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With a smartphone penetration rate of 97%, Saudi Arabia has all the ingredients for an e-commerce boom.

The proliferation of smartphones is one of the critical factors in the success of online shopping, as it works in two ways: customers enjoy the ease of shopping on their phones, and retailers can use real-time technology platforms to interact productively with their customers.

The Kingdom, where mobile broadband internet subscriptions are exceptionally high and teeming with smartphones, has all the ingredients for an e-commerce boom.

A Boston Consulting Group report highlighted that 60% of Saudi customers discovered new sellers through social media in 2020. In 2021, the Kingdom was the 27th largest e-commerce market, with a turnover of 7.7 billion. dollars, placing it ahead of Belgium and just behind Norway.

A report by Statista Digital Market Outlook says the top five categories for online shopping in the Kingdom are fashion, electronics and media, food and personal care, toys, hobby and DIY kits , as well as furniture and appliances.

Globally and in the Kingdom, there has been a massive shift towards online shopping over the past couple of years. Along with safety and convenience comes increased consumer awareness and empowerment, as shoppers now know what they want, where they will get it, and the best price at which they will get it.

Retail brands also have a wealth of customer data they can leverage to better understand how consumers are interacting with their brands across multiple touchpoints and which of those interactions are positive and which are not.

Multiple platforms help companies use artificial intelligence and data analytics to predict consumer behavior, which helps improve supply and demand response time and strengthen relationships with customers. Consumer brands can leverage real-time data to understand consumer journeys and decision-making. Brands that turn data into actionable insights are most likely to build customer loyalty.

Be omnichannel and transparent

Although users are moving across channels, they expect brands to be ubiquitous and send unified messages. Therefore, retailers have no choice but to embrace the omnichannel marketing approach. They can’t afford to be lax about this, as it’s one of the best ways to provide customers with a consistent and personalized experience.

Data is the new medium that helps brands see through the minds of customers and deliver content and promotional materials that are right for them. It can be implemented with the right customer engagement platform.

Raviteja Dodda


Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are turning to hybrid omnichannel formats to provide the convenience of online shopping and retain their offline presence to allay initial customer apprehensions and overcome barriers to adoption.

This hybrid model can help retailers tap into the market and win customers only if they provide a seamless experience that combines the best of online and offline experiences. This means they must engage digitally with consumers before they arrive at the store to complete a purchase. For example, to provide a seamless experience, the retailer may allow the customer to order online and opt for in-store pickup.

Segment and target

When customers use smartphones to shop, they leave behind a trail of information that retailers can use to understand buying behavior. This journey answers key retail questions, such as what customers love about the brand and their experiences with apps.

Retailers can also categorize customers into different segments based on their shopping behaviors – whether or not they are likely to revisit a store or app, be repeat visitors, spend double, or show positive purchase intent. . There are several examples of retailers using AI-based technology to transform their businesses.

For example, Speedi, a leading food e-commerce platform, turned low open rates with campaigns into success by rolling out a comprehensive, personalized customer interaction strategy. This decision has effectively helped to increase retention and attract daily active users. Similarly, Alghanim Group’s Xcite increased revenue and lifetime value with a personalized omnichannel engagement strategy to combat cart abandonment, out-of-stock and add-to-wish list.

Fashion retailer Brands for Less, also expanding into Saudi Arabia, used advanced AI-based segmentation to target users based on past shopping behavior to win back inactive customers.

Lifestyle retailer group Azadea, which operates in 13 countries in the Middle East and Africa, including Saudi Arabia, has improved purchases and conversion using AI-powered smart triggers and Dynamic personalization campaigns for cart abandonment, cross-sell and low stock campaigns.

So, with the right tools, brands can create custom segments based on these models that are accurate and effective.

Locate and target

Shopping apps and websites can help retailers locate their shoppers with location notifications. Location analytics also provides retailers and marketers with insights into how consumers in a particular geographic area are interacting with a brand, both online and offline, and helps retailers identify geographic areas that require various marketing efforts.

Optimize communication

Retailers are using robust AI technology to optimize their communication with customers. For example, once customers start using the brand’s app or website, it’s easy to analyze and understand when they’re active on the platform, which products they like, and which categories they prefer. This data is useful for established and emerging brands to target their customers with meaningful campaigns.

Personalize and target

Studying and understanding the nuances of customer buying behavior gives brands a head start on their journey to customer centricity. This process involves creating a deeply personalized omnichannel marketing campaign.

Home appliance brand Alsaif Gallery plans to leverage an AI platform to drive engagement and increase retention by delivering a hyper-personalized experience to each of its customers. Similarly, online car marketplace Syarah, which has seen many dropouts, changed the scenario with an AI-powered platform that helped them identify potential buyers and engage them based on their preferences. As a result, it kept users active until purchases were made.

Technology platforms have also made it possible to personalize a larger community of buyers with diverse cultures and needs. Data is the new medium that helps brands see through the minds of customers and deliver content and promotional materials that are right for them. It can be implemented with the right customer engagement platform.

So, what sets successful brands apart from ordinary brands is the actions they take to become customer-centric.

To provide shoppers with a customer-centric experience, retailers need to establish information-driven engagement with customers, regardless of retail mode. And there’s no better way to do that than with relevant customer data, creating personalized content, and investing in a platform that can process the data and profit from it.

Raviteja Dodda is CEO and co-founder of MoEngage.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the authors in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arab News