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Time to ditch the Ramadan cliches, by OMG Transact’s Farah Basmaji

To be successful, e-tailers must embrace new ways to commerce, says OMG Transact’s Farah Basmaji.

By Farah Basmaji, executive at OMG Transact, the e-commerce agency of Omnicom Media Group

Ramadan is more than a moment. It’s a crucial season in brands’ calendars as well as consumers’. Allocating close to 40 per cent of their advertising budgets, the region’s retailers scramble to increase their volume or revenue share in those four weeks.

Yet, e-commerce advertising and media during the Holy Month often rely on traditional recipes and content, ignoring the latest trends in consumer shopping behaviour.

When Covid-19 pushed consumers and businesses to transact online, retailers had to adopt and adapt their online consumer acquisition strategies accordingly.

As Ramadan and Black Friday account for about 40 per cent of MENA’s e-tail, consumers, brands and platforms are starting to tailor their media behaviours and content strategies to each season. With this accelerating change, e-commerce consumer acquisition tactics need to embrace a number of trends and innovations to truly deliver on ROI.

This Ramadan, for example, we will see many advertisers deploying a mobile-first/app-first strategy. Here are some of the more advanced e-commerce marketing approaches brands can deploy to succeed this year.

1. Personalise communication

In today’s world, one size does not fit all. If brands want to capture people’s attention, they have to relate to them and their needs. With the benefit of adtech, brands can associate their products with specific keywords or target customer look-alikes and/or their competitors’ customers. Many players in the market now are offering adtech-based on-site solutions to cater to this demand.

2. Build online community with live commerce

With more than 60 per cent of online shoppers planning on increasing their spending across all sectors this upcoming Ramadan, brands must adapt to capitalise on the opportunities brought forth by having live commerce with their online community. Building an online community (usually via live influencer sessions) will keep followers updated about the newly available products. Promos that link to purchase directly from the e-commerce platform will encourage transactions. In Ramadan 2022, we expect more than 30 per cent of consumers will make last-minute impulse purchases online. Surprisingly, sales at 4am during Ramadan are 17 per cent higher than on an average day.

3. Collaborative ads and shops

This performance-marketing format enables brands that don’t have their e-commerce-enabled website to activate prospecting and remarketing campaigns in collaboration with leading retailers in the region like Noon, Carrefour, Tmart, etc. The brands can target audiences on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat and drive them seamlessly to the point of purchase or facilitate the discovery of new products. PepsiCo’s Collaborative Ads boosted their e-commerce sales in Thailand, resulting in a 3.7 per cent increase in return on ad spend. What’s more, 28 per cent of people who viewed PepsiCo’s products on the retailer’s platform (Lazada) added those products to their cart.

4. Building a relationship with conversational commerce

Conversational commerce leverages communication channels such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Live Chat solutions to engage with consumers on a deeper level. This approach drives them through the funnel to purchase using AI or chatbot-powered tools and trained customer service agents. If done right, the results are immediate and phenomenal.

5. ‘Explore Now’ through shoppable media

Shoppable media formats in display and social media are set to become the fastest-growing advertising category. Shoppable media formats enable users to engage directly with the display or video advertisement and seamlessly add the advertised products to baskets. This reduces friction and shortens the path to purchase. Various brands leverage shoppable media solutions to create landing pages. Technology solutions like Adimo allow brands to launch shoppable commerce media with speed and accuracy.

Booming e-commerce, combined with a sense of optimism in 2022 in the Middle East, should deliver a positive Ramadan for consumers, platforms, and retailers alike. This Ramadan, online sales are projected to reach $2bn in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. By connecting experiences, such as social commerce and conversational commerce, linking discovery and purchase through targeted ads and collab ads, and joining voices in live commerce, brands will engage at a deeper level with consumers and create a winning advantage.

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