E-Commerce Optimization In Saudi Arabia - An interview with Joe Ghantous of Right Service
Posted on 2021 Sep,30

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Digital marketing expert and CEO of Right Service – KSA, Joe Ghantous, discusses E-commerce Optimization in Saudi Arabia

How would you assess the ecommerce scene globally, regionally & locally in KSA?

Latest study by the office of national statistics revealed that 95% of global purchases will be made online by 2040. In an another detailed study by Shopify on the demographic overview of e-commerce users today, the study showed that 67% of online shoppers are from the millennials (people between 23 to 38 years old) and if you think women are stereotypically pinned as shoppers, when it comes to online shopping, men dominate the stats, spending 28% more than women shopping online

The MENA region is considered the next big growth market (after Asia-Pacific and North America) for e-commerce, as it has grown to USD 69 billion by 2020, almost doubling in size in just a few years.

In 2020, the largest and most growing market in MENA is Saudi Arabia with 39% of its total purchases are made online and 75% of these purchases are bought using cash on delivery.


What are the main challenges e-commerce industry is facing?

The main challenge of ecommerce business in 2020, is that there will be no more eCommerce because everything will be e-commerce. The idea that brands will move into an eCommerce business will be oobsolete because all brands will be online.

The current Covid-19 pandemic had fastened up the shift of businesses toward e-commerce. The economic disruptions caused by the coronavirus are putting many areas of businesses in real struggle. This is what is putting more pressure on the ecommerce industry, as more businesses are turning towards it, thus making it a more challenging industry.

In my opinion there are several challenges e-commerce businesses will be facing similar to competing against retailers and manufacturers, augmented reality shopping, social commerce, customer loyalty and so on.  But I like here to highlight on the two main challenges to keep track of onmi-channel approach and IOT (internet of things) commerce.

In today's world, customers can reach out through any number of touch-points. They may visit your website, contact your agent, leave a message on your social media page, shop from store or contact through a live chat or a messaging platform.
According to ecomdash, “Any business that isn’t moving toward an Omni-channel retailing strategy will likely be left behind by its online savvy competitors.”Even big e-commerce players like Amazon are adding an offline touch points to their customer’s journey.

Coming back to “Internet of Things” IOT Commerce, businesses should forget desktop shopping and mobile shopping—there’s a new touchpoint on the rise, and retailers need to be ready to embrace it.
Smart devices are becoming more common in homes, and IoT (internet of things) commerce is expected to grow this year, giving retailers tons of new touchpoints—from cars to appliances to smart speakers and more—where they can make purchases.

With the rise in IoT commerce, retailers are allowed to push product information to new channels instantly and seamlessly.


The largest and most growing market in MENA is Saudi Arabia with 39% of its total purchases are made online and 75% of these purchases are bought using cash on delivery.”


What Is Ecommerce Optimization?

E-commerce optimization is simply a holistic approach to improving your website and allowing visitors to easily convert into customers.
In normal times, unless every single person who visits your store makes a purchase, there’s always room for improvement & optimization.

As the industry is becoming more challenging and competitive, it’s not enough to only optimize your website; you should go deeper and work on optimizing and developing your marketing strategy, business model and tactics with an aim of leading users towards the end goal: purchasing your products or services.


What are the best e-commerce business models to adopt in 2021?

The SARS crisis in 2003 is widely known for kick-starting Alibaba’s and other Chinese companies’ e-commerce successes in Asia. 

The coronavirus crisis in 2020 caused a permanent change to our shopping behavior and ways of conducting business, thus urging e-commerce businesses to reinvent their business models and invest in times of high uncertainty.    

There are several business models for e-commerce businesses to adopt ranging from the most common ones as business to consumer (B2C), where the businesses sell to their end user or business to business (B2B) where businesses sell to other businesses. Amazon and AliBaba are good examples for both B2C & B2B business models. There are some new and fresh ones as consumer-to-consumer (C2C) where the e-commerce platform plays an intermediate between two customers or event similar to OLX & eBay and these is also Consumer-to-Business (C2B) that allows freelance workers to work on tasks provided by clients similar to Freelancer.

In addition to that there are some businesses models that e-commerce businesses can adopt and includes the public sectors and government agencies either through businesses offering products, services, or information online to governments as B2G Business-to-Government or business allows consumers to provide feedback or ask for information about government authority from the public sector as C2G -Consumer to Government.

Some ecommerce businesses don’t need to change their business model but they need to freshen it up. This can be done by adding new revenue streams to the available model.

There may be several revenue streams to adopt, but I would like to talk about the most common, drop shipping via online store and fresh one, selling products via subscription.

Drop shipping via online store allows businesses to start with low cost as they don’t need to buy stock in bulk; they don’t have to pay for a storage facility, and the supplier can take care of the shipping.
They only need to invest in setting up the online store. It is possible to dropship via Amazon, eBay, or any other marketplace, but the amount of competition and fees makes it extremely hard to turn a decent profit.

As for the second revenue stream, selling products via subscription is a revenue stream that has seen a rapid rise in recent years and which entails selling products via subscription.

With this stream, businesses need to identify a product that consumers want or need on a regular basis - usually monthly - and then convince them to sign up to a subscription, thus providing businesses a predictable, regular income.

No matter what business model businesses adopt, they should keep in mind that planning is important, but innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Innovation growsbased on the feedback they receive.


What are the best e-commerce optimization strategies and tactics to help your businesses ramp up sales and conversions?

Whether businesses had experienced online seller or just transitioning to ecommerce as a result of physical distancing, their customers may be entirely different from who they were even three months ago.

That’s why adopting a dynamic approach of implementing the most suitable and relevant strategies and tactics will keep the business in the race.

There may be several new strategies and tactics to adopt including strengthening the whole customer experience, establishing a new social media strategy and even investing in new digital channels.

But from my point of view the most important strategy ecommerce businesses should focus on is content strategy.

The website is only as good as the content published on it. E-commerce businesses should create content that serve as a resource for their clients. Educational content produces three times as many leads as paid ads. But this content should take into consideration the local SEO content for more localized search result appearances.  From my experience, I highly recommend the “Hero, Hub, Help” model as effective best way for creating content. “Hero” content, which is entertaining and inspiring it gets promoted to the largest possible audience on the website, “Help” content answers search and social media queries that the businesses prospective customers might be asking. And, “Hub” content sits at the core of the business and serves to convert interested visitors into paying customers. 
Social media as a main destination to distribute the help content can be used to tell the businesses story and highlight the characteristics that make them stand out to consumers.
Another option, when using social media, is to go beyond the marketing efforts and consider using social selling platforms as a complement to the newly formed online store.


Where is the Future of Ecommerce Heading?

E-commerce is an ever-changing industry, every year several new trends come up. E-commerce businesses should keep following up these trends from augmented reality, artificial intelligence, mobile commerce to payment methods diversity and voice commerce

As I see it, the main trends that will dominate the e-commerce industry in the future are offline ecommerce, where online businesses will occupy the streets through pop-up and multi-channel shops that bring the internet to real life, and re-commerce that presents an interesting opportunity for brands to open up their own re-commerce marketplace and turn second-hand shopping into an exciting shopping experience.

But the most appealing trend will be live streaming ecommerce that involves an in-store team member or influencer, demonstrating a product and responding to questions from a digital audience to close a purchase on the spot. Such technology is now easily possible to all businesses through applications similar to “Go InStore” a top leading app trusted by the best brands worldwide such as HP, Porsche, Sofology and much more.

I also would like to take the chance to share a positive news to all businesses in the Middle East, they can know use the live streaming option by “Go InStore” through “Right Service” as a regional partner.