The future of e-commerce in the MENA region and its critical role in accelerating economic development was evaluated at the second edition of Visa eCommerce Summit for the Middle East and North Africa held in Dubai.
With its theme, “Capturing the Digital Consumer”, the Visa summit brought together industry leaders and experts in the e-commerce space to discuss the evolution of commerce in the region while underlining the need to design effective and customized e-commerce offerings to captivate the digital consumers of today and tomorrow.
“Our data shows that MENA e-commerce recorded double-digit growth in 2018, led by 27 percent increase in payment volume and 44 percent increase in online transactions over 2017," said Marcello Baricordi, Visa’s General Manager for the Middle East and North Africa.
"With online shopping in the Middle East and North Africa estimated to grow nearly three-fold by 2022, the economic opportunity to be gained by modernizing the e-commerce experience is massive for both merchants and banks. By pooling knowledge and working closely together, we must focus on redefining what online and mobile shopping means to today’s consumers, offering them more seamless, rewarding and secure experiences,” Baricordi added.
Understand the digital consumer
The summit included a series of panel discussions, presentations, and Q&As with attendees. The panel discussions drew emphasis on how the sector is being increasingly shaped and influenced by consumers’ evolving expectations, changing macro-economic dynamics, and the advent of new technologies and innovations in the space.
One of the most notable takeaways was the underlying need to fully understand the digital consumer’s behavior and expectations, and the strategies to design effective and customized e-commerce offerings to deliver the seamless and secure experiences digital consumers expect.
“The summit provided some enriching insights around consumer behavior and their expectations when transacting online. What we take away from these sessions is that security is a key factor in accelerating the move away from cash and towards digital payments in the UAE. The Consumer Protection Department has been working to educate consumers on their rights and to be careful when transacting digitally by ensuring they are using verified platforms," said Ahmad Al Zaabi, director of the consumer protection department at the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED).
Security and collaboration
The event was attended by prominent regional and global e-commerce players, including Amazon, Noon, Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, Daraz, DeliveryHero, Paypal, and Almosafer, along with merchants, issuer banks, payments platform providers as well as government representatives from the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED).
"As e-commerce companies, banks, and payment platforms we need to work collaboratively to educate the market on the benefits of using credit cards. Events of such high caliber are very important for the region’s eCommerce ecosystem and provide a great platform for collective thinking and problem-solving," said Ehsan Saya, Managing Director at Daraz.
The summit served as a constructive platform for key players in the e-commerce ecosystem to come together to share best practices, solutions and business models to spur e-commerce growth.
“Consumer needs and behaviors in the market are rapidly changing and the ecosystem for e-commerce has to evolve to cater to these discerned needs. The only way to holistically do that is by collaborating effectively. The Visa eCommerce Summit not only served as a great opportunity for industry leaders to discuss opportunities and challenges but also presented an excellent platform for key stakeholders to come together and find potential solutions,” said Muzzamil Ahussain, EVP of Almosafer.