There is no doubt that the MENA is embracing a revolutionary retail transformation, and that tech is at the core of this shift in shopping and buying behaviors.
The percentage of daily online shoppers doubled in 2015, compared to 2014 (12 percent versus six percent). Besides the accelerating e-shopping habit, clients are searching for further personalization, and digital technology is making this possible. However, the main concern remains safety of e-payments. Consumers in the Middle East are more worried about shopping on mobile than those elsewhere, and 65 percent of the Middle East PwC Retail Survey 2016 respondents are worried about the safety of their personal financial information if they shop on the move. This may be one reason why as many as 30 percent have never shopped on mobile, and many brand owners have found it hard to find or set up secure online payment services. On the other hand, some of the most advanced players in the market have already set up successful mobile applications that accept online payments.
According to the third edition of the ‘State of Payments in the Arab World’ by Payfort, one of the leading online payment service providers in the Arab world, the volume of online payments could increase nearly three times by the 2020 to exceed $69 billion of transactions per annum.
Within these norms, 209 Lebanese Wine, a new wine ecommerce platform is betting high. The startup which kicked off last year offers the customer multiple Lebanese wines to choose upon, offers guidance and pairings, and delivers the products.
According to founder Selim Yasmine, their online paying shoppers exceed pay on delivery ones, and that was a surprise. Most of clients who are aged between 30 and 50, check out with an average of $100. “Customers test the platform with small purchases and comeback satisfied,” he said.
The platform which has started with a loan from Kafalat and the capital of its founder, is now looking for VCs to expand its services beyond Lebanon and accelerate its growth.
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