Middle East: digitising the shopper journey

Date : 23 November 2018

We look at how retailers in the Middle East are digitising their shopper experiences.

Souq.com announces dates for ‘White Friday’

Online retailer Souq.com, owned by Amazon, has revealed its ‘White Friday’ sale (a regional version of ‘Black Friday’) will take place from 20 to 24 November 2018. The sale will feature "more deals than ever" with discounts of up to 70% on products including cameras, clothing, groceries, mobiles, TVs and toys.

Deals will be customised for customers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Souq.com’s banking partners in these countries will offer monthly instalments without interest for purchases made on the site.

Ronaldo Mouchawar, Souq.com’s CEO and co-founder, commented, “Since we launched White Friday in 2014, customers have told us how much they like the event, so we are happy to be back this year with more deals and more choice than ever. We are also glad that hundreds of small and medium sized businesses are joining White Friday this year, after the positive sales uplift they saw in previous years.”

Al Meera forms digital partnership with Ooredoo

Qatar-based Al Meera has partnered with Ooredoo to drive its digital innovation and improve shoppers’ experiences of its brand. Telecommunications company Ooredoo will provide ICT solutions, telecommunications and smart wi-fi to enhance business competitiveness.

Salah al-Hammadi, Al Meera’s deputy CEO, stated, “In line with our vision to become Qatar’s favourite neighbourhood retailer, our digital transformation with Ooredoo will enable real-time operation and customer insights.”

Majid Al Futtaim acquires Beam…

Meanwhile, Majid Al Futtaim has acquired the UAE’s leading mobile wallet app, Beam. This has given the retailer ownership of Beam’s IP rights, branding and e-wallet services. The group said the acquisition will help it improve the shopping experiences across all its brands, including its Carrefour stores.

Beam was launched in Majid Al Futtaim fashion and home retail stores in the UAE in early 2018. The retailer hopes to expand the service to all Majid Al Futtaim retail stores in 2019. As part of Beam’s payment and rewards platform, customers can make contactless mobile payments, while earning 30% cashback, up to AED50 (US$13.6). Majid Al Futtaim will also expand Beam’s services across the UAE so other retailers can accept mobile payments.

Commenting on the acquisition, Joe Abi Akl, acting chief corporate development officer at Majid Al Futtaim, said, “The integration of Beam within our businesses is a landmark moment that will enable us to better serve our customers and gain a better understanding of their preferences through multiple touchpoints. We look forward to harnessing the power of Beam’s technology to help us replicate our physical prominence in the digital world.”

…and introduces contactless payment in Bahrain

Majid Al Futtaim has also partnered with Viva Bahrain to offer customers contactless payment in Bahrain. Viva Bahrain’s digital wallet, Viva Cash, can be downloaded for free. Shoppers receive a 10% cashback on purchases of up to BHD5 (US$13.20) until the end of November 2018.

Jerome Akel, country manager of Carrefour Bahrain at Majid Al Futtaim, stated, “By implementing Viva Cash we are offering customers a secure and seamless method of paying for their purchases that also saves them time. This is just one of the ways we are transforming our business to keep pace with an increasingly digital world in efforts to better serve customers and create great moments for them every day.”