#SME&U

14 Apr 2019

The Potential of E-commerce for SMEs

by RAKBANK

Online shopping or e-commerce in the Middle East has grown by 1500% the last decade. In the UAE, the top market in the region, online sales doubled between 2015 and 2017, with annual rates of above +20% through 2021.

 

A.T. Kearny forecasts that the Gulf e-commerce market will grow to $24 billion by 2020. With a dynamic, mobile savvy young population, high per capita internet penetration, 4G connectivity and high disposable income levels, the growth is not surprising.

 

From startups to small businesses can benefit from this huge opportunity.

 

Advantages

 

With e-commerce, as an SME, you can eliminate geographical limitations, gain new customers, lower costs, and achieve higher capacity. E-commerce can take your brand from a traditional brick and mortar store to virtual 24/7 store - so customers can buy anytime, anywhere.

 

Think of it as a virtual sales and marketing manager. The use of SEO lets your business get found in search engines. An e-commerce site lets you scale, allowing you to add more lines, payment options, grow when you choose to ship to, without having to worry about changing your location or moving to a larger premise.

 

 

E-commerce platforms to consider

 

Picking an e-commerce platform is important. Here are the top e-Commerce platforms that we think are best for the undecided:

 

 

  • Shopify: Shopify is popular with small shops. It offers an app store that makes it simple to expand the abilities and features of your default web store. Shopify offers hundreds of apps, nice selection of professional themes (designs). Cost per month starts at $29.

     
  • Magento 2: Magento is one of the most powerful and flexible e-commerce platforms available. It supports multiple currencies, tax rates per location, product types and customer groups, promotions, private sales, and customer segmentation. Magento is an open-source software and hence its Community Edition is available for free. That means you can modify it as you want without any license or recurring costs for the software itself. 

     
  • Big Commerce: This popular online shopping cart, offers lot of features to grow your sales than almost any other shopping cart software. Cost per month starts at $29.95.

 

 

The options are plenty - starting from the free, hosted, to paid. Others worth considering are WooCommerce, Volusion, Open Cart, Wix, 3DCart, Big Cartel, Spree, Squarespace, and dozens more. They all offer standard features, but it depends on your business needs and budget.

 

 

All About Shipping

 

Timely shipping and delivery of products is what matters when you are running an e-commerce business. Rather than hiring fleet, drivers, warehouses, it is wise to consider specialize companies such as Aramex, Fetchr, Fedex, UPS, Parzel and so on. Their services can be integrated to your store and you pay per delivery.

 

 

Payment Gateway

 

There are lots of options available. These include PayPal, Network International, Cybersource, Telr, HyperPay, PayTabs and more. You can link your corporate bank account with the payment gateways, so customers can pay in major currencies via credit/debit cards and issue electronic invoices. Besides a monthly fee, they take a percentage of the sale (1.5 to 4%). However, it takes away the hassle of following up manually for payments, mailing invoices and collecting cheques.

 

 

Marketplace

 

Complement your e-commerce store and extend your reach by selling on regional online marketplaces such as Souq, Wadi, Awok, Dubizzle or global ones like Ebay, Alibaba, Amazon, Ratuken and more.  As shipping and payments are not a limitation, why not think global?

 

Online marketplaces usually have low entry barriers for sellers. You don't have to create or develop your own platform, but instead, you use the marketplace's already established platform. In turn, some charge a listing fee or percentage of each sale. Of course, here you are also competing with millions of sellers and buyers.

 

 

Things to Remember

 

An e-commerce store doesn't magically drive sales. It has pros and cons like any other sales channel. Build it and they won't necessarily come. You need to see it as long-term investment, an extension or new channel for sales.

 

Factor in cost for design, development, content, security, SEO, digital marketing, hosting, updates, maintenance and support. All the technical aspects are handled by the e-commerce platform or developer, but it is important to budget, cost, margins, cash-flow and forecast.

 

 

RAKBANKpay - one stop shop for online payment solutions

 


RAKBANK offers E-commerce solutions including the RAKBANKpay Merchant Payments Solutions. RAKBANKpay has been designed to offer online shopping convenience to cardholders and merchants. Our unique combination of outstanding service, innovative solutions and financial strength offers seamless customer benefits to companies both large and small.

 


To know more about our e-commerce solutions, please send us your company details to businessbanking@rakbank.ae.

