Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) Following the success of the inaugural summit last year, Visa (NYSE:V), the world leader in digital payments, hosted the second edition of its eCommerce Summit for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). With its theme, “Capturing the Digital Consumer”, Visa’s summit brought together industry leaders and experts in the eCommerce space to discuss the evolution of commerce in the region while underlining the need to design effective and customized eCommerce offerings to captivate the digital consumers of today and tomorrow.
Through a series of panel discussions, presentations and engaging Q&A with attendees, delegates examined the future of eCommerce in the MENA region and its critical role in accelerating economic development. The panel discussions drew emphasis on how the sector is being increasingly shaped and influenced by consumers’ evolving expectations, changing macro-economic dynamics, and the advent of new technologies and innovations in the space.
To deliver a power-packed session with meaningful discussions and insights, Visa brought together prominent regional and global eCommerce players including: Amazon, Noon, Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, Daraz, DeliveryHero, Paypal and Almosafer, along with merchants, issuer banks, payments platform providers and government representatives from the Department of Economic Development (DED).
Marcello Baricordi, Visa’s General Manager for Middle East and North Africa, said “Our data shows that MENA eCommerce recorded a double-digit growth in 2018, led by 27% increase in payment volume and 44% increase in online transactions over 2017. And with online shopping in the Middle East and North Africa estimated to grow nearly three-fold by 2022, the economic opportunity to be gained by modernizing the eCommerce experience is massive for both merchants and banks. By pooling knowledge and working closely together, we must focus on redefining what online and mobile shopping means to today’s consumers, offering them more seamless, rewarding and secure experiences.”
Visa works closely with merchants, financial institution partners and governments, enabling them to unlock new commerce opportunities and develop seamless consumer solutions that leverage Visa’s APIs (Application Program Interface), brand, and world’s largest payment processing and acceptance network. “By leveraging Visa’s expertise, innovative digital solutions, analytics, as well as the largest global network of merchants, we can support our merchant and bank partners to design and deliver frictionless consumer experiences. Furthermore, through events like the Visa MENA eCommerce Summit, we want to continue fostering an environment of learning and collaboration so that opportunities for eCommerce can be harnessed and capitalized by all players in the ecosystem”, Baricordi added.
The Visa eCommerce summit served as a constructive platform for key players in the eCommerce ecosystem to come together to share best practices, solutions and business models to spur eCommerce growth. One of the most notable takeaways was the underlying need to fully understand the digital consumer’s behavior and expectations, and the strategies to design effective and customized eCommerce offerings to deliver the seamless and secure experiences digital consumers expect.
Ahmad Al Zaabi, director of the consumer protection department at the Department of Economic Development (DED), said: “The summit provided some enriching insights around consumer behavior and their expectations when transacting online. What we take away from these sessions is that security is a key factor in accelerating the move away from cash and towards digital payments in the UAE. The Consumer Protection Department has been working to educate consumers on their rights and to be careful when transacting digitally by ensuring they are using verified platforms. Events such as Visa’s that bring together eCommerce industry leaders align with our efforts to build consumer confidence in digital payments, so they can transact confidently whether online or shopping in store.”
Ehsan Saya, Managing Director at Daraz, and a speaker at the summit, said: “The Visa eCommerce Summit provided great insights from the region’s top minds into the evolving needs of the digital customer. As eCommerce companies, banks, and payment platforms we need to work collaboratively to educate the market on the benefits of using credit cards. Events of such high caliber are very important for the region’s eCommerce ecosystem and provide a great platform for collective thinking and problem solving.”
Speaking at the ‘Building Consumer eCommerce Behavior’ panel, Muzzamil Ahussain, EVP of Almosafer, highlighted: “Consumer needs and behaviors in the market are rapidly changing and the ecosystem for eCommerce has to evolve to cater to these discerned needs. The only way to holistically do that is by collaborating effectively. The Visa eCommerce Summit not only served as a great opportunity for industry leaders to discuss opportunities and challenges, but also presented an excellent platform for key stakeholders to come together and find potential solutions. The event once again showcased how Visa is working towards a better consumer experience for online payments; a great summit I am glad to have been a part of.”