E-commerce is gathering pace in most of the world, and in the Middle East, Aramex is enabling a new generation of entrepreneurs and business owners to put their products online.
One doesn’t need to dissect Groupon’s rejection of Google’s $6 billion offer or tally the number of eBay and Amazon users to conclude that e-commerce is booming. In the Arab World, the success stories of Souq.com, Bayt.com, Dubizzle, and Sukar.com, and group buying sites GoNabit and Cobone have also demonstrated that e-commerce is a viable, if nascent, market. With high growth rates in internet and mobile penetration, and estimations that e-commerce in the Gulf reached $100 billion by the end of 2010, the Middle East is poised for further acceleration in e-commerce as the global economy continues to recover.
For many in the region, though, there are still some obstacles to overcome. A recent survey conducted by online group buying site GoNabit and independent research consultancy YouGovSiraj revealed that two-thirds of consumers in the Middle East claim they would shop online if it were cheaper, and over half noted that they would buy more often if it were more convenient.
Competitive pricing and ease of use have been the main drivers behind the expansion of e-commerce in the rest of the world, and a new generation of retailers in Middle East is focusing on those issues, such as souq.com and nahel.com. Besides those two challenges, there is also a lack of government oversight for fighting fraud, the challenge of moving products across the borders of some Arab countries, and a limited number of affordable e-payment gateways.
(Read about how Aramex is helping to ease the infrastructure issues)
Read more in past issues:-
1. On Track: Eruption Disruption
2. On Track: 20/20 Vision - Logistics at the end of 2020
3. On Track: The Logistics of e-commerce