Category Archives: Dubai

E-commerce site Wadi.com Co-Founded by a Pakistani Raises $67M Funding

By | Asia, Business, Dubai, Ecommerce, Economics, Pakistan, Shopping, Startups, Web | No Comments

Wadi.com offers 150,000 products among 40 categories and 3,000 brands from around the world.

GCC based e-commerce platform Wadi.com, operated by Dubai-based Wadi International General Trading LLP, has raised $67 million (around AED 246 million) in Series A round of funding led by the Saudi based Al Tayyar Travel Group.

Wadi.com in particular is eager to be a market leader. Launched in 2015, Wadi.com is part of the Middle East Internet Group (MEIG), a joint venture between Rocket Internet and South Africa telecom provider MTN. It currently operates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, offering an assortment of more than 150,000 products from “more than 3,000 local and international brands including Apple, Samsung, Sony, Lacoste, Victoria’s Secret, Nike and Hugo Boss. The products range from watches from Hugo Boss to electronics from Apple and Samsung to motor and self-balancing scooters.

“Wadi.com has developed in an impressive way. The funding will enable us to grow further within the region and deliver exceptional service to our customers,” said Pratik Gupta, co-founder and managing director of Wadi.com. “We are proud of having raised the largest funding in tech history of the Middle East.”

“Wadi.com has a strong proven capability to adapt to the market and build a huge portfolio of products. We are confident about seeing the company growing further, especially with the cargo and logistics support our group will be offering,” said Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Dawood, managing director and CEO of the Al Tayyar Travel Group.

Series A Round Funding Investors

  • Al Tayyar Travel Group Holding Company is a Saudi joint-stock company and has invested in operations across tourist destinations such as Saudi Arabia, nations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and Canada.
  • The Middle East Internet Group (MEIG), a joint venture of Rocket Internet and MTN, is the leading Internet platform in the Middle East and supports some of the most vibrant Internet companies in the region. Founded in 2013, MEIG’s mission is to accelerate the growth and success of the Internet economy throughout the Middle East. MEIG’s network currently consists of Wadi.com, Helpling.com, Vaniday.com, Easytaxi, Lamudi.com, and Carmudi.com.

While the competition is strong, Wadi’s co-founders aim to be the leading online store for everything in the Middle East by concentrating on creating experiential transactions by offering 24-hour deliveries, an unbeatable customer experience and increased time on returns. Ex McKinsey employee and COO of Wadi, Kanwal Sarfraz, said “we felt there was a clear need for a big player like Wadi.com in the broader online retail segment. KSA and UAE are demanding markets and I think that this is a good time to meet those demands with superior service and a great fulfillment platform. Wadi’s core strength is its very talented and passionate team – we strongly believe that we have what it takes to set a new standard for this market.”

Wadi.com Founding Team

A GCC based e-commerce platform Wadi.com is co-founded by LUMS Pakistan alumna Kanwal Sarfraz former McKinsey consultant with stints at Unilever and Gallup in Pakistan, Pratik Gupta, formerly of Jabong’s founding team and Ankit Wadha, also an ex-McKinsey consultant who served clients in the Middle East.

Kanwal Sarfaraz, Co-Founder & COO

Kanwal, who studied BSc Economics with distinction from LUMS Pakistan, has been involved in entrepreneurial activities since her college days. She has completed her MPhil in Economics from the University of Cambridge in 2010, where she was awarded a Commonwealth and Noon Shared Scholarship.

As one of the Co-founders and the Chief Operating Officer of Wadi,com, Kanwal is responsible for all support functions (HR and talent acquisition, finance and business intelligence, legal and corporate), investor relations as well as broad cross-functional strategic projects (strategy and special projects). She owns the Wadi.com business plan and plays a big role in helping functional teams make the right strategic choices to ensure that the plans are met.

Prior to Wadi.com, Kanwal worked at McKinsey and Company, Dubai where she served leading GCC and Pakistani enterprises on topics of strategy and operations. She has also worked with Unilever and Gallup Pakistan and as a Teaching Assistant at LUMS Pakistan.

Improve Your Lead Generation with Online Marketing

Improve Your Lead Generation with Online Marketing

By | Business, Digital Marketing, Dubai, How To, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Mobile, Mobile Marketing, Pakistan, Reports, Search Engine Marketing, Trainings, Web | No Comments

You’re already on social sites like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter, but are you generating traffic from them? And, more importantly, are you generating leads?

