A recent presentation by PricewaterhouseCoopers at its webinar entitled ‘Emerging Technologies in eCommerce’ observes that Qatar’s strong mobile connectivity and internet usage offers significant potential to its online shopping market to grow.
The PwC presentation stated that “this is evident from the fact that the eCommerce penetration in Qatar is only 37 percent, leaving ample room for growth in the future.”
The multinational professional services firm remarked that 99 percent of Qatar’s 2.73 million population in August 2020 are active mobile internet users. It further added that with 86 percent of the total population representing the age group of 15 years to 64 years, the country has the most suitable demographic for eCommerce growth.
“Around 1.84 million people have an account with a financial institution with 32 percent having a credit card. There are more than 400 e-commerce companies in Qatar and the number of shoppers who have purchased a product or service online in the past 12 months is 37 percent of the total population,” PwC mentioned.
The firm pointed out that nearly 32 percent of the online buyers in 2019 preferred buying groceries, food, lifestyle related products and airline travel as the sector grew beyond clothing and electronics with local retailers exploring new operational areas.
PwC highlighted that Qatar lacks strong integration as 50 percent consumers find the ordering process to be lengthy while Local SMEs lack proper order management, forecasting and live inventory updates.
45 percent of consumers who shop online state that there are limited options to return the product. Even though consumers prefer cash-on-delivery, followed by credit card, PayPal, 46 percent of consumers still believe that the payment options are limited.
“There are limited options for delivery partners in Qatar as delivery time is an important component that contributes to poor customer service. There are immense opportunities to use innovation for creating value as 46 percent of consumers who shop online believe that there is a lack of product variety,” it said.
10 focus point for regional players
The multinational professional services firm offered 10 key focus areas to the regional players to invest such as;
- Development of Mobile Apps
- One-click payment to optimize ordering process.
- Integrating cloud solutions to key supply chain components
- Realtime inventory tracking
- Forecasting to fulfill orders quickly.
- Additional payment options like e-wallets and NFC
- Investments in IoT based technologies with payment services as a lead feature.
- Drone-based delivery
- Adoption of AR/VR to drive transactions and
- Introduction of Chatbots and image search based technologies
The COVID impact
The firm remarked that COVID-19 has shown that current emerging technology can improve eCommerce business outcomes as they are impacting business models and consumers’ behaviors globally.
“And when incorporated, it can enhance the overall consumer experience and drive efficiency in the business. With the growth of VR, eCommerce stores are now creating a realistic shopping experience for their customers, and one that customers will find hard to forget,” it said.