The future of retail in UAE depends on today’s technology decisions, says Cybersource

CyberSource, a Visa company, and one of the world’s largest providers of eCommerce payment management services, hosted a media roundtable in Dubai to discuss the future of retail in the UAE and the role played by eCommerce. CyberSource is encouraging merchants to act now and ensure they are fully prepared to take advantage of the rapidly expanding e-shopping trends emerging in the UAE and across the MENA region.

Gups Jutla, Head of Business Development, CyberSource Middle East,
Gups Jutla, Head of Business Development, CyberSource Middle East,

Gups Jutla, Head of Business Development, CyberSource Middle East, explained: “Internet and broadband penetration in the UAE is increasing at a significant rate. With household broadband penetration of nearly 56 percent, the UAE is soon expected to be the leader and the first country in the world to have 100 percent household broadband internet penetration through Fiber to the Home technology (FTTH).

“Smartphone penetration rates in the UAE are among the highest in the world at 73.8 percent. This means there has never been a more important time for merchants to expand into e-shopping to meet the rapidly changing lifestyles and needs of their customers.” As UAE consumers adopt mobile and internet technology at an incredibly fast pace, we increasingly find the retail industry in the UAE at a crossroads, said Jutla.

According to IMRG, MENAP B2C e-Commerce, Overview 2012, there is a UAE e-shopper population of almost 3 million. The UAE equates to approximately 55 percent of total GCC eCommerce spend. eCommerce sales reached US$ 2.8 billion and the average spend per internet shopper was reported at US$ 950. It is anticipated that by 2015, global mobile internet will have overtaken fixed internet, a trend which is expected to spread to the MENA region and especially the UAE. Empowered by new technologies, consumers now routinely use several channels to make a single purchasing decision.

Other factors that have led to the rise in mobile and eCommerce awareness include the emphasis by the UAE government on state-of-the-art online payment gateways. Social media is also playing a vital role in the growth of eCommerce. The growing presence of brands on social media platforms, along with the increasing number of connected shoppers, has increased opportunities to showcase and sell online.

Jutla added: “During their leisure time, smartphone users in this region spend a considerable amount of time in shopping malls, providing significant opportunities for merchants to expand their existing businesses through digital and mobile channels.

“In malls, there are usually queues to pay for goods and services, which can be frustrating for individual shoppers. This provides opportunities for retailers to complement their existing retail operation. E-shopping gives customers the advantage of viewing products on social media platforms or at the mall and ordering them via their smartphone.”

As mobile and digital payments are poised to catapult to a significant share of the retail payments environment, innovative retailers are increasingly looking at consumer focused technology companies to lead them through the complexities of payments change. CyberSource’s solution for web and mobile initiated transactions automatically detects a customer’s device type, operating system and location. Whether shopping on a laptop, tablet or smartphone, the cloud-based solution presents an elegant and secure shopping environment for merchants and their customers.

Jutla explained, “CyberSource, with its deep understanding of the global and local eCommerce landscape and continued investment in technology, is uniquely positioned to guide retailers in the UAE and MENA region as they navigate a unique and exciting journey in the evolving omni-channel payments landscape.”