With e-commerce being valued as a $10 billion industry in the GCC, it only makes sense for brands to jump onto the e-commerce bandwagon whether it’s through their own online stores or marketplaces.
Moreover, moves by Amazon, Souq and Noon.com, are changing the rules of the game for retail.
Where do agencies fit in?
As brands try to make sense of this ever-evolving field, agencies are naturally developing their own capabilities to help brands navigate. Publicis Media started building on this as early as June 2017 when it appointed Ali Nehme as President of Innovation and Commerce, EMEA and tasked him with strengthening and building an e-commerce strategy and roadmap to ensure scaled solutions across all EMEA markets. He then went on to lead “Commerce,” a Publicis Media global practice dedicated to commerce strategy, media and marketplace investment, as well as content and merchandising.
Earlier this year OMD also launched its e-commerce arm Transact, headed by Waseem Afzal, who was previously executive director of integrated solutions at the agency.
New kid on the block
Now, WPP’s brand activation network, Geometry Dubai launched “eCommerce Accelerator: a programme to helps brands develop fast-track plans and optimize their eCommerce presence for rapid sales uplift and increased ROI.”
Under the leadership of MENA managing director Nick Walsh, the eCommerce Accelerator focuses on FMCG clients and aims to provide them the ability to audit their digital shelf, define their sales growth opportunities, prioritize activities and channels, and optimize their digital channels to be mobile-first and shopper friendly.
“Our eCommerce Accelerator programme allows brands to fast-track the success of their revenue-driving activities by optimizing the online moments that drive purchase decisions,” says Walsh. “Across other markets, we’ve seen products loitering in the depths of Amazon search results rise suddenly to the number one spot after simply fine-tuning the product page copy and optimizing other areas we know influence Amazon’s search algorithm.”
Walsh admits that in a developing market like MENA, many still choose to purchase in-store. But even then, a strong e-commerce presence is critical in the purchase journey because “a customer’s first meaningful contact with a product is now so often online,” he says.
More than 70% of shopping journeys begin with an online search, says the agency’s digital strategist Moey Shawash. “It is here that our e-commerce approach helps us in identifying pivotal moments of conversion,” he adds.
The launch follows Geometry’s global rebrand in February 2018, which encompasses a shift in priorities to focus on the omnichannel world.