ArabNet Digital Summit Shows Stunning MENA Growth

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Cash on Delivery increases by 75% in one year, surpassing all expectations.

MENA region e-commerce grows by a staggering 190%.

Arabnet Digital summit 2013
ArabNet Digital Summit 2013

ArabNet Digital Summit 2013 continues to expose the hottest trends and eye-popping insights into digital business in the Middle East and North Africa. The largest gathering of digital professionals and entrepreneurs in the MENA region is taking place at Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai. More than 900 industry leaders and digital professionals attended, and more are arriving to take part in this prestigious event.

In one of the most exciting panels of the event so far, Ahmed AlKhatib, Founder and CEO at MarkaVIP; Ronaldo Mouchawar, CEO at Souq.com; and Sherif Nassar, Founder and CEO at Nefsak.com gathered together to talk about big e-commerce in the region. The three industry leaders jointly agreed that while the total value of the e-commerce industry is valued at USD 15 billion, with only USD 1 billion related to the product sector.

“There is undoubtedly a huge growth potential in e-commerce in the region. At Souq.com, we grew from 300 to 800 people in less than 8 months to keep up pace with the increasing demands of the market.” — Ronaldo Mouchawar, CEO at Souq.com

Another highly anticipated talk was led by Iyad Kamel, COO at Aramex International, who shared the most recent e-commerce trends in MENA;

“E-commerce increased by 190 percent from 2012 until 2013, and the average value of orders is USD 115. Last year, cash on delivery (COD) constituted 70 percent of online transaction. This year, and contrary to our expectation, COD reached 75 percent. This is a clear message that we need to take serious measures to improve and encourage online payment in the region.” — Iyad Kamel, COO at Aramex International

Iyad told the audience later that Saudi Arabia is the largest e-commerce market in the region, followed by UAE and Egypt.

During an exciting panel on how digital is disrupting recruitment and transforming work, Omar Tahboub, Vice President of Product at Bayt.com expressed some of the challenges faced today.

“Our challenge is to give employers a consistent, predictable, systematic experience,” says Omar. To enhance the search experience on Bayt.com, they have launched a loyalty program for employers who get in touch with job seekers and follow up with them. “This year, we have released job posting packages for SME’s at cheaper rates. And next week, we will launch a new social product that will expand job seeking on Bayt.com.” — Omar Tahboub, Vice President of Product at Bayt.com

According to Ved Sinha, Vice President at Elance, freelancers earned USD 1 billion in 2012 alone and the global online freelance market is expected to grow to USD 4 billion within 4 years.

LinkedIn’s Head of Talent Solutions, Ali Matar, also shared impressive insights during the panel.

“Since we opened our Dubai office, we have reached over 5 million members in MENA, the largest regional market being UAE, with 1 million members.”

Omar Soudodi, Managing Director at PAYFORT, and Gups Julta, Head of Business Development ME at CyberSource, joined together to talk about Payments and Gateways.

“The future will witness an increasing convergence towards mobile transactions.” —  Gups Julta, Head of Business Development ME at CyberSource

“More companies in the future will migrate online, bypassing the Internet, that is laptops, and directly establishing a mobile presence.” — Omar Soudodi, Managing Director at PAYFORT

During the Augmented Reality Demos, Dany El Eid, Founder and Managing Partner at pixelbug, and Elie Youssef, Managing Partner at pixelbug, took the stage to demonstrate how the company used augmented reality in healthcare to “capture the attention and imagination of physicians.”

Matthias Krampe, CEO at Explore Engage MENA, explained how augmented reality is being used in the construction process with building information modeling (BIM) by designing 3D interactive floor plans, 360 degree virtual tours, and on-site and in-site augmented reality visualization.

Jason Ried, Director at FuzzyLogic, also showcased how the company is using augmented reality in mobile applications and gaming. As an example, they are applying augmented reality to promote safe driving.

On the first day of the event, PAYFORT launched its regional payment gateway in an exclusive press release at the ArabNet Digital Summit, stating that the new platform will provide online consumers and retailers with unprecedented levels of transactional security.

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