Muscat: 77 per cent of customers in Oman have become digital converts since the pandemic and want to keep buying everything online, according to Sitecore, the global leader in digital experience management software.
The research, conducted by YouGov Mena, surveyed more than 650 IT decision-makers across 12 countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Levant, and Egypt.
Boosted by the stay-at-home economy of COVID-19, the Middle East’s e-commerce market reached $12.1 billion in 2020, representing 53.8 per cent year-over-year growth, according to a recent report by MarketLine. Electronics and retail accounted for $5.2 billion or 42.5 per cent of the total market.
As e-commerce continues to grow, customers are placing greater emphasis on the customer experience. Since the pandemic, 78 per cent of Oman’s IT decision-makers said their customers will navigate away from a site and choose an alternative if they can’t find what they need in just a few clicks. Furthermore, 90 per cent of Oman respondents agreed that their customers have less patience with slow or poorly functioning websites.
“With 77 per cent of Oman customers being digital converts to e-commerce, the country is seeing a rapid transition from bricks and mortar stores to hybrid and e-commerce models,” said Mohammed Alkhotani, Area Vice President – Middle East and Africa, Sitecore. “Millennials and Generation Z customers have quickly shifted their significant spending power online. Pressure will continue to mount on retailers until they can deliver an experience that delights.”
Brands in Oman are taking a variety of actions to improve the shopping experience. The majority, 77 per cent, ranked an online app or website that works well on mobile devices as among their top three choices.
Also scoring highly in the top three choices were brands keeping up to date on the latest trends and fresh inspiration (55 per cent), remembering customers’ shopping history and preferences (33 per cent), giving preferential treatment in the form of exclusive offers and invitations (33 per cent), the ability to order by voice command, smartwatch, or smart speaker (22 per cent), and knowing the name during login or customer service (22 per cent).
“Brand loyalty has evaporated and there is no margin for error from browsing through to delivery,” added Mohammed Alkhotani. “Brands in Oman are already ahead of the curve in prioritising mobile apps and websites to personalise online experiences.”