Everyone loves traffic — except for the “rush hour” kind. The more eyeballs you can get on your website, the more likely you are to convert those eyeballs into leads and eventual sales.

But with over two billion Internet users worldwide, where can business owners go to find a potential population of visitors to their website? Well, you could try the top social media websites: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Facebook captures 53.4% of all total social networking site visits, with visitors spending an average of 30 minutes on the site. Google+ 22%, LinkedIn 12.5 and Twitter capture 11.4% of total social visits. Even more revealing, 50% of Facebook and LinkedIn Fans prefer brand pages to company websites.

Stats like these have left many people wondering if they really should give up their website and only focus on Facebook as their business hub.

But focusing your main web attention on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter means relying on nearly 39% of global internet users, an entity that you have no control over. Social Media can change its platform, shut down Pages (not that they would do that!), or discontinue apps on a whim, without any input from you.

Internet in the UAE

The UAE is a country located in the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south, as well as sharing sea borders with Qatar and Iran. In 2013, UAE’s total population was 9.2 million; 1.4 million Emirati citizens and 7.8 million expatriates. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a regional leader in terms of easy access and use of internet, according to a new research by The Boston Consulting Group, which also showed that easy access and use of the Internet can dramatically affect the growth of national economies and indicated that the difference between countries with low e-friction and those with high e-friction can amount to 2.5 percent of GDP. The BCG e-Friction Index highlights that the UAE and Qatar are two leaders in the MENA region with the least hurdles to Internet adoption. On a global level, the Index ranks the two countries 24 and 23, respectively, outperforming several worlds’ strong emerging economies.

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Internet access in the United Arab Emirates is quite well developed and now all Internet access services are competitively priced and unmetered due to the intense competition between service providers. Search engine market share in UAE is led by Google with 89.9% of the market, followed by Yahoo 4.42%, Ask.com 3.3% and Bing with 2.3%. The top three websites visited are Google.ae, Facebook.com and Youtube.com. Such insights can be helpful to lead generation campaigns in Dubai as a guide to how exactly social media and video marketing strategies can harness Facebook posts and music trends to promote various niche markets in UAE.

Social Networking in the UAE

There are 3.6 million Facebook users in the UAE of which 69% are male and 31% are female. There are more 22 to 30 year old Facebook members in the UAE than any other age group and they represent 44% of Facebook users, followed by the 31 to 39 year olds who represent 28%. Facebook users in the UAE generate 3.9 billion page views each month and spend an average of 30 minutes on every visit.

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Reasons why so many people prefer using Facebook – or to use it more often – than the other social media channels are interesting. Studies have highlighted that there is a strong link between offline personality portrayal and online personality, and the ones who live their lives on Facebook are extroverts with the maximum number of friends. Studies have also claimed that Facebook meets two basic social needs – firstly, the need to belong and secondly, the need for self-presentation. So, if we go by these theories, then perhaps most UAE residents are outgoing and friendly people, looking for attention of their fellow beings.

LinkedIn follows this with 9 per cent claiming to use it the most. According to the company’s own estimates, there are over nine million users in the Mena region, which includes the UAE.

People who use these channels are more professional and use it to grow their network, increase sales, for recruitment or just to source news.

After LinkedIn, six per cent of online UAE residents use Twitter and studies have shown that those who are avid users are ones interested in knowing about and participating in world events, popular culture, everyday sentiment, etc.

Study by GlobalWebIndex, showed that Google+ is mostly interesting to and used by people who work in IT, company owners or self-employed people. The study’s data shows that nearly a third of Google+ usage is tied to IT workers, it is to engineers what Facebook is to moms and Twitter is to media geeks.

Very few – just 1 percent users – say they use Pinterest. This small percentage of people is the ones who take their hobbies seriously and believe in DIY projects.

E-Commerce in the UAE

The UAE’s retail sector will see an e-commerce explosion over the next few years as local consumers become more tech-savvy, industry experts predict.

The e-commerce market in the UAE is currently valued at $2.5 billion, which is expected to touch $10 billion by 2018.

“E-commerce will be the UAE’s fastest growing business. It is expected to accelerate and create new businesses and job opportunities,” says Sarwant Singh, the head of Frost & Sullivan’s visionary innovation group. According to Singh, the reason for such increase in e-commerce is due to increased connectivity, rapid proliferation of connected devices and services and the government’s initiatives encouraging a digital lifestyle.

