1. Retention > Acquisition
This year is all about building customer lifetime value through retention, not acquisition. We already know that the cost of retention is lower than the cost of acquiring new customers. Last year, the adoption of online services grew in leaps and bounds with 70% of consumers in UAE & KSA having bought a product online. This is not expected to grow exponentially this year. Thus, this year, retailers need to focus on retaining and cultivating a loyal base and increasing the share of wallet from them.
This strategy already saw some traction during the White Friday sales when Amazon and Noon chose to focus on their loyalty programs – providing free shipping to only Amazon Prime and Noon VIP members rather than all shoppers like in the past years.
2. Experimental Customer Experience Formats
Social media penetration stands at 99% in UAE and 72% in KSA. So, it is not surprising that social media platforms are becoming more and more entrenched in the buying experience. Awareness of social media/chat platforms for buying and selling is upwards of 80% in this region. And its reduced cost makes it apt for SMEs to reach out to a larger audience to engage them in buying. SMEs no longer need a website or app to reach customers – they can upload pictures of their product on WhatsApp and Facebook and start selling, they can use live streams on Instagram. Conversational Commerce will change the way retailers engage with consumers, which leads us to our next theme.
3. Integrated Consumer Experience
With social media becoming a larger part of the discovery & selection stage, it is expected that this year, the whole consumer purchase journey will begin to get move to these channels. The fast emergence of Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and more recently Tiktok as important consumer touchpoint channels will accelerate this year. As a result, we expect retailers to integrate consumer journeys from discovery, to purchase, to post purchase along the new consumer habits.