The digital floodgates for souq’s sale bonanza set for ‘White Friday’
Dubai-based online shopping site Souq.com is preparing for a big shopping celebration from November 22 to November 25 with over 500,000 deals to choose from its website.
“The selection on Souq has changed drastically over the last seven-to-eight months. We’ve gone from almost 2.5 million to near 8.5 million so a lot of choice to customers and with that the number of brands cooperating and working with us on the event has grown to about 16,000 brands,” Souq.com CEO Ronaldo Mouchawar told media.
What can we expect for GCC sales on Souq.com’s sale?
A digital super sale
Souq.com announced that its deals will benefit would-be buyers from both the region and Egypt, some as high as 70 per cent.
2017 will see 50 times the amount of deals on offer than in 2016, with information on these discounts delivered via alerts as well as daily countdown deals.
Ronaldo Mouchawar, CEO & Co-Founder, Souq.com, says: “We introduced the White Friday Sale to the region in 2014. This year, we have rolled out credit card payment on order delivery in the UAE for more convenience to our customers. We have also invested heavily in our operations by expanding our fulfillment centres, technology, resources and adding more pick up points for customers. Customers are at the heart of our business, and this White Friday, they will find a wide product selection and hundreds of thousands of deals across all categories.”
Souq.com will be offering free shipping on “Fulfilled By Souq” orders of more than AED 100/SAR 100/EGP 300.
The discounts will apply to all product categories including mobiles, TVs, large appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines, cameras, diapers, detergents, fashion products, perfumes, make up, furniture, tools, toys, games and cameras, the retailer said in a statement.
Why has e-commerce become popular in the GCC?
Making the right call
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are among the top markets worldwide for mobile phone penetration.
“Mobile device penetration is quite high” in the Middle East, particularly for smartphones, ScottJacobson, managing director of Madrona Venture Group and formerly a senior manager at Amazon said. “Pair that with a significant population and healthy GDP per capita in countries like Saudi Arabia and in the UAE, and those factors make it an interesting market.”
Saudi has 21 million smartphone users, with the share of online purchases made via smartphone (2017) being 42 per cent in the Kingdom versus 44 per cent in the UAE.
According to Statista, the Saudi e-commerce market was worth $6.8bn in 2016 and is predicted to be worth $7.7bn in 2017, $8.7 in 2018 and more than $10bn by 2020.
Saudi shoppers prefer clothing, shoes and consumer electronics, which sales in 2016 reached approximately $4bn, with cash on delivery taking the bulk of transactions at 46 per cent.
According to Azur Digital, the proliferation of ecommerce sites in the region is taking place in the context of an upsurge in online spending in the last few years. With an increasing number of GCC shoppers purchasing online, both from domestic and overseas players, retailers ought to rapidly realign their digital operations in conformity with the evolving consumer expectations.
“The Middle East and especially the UAE ecommerce market is rapidly evolving. Shopping is increasingly moving online, whether to search for products, check their availability or purchase for home delivery or pickup in store. With pricing now taking a back seat, the UAE consumer is now first looking at convenience as the key factor.” said Stephane Paraiso, managing director, Azur Digital.
Consultancy A.T. Kearney expects the GCC online shopping market to grow from $5.3bn in 2015 to $20bn in 2020 as the region’s digital savvy population increasingly embraces e-commerce.
The region is seeing the rise in online shopping but is this trend eroding physical stores experience?
Physical stores still trendy
According to PwC’s Middle East Total Retail Survey for 2017, When buying luxury items, 42 per cent leant towards in-store purchasing for products such as jewelry and watches as they felt they needed to see and touch these items before buying them, while 49 per cent of females bought cosmetics and fragrances in-store because they were concerned about the genuinity of these products online.
Also, retail stores today are more and more using IoT Technology to Transform the Customer Experience, according to research conducted by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.
“Thanks to IoT technology, bricks and mortar stores can compete with online shopping, offer unique, personalised and engaging in-store experiences for consumers. By 2019, 79 per cent of retail organisations will have adopted IoT technology and 77 per cent believe it will transform the industry,” it said.