“Although selling online in the UAE has the lowest percentage of online purchase world wide, e-Commerce will be growing as a main megatrend for businesses across the UAE,” he said in a special interview with Gulf News on the sideline of 5th GIL 2014: Middle East, The Global Community of Growth, Innovation, and Leadership, held by Frost & Sullivan in Dubai, which held by Frost & Sullivan in Dubai earlier this year.

Research has indicated that a large number of consumers, who have yet to shop online, are using the Internet to research various product offerings and compare prices of competing brands before making a purchase. Retail e-commerce has been overshadowed in the UAE by glamorous and humungous shopping malls but experts say that it is set to pick up.

The UAE was ranked 25th in A.T. Kearney’s global retail index, a study that ranks countries on their online retail potential. According to the index, the UAE’s e-commerce industry has strong potential to grow in the next five years and rival the markets of developed countries.

Consumers choose search as their #1 in-store resource to help make purchase decisions. Google research.

  • 82% Search Engine
  • 62% Store Websites
  • 50% Brand Websites
  • 21% Store Apps
  • 20 % Deal Websites

Mobile Internet in the UAE

There are reported to be more than 16.4 million mobile phone users in the UAE, which represents a mobile penetration rate of 200%.

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This figure has reduced somewhat over the last 4 years from a more than 200% mobile penetration rate due to the rapid increase in the population due to the influx of foreign workers into an ever-expanding economy. The UAE is the first country in the Middle East to implement an LTE (long term evolution) broadband network allowing mobile broadband speeds of up to 150Gbps. This presents Internet marketers with a mobile broadband user easily able to view and download a variety of rich media content. It also suggests a high future uptake of mobile apps and add-ons that can help to spread lead generation content across fixed broadband and mobile broadband markets.

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The World Has Gone Multi Screen – Google report has revealed that the global average is nearly two Internet connected devices per person and UAE is on number four with 3.1 devices. 66% of smartphone users expect sites to work as well on their mobile as on their desktop. This means mobile-friendly sites are essential.

Internet Usage in the UAE

  • Internet Population: 4,517,169
  • GDP Per Capita: $43,876
  • Internet Advertising Market Size: $1.58 billion

Search Engine Market Share in the UAE

  • Google 89.9%
  • Yahoo 4.42%
  • com 3.3%
  • Bing 2.3%

Search Engine Market Share in the UAE

  • Mobile Users: 16.4 million

Social Media Stats of UAE

  • Facebook Users: 3,600,000
  • Twitter Users: 363,000
  • LinkedIn Users: 1,389,287

15 Most Popular Sites in the UAE

  • Google.ae
  • Facebook.com
  • Youtube.com
  • Yahoo.com
  • Dubizzle.com
  • Linkedin.com
  • Wikipedia.org
  • MSN-Uae.com
  • Twitter.com
  • Souq.com
  • 24.ae
  • Amazon.com
  • Gulfnews.com
  • Instagram.com
  • Pinterest.com

Create More and Better Quality Sales Leads

The term “sales lead” has a cornucopia of definitions. Definitions vary between companies, and the “sales funnel” can look different for different niches.

In general, a lead is defined as someone who has an interest in your product and has the authority to purchase your product. A lead is not just a Facebook ‘Like’ since someone who likes your page may not have the authority or means to actually purchase your product. Before someone can purchase from you, they must also have a need for your product.

They may be interested in your product and have the means to purchase it, but they may not need it at this time. For instance, they may already have a similar product or they could be hesitant to change their current processes. That’s why a lead is so important!

How to Capture Leads From Social Media and Internet Marketing

Now that we have an established definition of a lead, let us dive into how to start generating these sales leads from Facebook.

You can generate leads from social media in one of two ways:

  • Direct Leads
  • Indirect Leads

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Social Media Strategy to Generate More Leads

  • Utilize multiple social media channels
  • Develop a social media strategy
  • Do your research
  • Contribute Quality Content creation
  • Engage with others online
  • Cross promote
  • Measuring Your Traffic; Use Analytics
  • Search Engine Optimization of web, posts and adverts.
  • Listen to existing users
  • Interact with existing users
  • Contribute Quality Content
  • Use targeted landing pages for each campaign or focus
  • Implement Strong, Clear Calls to Action
  • Measure Conversions

TIP: Do NOT share product info, free trials or anything that directly talks about what you are selling. People will see right through this and your credibility will undermined.

