Over 49 million Egyptians use the internet in 2019, according to Internet World Stats. Amid rising demand, e-commerce has established itself in the lives of internet users, although it marks only $1 of each $11 spent in retail, according to a report by Egypt Innovate.
An AT Kearney report forecast that by 2019/2020, Egypt’s trade value of B2C e-commerce will constantly grow by 35% with a steadily increasing demand. It is predicted that the volume of e-commerce operations will also reach $1.93 billion, making up 1.52% of the gross domestic product (GDP) by the same year, according to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
However, this requires e-commerce platforms to ensure the loyalty of their customers, which would be impossible without a seamless shopping experience.
How to enhance the shopping experience and retain customers
“Enhancing the shopping experience involves agility, proactive business and trusted customer experience. There is no fixed strategy one should follow. You always optimize on-the-go when it comes to e-commerce,” digital manager at L’Oreal Egypt Shaimaa Ismail said at the Seamless North Africa 2019 conference.
E-commerce platforms have been trying to attract their customers over the past few years by launching promotions like Black Friday, for instance – a day during which there are large discounts on the products displayed on the platform. However, will the attracted customer on that day return again later?“We should not deal with e-commerce as a promotional venture attracting consumers on certain occasions. We should rather attract them through incentives, like vouchers, extra services or a special discount just for buying online instead of retail outlets,” Ismail explained.
Another step to consumer loyalty is data analysis to help understand consumer behavior, according to CEO of Dsquares Marwan Kenawy.
“Data collection that does not only include contact information and shopping preferences, but also trivial details. Where does a customer start when accessing a website? Do they search for a category or directly buy from products posted on the homepage?” Ismail added.
Understanding the customer on an individual is definitely crucial, but it should be a stepping stone to divide consumers into segments, which can help better build the platform, services and offers around how these segments move through the market.
“As part of our consumer loyalty program, we introduced Accor Customer Digital Card,” country e-commerce manager for midscale and economy brands at Accor Hotels India Bishoy George explained. “The card is used in the hotel to collect specific information about a customer, such as what type of coffee they had during their stay. Understanding preferences allows us to communicate better with the customer and create a personalized user experience.”
What do companies need to do to assess customer behavior?
To effectively enhance consumer loyalty, one needs to re-target, according to e-business head at El Araby Group Manal Negmeldin.
“A re-targeted segment usually includes consumers who view a product several times but do not buy it. At El Araby Group, we target those people by sending them certain discounts or vouchers on the products they viewed,” Negmeldin revealed.
It is also relevant to look at a customer’s relationship with the retailer, and the retailer’s online presence, according to e-commerce lead at Unilever Mai Fahmy. She also adds that retailers need to make sure that products are properly displayed, describes and always in stock. This increases trust and builds a strong reputation for a certain e-commerce platform due to consistent product availability.
“As an e-commerce business, your approach should be shopper-based, not just product-based,” Fahmy elaborated.
The UNCTAD report concludes that with the devaluation of the Egyptian pound and the low cost of labor, the country is deemed to compete internationally on the technological front. This includes Egypt’s ability to lead opportunities in e-commerce by leveraging the young social media-savvy population.