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Rising demand fuels growth online
E-commerce brands and online shopping existed long before the 2020 pandemic. Still, buying behaviours have created a sudden rise in demand.
In the first five months of 2020, the UAE saw a 300 per cent increase in demand for e-commerce services. According to Kearney Middle East, the GCC’s e-commerce market will reach $50bn by 2025. With room for the market to grow, some brands have emerged as early market leaders amongst competitors, positioning themselves to dominate.
Learn from the best
Many agencies offer E-commerce web development in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. However, setting up an online store (building an e-commerce website) is not enough to succeed in the highly-saturated market of online retail.
With revenue in billions, some brands dominate the online retail market. Is there still room for new entrants? What should a business consider when developing its online offer?
We have gathered some essential takeaways from top e-commerce brands.
Target a niche
Businesses must identify a product or service niche and an addressable target market to service. We see this in how NET-A-PORTER serves the luxury space, or booboo focuses on a younger demographic.
Businesses aiming to win must create a strong identity for their brand and consistently communicate across multiple channels to gain market share. Such behaviour is evident in the strategies of the top e-commerce brands we see today.
Custom-build website development or industry leading E-commerce platform?
Many UAE companies opt for a single brand or multi-brand retail experience. At Launch, we offer robust e-commerce websites built on platforms such as Visualsoft or Shopify. We utilise these platforms as they are scalable and integrate with offline back-office operations and online retail channels like Amazon or eBay.
However, some business models require custom E-commerce marketplace development. The UAE has witnessed many marketplace startups recently fail following expensive custom development. Despite closing an $8.5 million Series A, in 2020, UAE-based online marketplace Sprii went into liquidation. Dubai’s Awok shut down just a year after raising $30 million Series A.
Business owners may wish to consider if tried, and tested platforms are viable solutions before embarking on expensive and high-risk development roadmaps.
Optimize Ads on Social Media Platforms - Show off Your Product
Having a social media presence is essential for building your E-commerce brand. Daily, consumers use social media apps like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Gen Z’s personal favourite: Tiktok.
In fact, in 2020 alone, there were 3.96 billion people actively using social media, and a total of 76% of consumers have purchased after seeing a brand’s social media post. Moreover, as information and data science has progressed, it is now easier than ever to reach your target audience.
Let’s take a look at one of the Middle East’s favourite online food ordering companies, Talabat. We see daily adverts for Talabat showing us delicious food and drinks available for delivery right to our doorstep.
Entirely tempting. But what’s fascinating is how the brand is experiencing 50% year-on-year growth, plus just last year, they celebrated their 100 millionth order. So, with a successful social media ad campaign and the growing demand for cloud-based kitchen concepts, we are confident that the brand has found its recipe for success.
Innovate for competitive advantage
It’s nearly impossible to imagine a world without Amazon. Back in 1995, when Amazon launched its mission statement, “To become Earth’s most customer-centric company”, few believed the company would revolutionize the way consumers shop.
Surprisingly, two and a half decades later, with a growth rate of 120,000%, the brand has stuck to its word about becoming the most customer-centric company. The real question here, however, is how did it do it?
Amazon has always championed innovation, exploring unique ways to deliver products to its customers and create excellent service.
Some of Amazon’s creations, such as drones to ship products or Amazon Prime (which allows members to receive products within hours after purchase), have changed customers’ expectations forever.
Innovation is not only visible in Amazon’s logistic function. Their use of AI and automation to create virtual assistant Alexa or the market-leading e-reader, Kindle, have seen Amazon take market share in multiple sectors.
The key takeaway from here is to “drive innovation”. Partnering with an e-commerce provider who offers the latest developments in online retail can give your business the edge.
Adapt to the changing market
E-commerce is constantly evolving, and it’s hard to adapt to changes, such as new entrants, customer preferences and data privacy.
As online businesses are emerging faster than ever before, staying one step ahead of competitors is your solution to survive in the dynamic world of E-commerce.
For instance, look at eBay. The company was the first to create a global online marketplace and auction website. The company has helped connect supply and demand. However, it’s easy to forget in the late 90s, eBay had many competitors competing for customers’ attention.
Adapting its business model, eBay attracted professional sellers and retailers by allowing sellers to set up personalized shops within the platform to stay relevant. This move ensures their service is more ‘sticky’, and eBay thrives after two and half decades of consistent growth.
Great customer experience is essential
A strong bond between your brand and customer will ultimately increase brand loyalty and drive revenue. Your customers know what they want. It can be costly if you don’t listen to their pain points.
Take a look at E-commerce fashion brands like ASOS, Fashion Nova, Boohoo, or even the most prominent online fashion brand in the Middle East, Namshi.
These brands ensure that their customers are well engaged – not just with the brand – but with other customers on the platform.
Great brands keep track of customer reviews and comment about collecting meaningful feedback and driving data-led insight. These brands excel at spotting upcoming trends, from customer and market observations, creating looks and collections that will cut through the noise and directly cater to their audience’s interests and intentions.
If you don’t believe that social media is one of the best tools for market research, it could be bad news for your business. Customers talk about their products and brand experiences on social media; they share their own opinions and even form new ones based on shared experiences. You can use this to your advantage by making social media listening and monitoring.