Digital Marketing Industry in the UAE

Digital Marketing Industry in the UAE

By | Agencies, Asia, Business, Business Apps, Digital Marketing, Dubai, Marketing, Mobile, Startups, Technology, Web | No Comments

The GCC is a region of great opportunity; it is also fiercely competitive. Battles are increasingly fought on digital terrain and any company seeking leverage over competitors must enlist the help of a digital agency to mount that challenge.

In the digital marketing industry, technology has been evolving at the speed of light. The jump from Mad Men-era advertising tactics to today’s high tech digital marketing is like moving from the Lunar Lander to the Start-ship Enterprise. The modern day marketing crew has new roles, new duties, and new worlds of marketing possibilities to explore – new tools and technology to do it with. Let’s take a look.

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The Rise of New marketing tools in UAE

  • Websites
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Advanced Analytics
  • Marketing Automation
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Google AdWords
  • Pay Per Click

Size of the Digital Marketing Industry in UAE

There are over 227 web designs and online marketing agencies operating business in GCC; there are 100+ digital agencies in the UAE alone. While there is some overlap in the types of services provided, most firms have developed their own market niches. Firms tend to become well known and recognized for their skills in a specific area such as web design and development, internet marketing, search engine optimization, design, software development, trainings, social media optimization or in a specific industry such as Government, Banking, Comm. and Tech, Hospitality, F&B, Health & Fitness, Publications, Radio, TV, Education, Real Estate, Events and SMEs.

Key selling Digital Services in the UAE

Digital Marketing is a very diverse industry. There are several of different services that agencies provide to all industries and industry sectors.

  • Web Development
  • Mobile Apps Development
  • Business Applications
  • Video
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media Management
  • PPC Management
  • Content

Key Market Segments

Key market segments vary by agency specialty. The key markets for digital marketing are Government, Banking, Comm. and Tech, Hospitality, F&B, Health & Fitness, Publications, Radio, TV, Education, Real Estate, Events and SMEs. The total size of these markets is unknown because they are continually changing and there are no tracking mechanisms in place to accurately determine how much these market segments spend on digital marketing annually.

Business Process and Buying Criteria

The buying process for digital agencies varies by type of client and by type of service. Businesses find and chose digital agencies using several methods.

  • Referral
  • Request for Proposal
  • Open Bidding System (OBS)

Description of Digital Agency Industry Participants in the UAE

Digital Agencies are divided into large firms with more than 100 employees, medium sized firms with 20 to 100 employees and small firms with less than 20 employees. The large digital agencies are usually Asian; European or US based digital marketing agencies and include Digitas Lbi, Traffic Online, MBLM, Xische, Alifmeem Digital, Digital Nexa and LMTD. Small agencies typically have less than 15 employees.

Key Industry Trends

The digital marketing industry in UAE is growing for two key reasons. One is that demand for online marketing services is increasing as companies downsize and contract out work that was historically done in-house. Corporate downsizing has also resulted in many managers being laid off. It is difficult for many of these people to find similar employment and as a result, many of these managers start their own businesses. Approximately 10% become consultants, many providing freelance services to the firms they just left. Those who start other types of businesses may require specialized digital consulting services to improve their chances of success. Therefore corporate downsizing has resulted in an increase both in the supply of, and demand for, digital marketing services. The number of business starts in UAE has risen 20% annually over the last three years.

Distribution of Worldwide Internet Audience  The US is no Longer the Center of the Online Universe (Southeast Asia Digital Future in Focus 2013 report)

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Market Data

  • GCC Internet users as of 30 June 2012
    • Saudi Arabia – 13 million internet users
    • United Arab Emirates – 5.8 million internet users
    • 69% Males
    • 31% Females
    • Oman – 2.1 million internet users
    • Kuwait – 1.9 million internet users
    • Qatar – 1.6 million internet users
    • Bahrain – .9 million internet users