 

 


Tags :




The Potential of E-commerce for SMEs

14 Apr 2019

Tags :

Online shopping or e-commerce in the Middle East has grown by 1500% the last decade. In the UAE, the top market in the region, online sales doubled between 2015 and 2017, with annual rates of above +20% through 2021.

 

A.T. Kearny forecasts that the Gulf e-commerce market will grow to $24 billion by 2020. With a dynamic, mobile savvy young population, high per capita internet penetration, 4G connectivity and high disposable income levels, the growth is not surprising.

 

From startups to small businesses can benefit from this huge opportunity.

 

Advantages

 

With e-commerce, as an SME, you can eliminate geographical limitations, gain new customers, lower costs, and achieve higher capacity. E-commerce can take your brand from a traditional brick and mortar store to virtual 24/7 store - so customers can buy anytime, anywhere.

 

Think of it as a virtual sales and marketing manager. The use of SEO lets your business get found in search engines. An e-commerce site lets you scale, allowing you to add more lines, payment options, grow when you choose to ship to, without having to worry about changing your location or moving to a larger premise.

 

 

E-commerce platforms to consider

 

Picking an e-commerce platform is important. Here are the top e-Commerce platforms that we think are best for the undecided:

 

 

  • Shopify: Shopify is popular with small shops. It offers an app store that makes it simple to expand the abilities and features of your default web store. Shopify offers hundreds of apps, nice selection of professional themes (designs). Cost per month starts at $29.

     
  • Magento 2: Magento is one of the most powerful and flexible e-commerce platforms available. It supports multiple currencies, tax rates per location, product types and customer groups, promotions, private sales, and customer segmentation. Magento is an open-source software and hence its Community Edition is available for free. That means you can modify it as you want without any license or recurring costs for the software itself. 

     
  • Big Commerce: This popular online shopping cart, offers lot of features to grow your sales than almost any other shopping cart software. Cost per month starts at $29.95.

 

 

The options are plenty - starting from the free, hosted, to paid. Others worth considering are WooCommerce, Volusion, Open Cart, Wix, 3DCart, Big Cartel, Spree, Squarespace, and dozens more. They all offer standard features, but it depends on your business needs and budget.

 

 

All About Shipping

 

Timely shipping and delivery of products is what matters when you are running an e-commerce business. Rather than hiring fleet, drivers, warehouses, it is wise to consider specialize companies such as Aramex, Fetchr, Fedex, UPS, Parzel and so on. Their services can be integrated to your store and you pay per delivery.

 

 

Payment Gateway

 

There are lots of options available. These include PayPal, Network International, Cybersource, Telr, HyperPay, PayTabs and more. You can link your corporate bank account with the payment gateways, so customers can pay in major currencies via credit/debit cards and issue electronic invoices. Besides a monthly fee, they take a percentage of the sale (1.5 to 4%). However, it takes away the hassle of following up manually for payments, mailing invoices and collecting cheques.

 

 

Marketplace

 

Complement your e-commerce store and extend your reach by selling on regional online marketplaces such as Souq, Wadi, Awok, Dubizzle or global ones like Ebay, Alibaba, Amazon, Ratuken and more.  As shipping and payments are not a limitation, why not think global?

 

Online marketplaces usually have low entry barriers for sellers. You don't have to create or develop your own platform, but instead, you use the marketplace's already established platform. In turn, some charge a listing fee or percentage of each sale. Of course, here you are also competing with millions of sellers and buyers.

 

 

Things to Remember

 

An e-commerce store doesn't magically drive sales. It has pros and cons like any other sales channel. Build it and they won't necessarily come. You need to see it as long-term investment, an extension or new channel for sales.

 

Factor in cost for design, development, content, security, SEO, digital marketing, hosting, updates, maintenance and support. All the technical aspects are handled by the e-commerce platform or developer, but it is important to budget, cost, margins, cash-flow and forecast.

 

 

RAKBANKpay - one stop shop for online payment solutions

 


RAKBANK offers E-commerce solutions including the RAKBANKpay Merchant Payments Solutions. RAKBANKpay has been designed to offer online shopping convenience to cardholders and merchants. Our unique combination of outstanding service, innovative solutions and financial strength offers seamless customer benefits to companies both large and small.

 


To know more about our e-commerce solutions, please send us your company details to businessbanking@rakbank.ae.