Technology has taken the retail world by storm, offering businesses the opportunity to connect with consumers all around the world with a few clicks of a button. However, technology helps businesses on the backend as well, introducing new marketing techniques and ways to shop. Read on to learn how technology is revolutionizing the retail industry.
With over 33 million people on the internet (nearly all its citizens), Saudi Arabia is a prime market for digital marketing. Digital marketing simply refers to all efforts to market online, whether that’s through search engines, social media ads or even brand websites. In Saudi Arabia, most people discover new brands through:
- Search Engines
- Brand Websites
- Social Media Ads
- Social Media Comments
However, most people also research the brand they’re considering buying, getting their information from:
- Social Media
- Search Engines
- Mobile Apps
- Price Comparison Sites
- Brand Websites
The need to get on social media and search engines has never been higher. However, certain sites are going to be more popular than other. Nearly 91% of people could potentially be reached through YouTube while 88% could be reached through TikTok. Sites that are popular in the United States were significantly less popular In Saudi Arabia, including Facebook (40.7%) and LinkedIn (24%).
Mobile payment apps and NFC
Mobile payment apps and NFC are extremely popular in Saudi Arabia. In September 2020 alone, 255 million transactions were completed using NFC payments. Furthermore, 22 million NFC Mada Pay cards are in circulation around the Kingdom, creating a ripe environment for those looking to switch to the technology.
While this may come across as a fad, it’s important to note that in 2019, 66% of PO transactions were contactless compared to 91% in 2020. The COVID pandemic simply made more businesses and customers alike switch to contactless payment options sooner rather than being a temporary solution.
Mobile payment solutions in Saudi Arabia are regulated by the government to ensure systems are safe. At the time of writing this, the following four methods of payment are accepted around the Kingdom:
- STC Pay
- Bayan Portfolio
- Mada Pay
- Apple Pay
Mada Pay is by far the most popular and the most readily accepted by stores across the country.
The days of opening a store and waiting for customers to come on in are gone, with omnichannel retail quickly taking its place.
Omnichannel retail simply means that a store utilizes multiple avenues and platforms for customers to make a purchase. These platforms can be the brick-and-mortar location, social media platforms, marketplaces and a company’s website.
Stores looking to expand their presence into an omnichannel plan need to:
- Establish a social media presence
- Create a brand website with a store option
- Utilize local marketplaces
Smart shelves are a newer innovation that is quickly becoming a mainstay in a lot of stores around the world.
Smart shelves give store owners the opportunity to:
- Change prices – Owners can easily change prices for anything in the store no matter where they are.
- Track inventory – Quantities can automatically update in relation to how many goods are sold at the register, making keeping inventory a breeze.
- Omnichannel retail – Omnichannel retail is streamlined by allowing consumers to see exactly what is in stock, reducing the chances of them needing a substitution.
- Help the environment – Because smart shelves don’t need labels for prices, sales and adjustments, there is a significant reduction in the amount of paper used each year.
- Customize their shelving – With smart shelving, business owners can add their own logos and fonts to the programing, allowing completely customized shelving in minutes.
- Accept NFC – While not all smart shelves are NFC capable, more and more are beginning to accept digital payment options.
- Offer more Information on products – Far too often, consumers want to learn more about a product, so they research it after they leave the store and buy it online. With smart shelves, customers can learn everything they may need to know about a product with the addition of catalogue entries that allow several pages of information.
Content marketing and social media are molding consumer behavior
Online shoppers want content they consider valuable, and content marketing is helping them get there. Content marketing works by writing an article or long-form social media post that tells people more about your product or industry. This content helps people learn more about something they’re interested in while a writer’s use of SEO ensures that search engines will place the content higher up in results.
Social media uses a lot of the same metrics as content marketing, including SEO, to get posts in front of the right people. Social media molds consumer behavior by showcasing different products primarily to younger audience primarily through the use of influencers. A recent study found that 85% of millennials in Saudi Arabia follow at least one influencer on a social media account. Influencers will review the product, telling their audiences why they should or should not purchase it. They’re remarkably successful too, with most people making at least one purchase through an influencer.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) Growth
VR and AR are quickly taking the retail world by storm by letting people see how their products would look in their space or even on them. From trying on clothes and makeup to seeing how furniture may look in the shopper’s home.
Artificial Intelligence and machine learning
AI and machine learning are constantly learning more about customers, giving them a personalized shopping experience based on previous shopping habits. Online customers can receive items selected for them based on their past purchases while in-store customers can receive discounts on products they frequently purchase.
The digital world is quickly becoming a staple in retail. From artificial intelligence that helps customers decide what to purchase to digital marketing efforts that get a business in front of millions of people, the tech world has changed the retail market in numerous ways. To better figure out how to incorporate this technology int your retail store, consider working with our team of retail consultants. Retail consulting firms help you decide which technology is right for your company to move to the next level.
At Ollen Group, our technology and strategy consultancy services are up to date with consumer shifts in the Middle East, and the necessary steps needed to find success in the future - including the development of different aspects to be part of the metaverse and cope with the demand for digital progression. Ollen Group technology consultancy services, retail consultancy services and consumer goods consultancy services offer turnkey solutions from strategy to execution, as well as design, development, and deployment.
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