GCC Review

  • Digital marketing in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is experiencing tremendous growth, according to an Econsultancy report, which has found that 58% of marketers are increasing their digital marketing budgets in 2015.
  • Global average of Smartphone penetration is 41% with the highest is 74% in UAE. –Google report
  • UAE is world’s smartphone leader.3 in 4 people in the United Arab Emirates own a smartphone. The UAE tops the list of countries with the highest smartphone penetration ahead of South Korea and Saudi Arabia. The United States is ranked 13th with a penetration rate of 56 percent.
  • UAE dominates the online travel market in the Middle East, with a 60% market share –Report from PhoCusWright
  • 6 million active Facebook users in the UAE –UAE Social Media Report
  • 363,000 active Twitter users in the UAE –UAE Social Media Report
  • $ 1,048 Avg. Online spending by UAE consumers (annually) –UAE Social Media Brands Report
  • AED 50,000 Avg. Social media spending by UAE firms (annually) –UAE Social Media Brands Report
  • In 2013, 58% of companies in the Middle East claimed to be planning an increase their digital market budgets, of which 52% are planning a budget, increase of at least 20%.
  • An average of 60% of companies in the Middle East makes use of off-site social media and SEO (search engine optimization). This means that 6 out of 10 companies in the Middle East know what their target audience is searching for on the web!
  • 98% of consumers in the Middle East are using Facebook as compared to 82% of companies in the region. This means that almost 10 out 10 consumers are listening on Facebook while only 8 out of 10 companies are speaking on Facebook.
  • GCC countries dominant the top five Arab Facebook users as percentage of population, while the UAE remains at the top of the Arab region, followed by Kuwait, Qatar, Lebanon and Jordan respectively.
  • The total number of active Twitter users in the Arab world reached 5,797,500 users as of March 2014.
  • In March 2014, the number of tweets estimated in the Arab region by active users was 533,165,900 tweets, an average of 17,198,900 tweets per day. 88% of these tweets were generated by Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Bahrain.
  • YouTube playbacks have doubled in the last year in the Arab region with 168 million video views a day, putting the region in the number two spot in the world.
Do you want more traffic and leads?

Alif Meem: Ideas Agency of the Digital Age

By | Agencies, Asia, Branding, Business, Business Apps, Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Dubai, Email Marketing, Houston, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Mobile, Mobile Marketing, Online Reputation Management, Pakistan, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Social Media, Startups, Technology, Trainings, Web | No Comments

We’re Alif Meem Digital, creative and online marketing agency for the digital age. Based in Dubai, UAE.

Alif Meem is a digital marketing agency that strives to create great products through creative design and efficient development. Making digital experiences happen for governments, businesses, brands and startupsalifmeem-digital-marketing-agency-in-dubai-uae.

We design and develop digital experiences that transform brands and startups alike enabling them to realize their potential across web, mobile and digital.Alif Meem online marketing specializes in the real estate, educational, free zone, and hospitality sectors. We understand that B2B and B2C online marketing needs to be integrated with traditional and online channels, drive sales and deliver results because it’s all about getting top line revenues with high quality return-on-investment.

We connect ideas, design and technology to build your business better.

Alif Meem Digital Marketing Agency provides affordable, results-driven online marketing services; our expertise includes Website design and development, Mobile apps development, Social Media marketing, Design, Software development, SEO, PPC, PR, Blogging, and more. Just tell us what your needs entail, and we’ll get to work pronto. The last thing we want to do is waste your time or money, so we don’t get paid unless you get results—and we mean it!

Alif Meem Digital combines local expertise and global resources. We enjoy what we do, we have fun, and we like meeting people and making friends along the way. Whatever your digital media challenges, we can meet it.

OUR VISION

  • We envision the UAE as a premier global location for business growth and a leader in digital marketing industry in the GCC.

OUR MISSION

  • To become a GCC’s leading business focused and idea driven digital agency by creating greater intimacy between people and brands through technology.

VALUES

  • Creating Value Together

OUR PROCESS

We equip your business for success

  • Strategy
  • Design
  • Branding
  • Development

OUR SERVICES & SOLUTIONS

We help brands and causes thrive in a digital world

  • Business Applications Development
  • Financial Applications Development (Internet Banking)
  • Web Design and Development
  • Mobile Apps Development
  • Online Marketing
  • Branding

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OUR CLIENTS

They already trust us

  • Konica Minolta
  • Dubai Islamic Bank
  • Government of Dubai
  • DMCC Free Zone
  • ENOC
  • Emaar
  • Carrefour
  • IFFCO
  • International Labor Organization
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Dubai Diamond Conference (DMCC)
  • UAE Gold Bullion Coins (DMCC)

Alif Meem Digital Marketing Agency: your one-stop solution to all your online marketing needs. For details contact us today at +971 4 3555 234 or visit our website: www.alifmeem.com

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