services, and watching real-time inventory levels using advanced analytics, ERP, CRM, and POS systems, retailers will be able to discover which ads, product listings, and landing pages lead to the most in-store visits and purchases. Exciting stuff!
The internet has forever changed the way we work, the way we communicate, the way we socialize, and with the explosion of eCommerce, it has also changed the way we shop and interact with the market.
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