Video Credit: Video by Sonia Shah

Highlights

  • Network International’s N-Genius Online to revolutionise how businesses manage and accept payments in the Middle East & Africa (MEA).

Home-grown success stories and international players abound among the Middle East's fast-growing e-commerce market. The arrival of Noon and Amazon about two years ago has significantly boosted the sector.

Today, competition in the region’s e-commerce market continues to grow as several home-grown brands push beyond brick-and-mortar operations to invest in stand-alone online shopping platforms.

Booming market

“The Middle East and Africa offers immense potential for e-commerce growth, with online sales in the region expected to reach $80 billion (Dh293.8 billion) in 2022,” says Samer Soliman, Middle East Managing Director of the UAE-based payment solutions provider Network International. The company is the leading enabler of digital commerce in the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

Network_new
Today’s consumers want to pay quickly, easily and securely, using the payment methods they prefer Image Credit: Supplied

In many ways, online shopping is a natural fit for the region which boasts rising levels of income and a developed transport and logistics infrastructure.

“The region has very attractive growth demographics including increasing internet and social media penetration levels, a growing tech-savvy youth population, significant spending potential owing to a high per capita income and a large middle-class population,” explains Soliman.

The Middle East and Africa offers immense potential for e-commerce growth, with online sales in the region expected to reach $80 billion in 2022.

- Samer Soliman, Middle East Managing Director, Network International

Customer experience

As e-commerce in the region comes of age, customer experience has become critical. The availability of numerous digital platforms means customers are living in an economy of experience where quality and speed are a priority.

Today’s consumers want to pay quickly, easily and securely, using the payment methods they prefer. The right payment strategy can optimise customer experience to deliver competitive advantage and enhance customer loyalty.

“Businesses have come to the realisation that competing on price and product is not always sustainable and that personalised experience can act as the biggest differentiator,” says Soliman. “A positive payment experience is central to the purchasing journey and there are three key factors to a memorable customer experience: seamless payments, convenience and safety.”

Network new
As part of plans to boost e-commerce acceptance in the region, Network International has launched a multi-million-dollar cloud-based online payment gateway Image Credit: Shutterstock

State-of-the-art payment gateway

As part of plans to boost e-commerce acceptance in the region, Network International has launched a multi-million-dollar cloud-based online payment gateway. Built for seamless, speedy and scalable trading to keep up with the changing payment landscape, N-Genius™ Online will be a game changer, says Soliman.

“Customers today expect smarter technology-driven payment experiences and that’s where a gateway like N-Genius™ can help businesses,” he explains. “Using N-Genius™ Online will lead to improved security and trust, enable omnichannel retailing so shoppers can move between offline and digital channels without their experience being interrupted and it can also reduce friction and time spent at checkout.”

Delivering a state-of-the-art acceptance platform to the payment ecosystem is key to our role of supporting accelerated ecommerce growth in the region.

- David Adams, SVP, E-Commerce and Digital Products, Network International

The company’s new cloud-based payment gateway has been developed in the UAE to global best practice standards that respond to regional requirements such as multilingual, multi-currency and white label-branding capabilities for clients across the Middle East and Africa.

“Delivering a state-of-the-art acceptance platform to the payment ecosystem is key to our role of supporting accelerated ecommerce growth in the region,” says David Adams, SVP, E-Commerce and Digital Products, Network International.

So how will N-Genius™ Online offer merchants and consumers a seamless and secure payment experience across both online and in-store channels?

“When consumers deal with merchants across channels they expect a connected experience, whether that is branding, convenience, payment options or security,” says Adams. “N-Genius™ Online provides both merchants and customers a seamless, omnichannel experience. It is feature-rich for self-serve, reporting and tokenisation.”

Cart abandonment

According to research by UK-based global behavioural marketing company SalesCycle, the average global cart abandonment rate in the third quarter of 2018 was 76.9 per cent. Rightly or wrongly, the payment experience is often blamed for that abandonment.

Technical glitches, complex checkout processes, a lack of familiar payment methods, security concerns and processing lag times are all certainly issues that put consumers off.

“A key factor in reducing basket abandonment is frictionless checkout,” says Adams. “N-Genius™ Online offers merchants a range of secure payment integration options, which allows them to make the payment process seamlessly fit into the shopping and checkout experience. Merchants can also customise with their own branding, logos and colours so consumers do not feel like they are being passed on to a third party to submit payment details.”

Another key factor in reducing cart abandonment rates is tailoring the shopping experience to the consumer’s device. “N-Genius™ Online was designed with mobile first as a principle, which offers consumers a sleek and streamlined payment journey that is fully mobile responsive,” says Adams.

Network_new_2019
N-Genius™ Online offers merchants and consumers a seamless and secure payment experience across both online and in-store channels Image Credit: Supplied

Security issues

Striking a balance between frictionless customer experience and strong security is another challenge for e-commerce players, something that N-Genius™ Online aims to tackle.

“Security is at the heart of the N-Genius™ offering, and the gateway incorporates the latest payment card industry software and end-to-end encryption, offering business and customers the highest level of protection,” says Adams.

Our solution is also fully customisable to suit the requirements of businesses of all sizes and industry, while keeping pace with the region’s evolving ecommerce sector and changing payment trends.

“The most remarkable aspect of N-Genius™ Online is that it is our proprietary solution which has been developed based on our in-depth knowledge of the region’s payment needs,” explains Adams. “It incorporates state-of-the-art cloud-based technology, which allows us to rapidly develop and deliver new features offering both merchants and consumers a broader range of preference and choice.”

Soliman believes the new payment gateway will revolutionise the payment experience in the region for merchants and support the e-commerce sector.

“We have built on our 25 years of payment experience in the Middle East and Africa to create a gateway that is purpose-built for the region. It delivers advanced performance, security and scalability across both online and in-store channels, making it the best choice for merchants in the region.”