Ecommerce is expanding rapidly in the Middle East and North Africa. According to Payfort’s State of Payments 2016 report, in 2015 alone the market expanded by 23% reaching almost £32 billion. In particular, the Saudi market is growing. An estimated SAR24.3bn (Saudi Riyals, £5.31bn) were spent in 2015, up from SAR17bn in 2014 and SAR12bn in 2012. This clearly shows the massive online potential of Saudi Arabia and other Arabic speaking countries for foreign e-retailers, where many customers with high disposable incomes are turning to online shopping in high numbers. Success in these markets means considering several important factors.
One critical component when targeting Arabic speaking markets is ensuring a fully localised user experience, which in turn helps to develop customer trust and overall brand loyalty. Website formatting in Arabic should obviously be from right to left. This includes all elements of the page, such as logos, navigation, numbers and text. All elements should sit on the opposite side of where they are on English websites, even menus, as per the below screenshots.
Although Arabic markets are full of potential, ecommerce is still underdeveloped in comparison to other regions. One major reason for this is trust and confidence in sites and payment methods. Getting this right involves using familiar payment methods, or clearly stated delivery and return options. Cash-on delivery is the most widely used means of payment. A recent report published by Arabnet showed that 75% of online transactions use the cash on delivery method for website payments.
Nevertheless, some users do still use online methods such as PayPal and credit cards. Gaining trust using these methods means ensuring your website offers 3D security for credit card payments, such as:
Trust can also be gained by completing accreditations which evaluate the security of your website. This gives confidence that your company can be trusted when handling confidential personal information. One example is TRUSTe Privacy Management Solutions, where they evaluate and certify the website to confirm that it is compliant with privacy protection.
In addition, the logo below shows the website is safe for online shopping
In Arabic markets, the most popular medium for customer service remains by phone, however more recently we are now seeing fixed field forms being used to communicate directly through the site. Instant chat functionality is also increasingly being used where time critical queries can be dealt with immediately.
For more information on how you can successfully launch your website in Arabic speaking markets, please contact us on 0113 468 9777.