With the UAE steadfast in doubling its $421-billion economy by 2031 and creating industry-friendly laws and tax regimes to encourage heightened commercial activities, the conditions are conducive for all kinds of businesses, including startups, to establish themselves and grow exponentially in the Gulf region.
Driving the UAE’s impressive economic growth are consumers, who are spending big-time to give the much-needed fillip to the industry. According to Euromonitor, a London-based market research company, consumer spending in the UAE is witnessing a phenomenal upward trend with a forecast to grow 3 per cent this year to $146 billion, and 4.3 per cent over the next five years to $175 billion.
While the UAE, one of the fastest-growing economies in the Middle East, offers a great business ecosystem, a holistic marketing strategy is a must for any foreign enterprise to generate more commerce and remain cut above the rest in the country.
High internet penetration, well-developed e-Payment systems, and a tech-savvy population have altogether led to a digital shift in shopping habits in the Covid-19 times. The value of the UAE’s retail e-Commerce market rose 53 percent to a record $3.9 billion in 2020, while the m-Commerce market is projected to grow at 18.9 percent between 2020 and 2025 to reach $3.9 billion by 2025. Foreign companies, therefore, need to make a marketing strategy keeping in mind the UAE’s fast-changing digital landscape and the growing preference of consumers for newer online modes of buying and availing services.
Today, just having a website is not enough; it must draw traffic and generate business. The marketing plan, therefore, needs to focus on creating a functional website, which is consumer-centric and provides a great online shopping experience. Since there are zillions of websites, search engine optimisation will help place your portal in the top of the online search directory and improve its visibility. User experience is a key component of online sales. Once prospective consumers decide to visit your website, they should feel at ease in terms of usability. Having add-ons and pop-ups to guide customers till the completion of purchase can add to the positive experience, prompting them to return to your website for more purchases. Above all, secure your website from cybercriminals to keep your and consumers’ data safe and transactions secure.
Keep the channels of communication with your existing and potential consumers open all the time. Engage with them via email and newsletters, informing them about new products and services, special offers, and upcoming events. Through webinars and e-conferences you can spread more awareness about your company and build their trust in your brand further.
Professional online platforms like LinkedIn and various other social networking sites are a great way to interact, take feedback and promote one’s business. Having a review or rating system, or sending email requests for review can also provide valuable feedback to a company. All these measures will make consumers feel a valued member of your company.
Online advertising on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in the form of banners, pop-ups, pay-per-click, and search engine and classified ads, can help generate a great amount of e-Commerce. Recent studies have found that in the UAE, over 52 per cent of Internet users have their own websites, blogs, etc. these can be used for advertisements to further bolster your brand’s presence and publicity.
While online marketing is the new norm, don’t miss out on amplifying your brand value through well-established traditional offline practices. In fact, the best marketing strategies combine offline and digital campaigns for greater results. Offline modes include visual merchandising, radio and TV campaigns, advertisements in top publications, flyers, and billboards at prime positions in top locations. You can also sponsor events, conferences, seminars, and exhibitions for more visibility on the ground. Running one campaign across multiple channels gives more opportunities to use copy, images, and promotional material and result in a greater return on investment.
It’s sometimes better to avail services of agencies specialised in marketing which can help gain maximum exposure and business. With their better understanding of the market, these agencies can make targeted strategies and plans to take your business to greater heights. Some forms of advertising require the approval of Government entities. A marketing agency will be helpful since it is aware of the procedures and regulations needed for each type of marketing.
Quality services and products, along with the right mix of marketing strategy that keeps ‘consumer experience’ central to its planning can do wonders to any business in the fast-growing economy of the UAE. In a competitive environment, a strategic marketing plan supports the overall business plan, especially those of foreign firms, and objectives, and promises greater success.
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