Middle East adapts to e-commerce

Consumers in the region are not using the internet to make purchases, but are instead going online after buying to discover more about their purchase, Fujitsu Siemens Computers has revealed.

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By  Alex Malouf Published  June 2, 2004

Shopping trends in the region are yet to take account of e-commerce with consumers still preferring to go out and buy the product from retail outlets, Fujitsu Siemens Computers asserts. While traditional habits are not noticeably changing, consumers are taking advantage of the internet to learn more about products. “People are still shopping in the old-fashioned way, going out and looking at merchandise,” says Farid Sabbagh, channel manager at Fujitsu Siemens Computers. “Many shoppers here actually go and look on the internet after they buy, which is very different to what is done in Europe and the US.” “There are two reasons why consumers are taking up such habits,” adds Sabbagh. “The first is that they don’t know if what they find on the web is available here in the Middle East. And then they don’t want to buy off the net, as they prefer to go to the market and check the pricing. After consumers return home, they go to the website and see what the product can do.” From his experience in the industry Sabbagh claims that only a small number of customers use the internet to make purchases. Of those who do go down this route, they often contact the vendor to inquire about product availability. The computer industry in the Middle East could do much more for consumers who are deciding which vendor’s products they should buy. While many companies have regional websites to inform potential buyers, as does Fujitsu Siemens Computers, others leave customers guessing by having a site which is European-oriented and does not cater to the needs of the Middle East.

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