According to a new report by Euromonitor online spending in the UAE is set to grow by 95% over the next five years. The main driver for this growth is a growing confidence among consumers that online vendors are offering quality products that will be delivered promptly as well as increasing faith in card security measures.
Ayman Ghanam, Research Analyst at Euromonitor says ‘This trend will be encouraged by the growing usage of credit cards as consumers become more comfortable with buying online. With internet users in the Arab World tipped to reach over 170 million by 2016, internet retailing in the region is clearly set for staggering growth’.
Euromonitor said that research indicates internet retailing in the region is expanding across other channels, with new products such as home care, DIY and gardening recently gaining their first significant presence in internet retailing. Players from the UAE have already started expanding elsewhere including Saudi Arabia where forecast growth over the next 5 years is 136%. Euromonitor expects this to be followed by expansion into other Arab countries such as Egypt.
Consumers in the UAE spent $226.8 million online last year, a figure expected to grow to $270.9m this year.
If you are an online retailer or e-commerce store without mobile commerce capabilities, you could be missing a big amount of sales. Smartphones have changed the way people shop.
Millions of users are now accessing retail sites via mobile devices, and that number will increase as the time goes on. According to recent study by Nielsen, traffic to mobile commerce sites and applications increased 50%.
In most of the cases, you don’t need to have to make large investments in new technologies to support mobile expansion. If you have a website, you can easily optimize it for mobile web. Extend as much of your existing set-up as possible into mobile channel to maximize your investments.
There are some key elements that you need to keep in mind when designing your mobile site:
- High mobile expectations. 80% expect the mobile experience to be at least as good as in-store shopping. 85% expect it to be at least as good as using a traditional PC.
- Risk of losing customers. 63% of online adults said they would be less likely to buy from the same company via other purchase channels if they ran into trouble with a mobile transaction.
- Mounting frustration. Mobile users say they find mobile transaction problems very frustrating. 23% have cursed at their phones. 11% have screamed at their phones. 4% have thrown their mobile devices!
A well designed mobile website should look different, but not necessarily require a separate platform or backend. When you visit a site from a mobile phone, you should be seamlessly shown the mobile version of the site.
A common issue is that many people assume that the way to get a mobile version of their website to is to strip out content or features that they think are not relevant to mobile users – essentially creating a ‘lite’ version of the site. To be fair, a mobile website requires a focused, simple interface – but customers don’t want a ‘dumbed-down’ version of a site, they want a uncomplicated and easy to use site, and that is a big difference.
Try to use identical icons and images on its desktop and mobile sites. The uniformity of design and navigation means that customers familiar with the website will feel right at home on the mobile site.
Good navigation is vital, don’t make buttons small – keep them ‘finger-friendly’. The use of images can make a big different – it is important to remember that it’s harder to sell products that mobile shoppers cannot see.
Mobile Website or Mobile Application?
For the most e-commerce systems, a mobile version of your existing website will make more sense than developing a mobile application. A mobile website can be accessed by any mobile user, regardless of which mobile system they are using, without the user needing to do anything more than navigate to the correct URL. With applications, you need to create a different application for each platform, such as iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. You then need to have the mobile users download and install that application before they can use it. This in turn requires that your application is submitted to the relevant application store, where it must be approved before it can be downloaded. It some cases, the application store may even require a share of all revenue generated by the application.
Should you then decide you need to make some changes or updates, with a mobile website you can simply make those changes whenever you want. All users then see the new version the next time they browse the site. With an application, the updated application will need to go through the approval process again, and then you need to get all your existing users to re-download and re-install the application. Your systems will need to be able to deal with handling multiple versions of the application as some users may not update to the latest version.
Key areas where applications have an advantage over mobile websites can be in performance, and in possibly offering an enhanced user experience as the application can have full control of the user interface, access alternate input devices such as the camera and microphone, and may be able to read other sensor information that the mobile makes available.
In just the same way as would happen with a regular e-commerce site, at some point the customer is actually going to want to pay for something.
If you use our hosted payment pages, then that stage is easy. Just as you would with customers from your regular site, simply post the purchase details to the Innovate Payments gateway and a mobile version of the payment pages will be displayed.
If you are using the remote API, then you will need to ensure that your payment pages can be displayed correctly on a mobile device, and that they are easy to navigate and use.
With Bank of Ireland already announcing the move away from the domestic Irish Laser debit card scheme, the announcement made by Allied Irish Bank today must bring the end of the Laser Card ever closer.
AIB are planning to ditch the Laser Card (and also the Maestro Card) and replace them with Visa debit cards. This is due to happen in the second half of 2012.
The move is to pave the way for AIB to introduce contactless payments for small transactions, allowing Visa Debit holders to pay for purchases of €15 or under by holding their card over a reader at certain retail outlets.
You can view the announcement by following this link to the AIB Press Office
Telecoms operators and internet service providers normally hold a range of data about their customers, such as name, address and bank account details, in addition to information about phone calls and internet connections. In general, providers are required by EU law to keep this data confidential and secure. However, sometimes the data can be stolen or lost, or someone could gain unauthorised access to the data. These cases are known as ‘personal data breaches’. Under the revised ePrivacy Directive (2002/58/EC), when a personal data breach occurs, the provider has to report this to a specific national authority, usually the data protection authority or the communications regulator. Also, the provider has to inform the subscriber or individual directly if there is a risk to personal data or privacy.
To make sure that data breaches are reported in a consistent manner across the EU, the ePrivacy Directive allows the Commission to propose ‘technical implementing measures’ – practical rules to complement the existing legislation – on the circumstances, formats and procedures for the notification requirements. With the transposition deadline for the revised ePrivacy Directive having passed (on 25 May 2011), the Commission has now started its preparatory work on the technical implementing measures for personal data breach notifications.
As a first step, the Commission wants to engage all relevant stakeholders – such as telecoms operators, Internet Service Providers, Member States, data protection authorities, national regulatory authorities and consumer organisations – in a public consultation process in order to gather practical input based on existing practice and initial experience with the new rules. This will help the Commission to determine whether technical implementing measures are required to ensure harmonised national measures on personal data breach notifications, and if so, what form they should take.
Respondents are encouraged to provide practical examples of how they handle data breaches and notifications in the Member State(s) where they are active. The Commission also invites organisations not directly involved in the notification process, such as consumer groups, to express their views on the issues involved, even if it may not be possible to provide answers to all questions.
A recent report from TrustWave said that 90% of all card-security compromises in e-commerce during 2010 involved Level 4 merchants (the smallest of the four designations given to retailers by Visa/MasterCard – typically processing less than 20,000 e-commerce transactions per year)
The report indicated that 98% of small merchants both fail to maintain their firewalls and fail to regularly test how secure their systems are. 75% did not actually protect the payment data that they stored.
Network and data security is not a simple (or cheap) task – most small merchants simply cannot afford to maintain full time staff dedicated to system security, but without that they will always be at risk of having their systems compromised.
The best way to avoid these issues is to not actually collect or store any card details. If you do not have the information, it cannot be taken from you.
So, how do you process e-commerce transactions but not be involved in handling sensitive information?
Simply by using a hosted payment system, you can avoid any of the issues relating to card data security. All of the information capture and storage is handled by the payment gateway, and it is their responsibility to handle all of the security requirements for card processing.
Innovate Payments is a PCI DSS Level 1 certified system, and offer a fully hosted payment page solution as one of our integration methods. For details on the hosted payment pages, please see the integration guide which can be found here: