cCommerce (connected commerce) could eventually serve up to 40% of Middle East and Africa’s (Mena) $1 trillion retail market, says Zbooni, Mena’s leading cCommerce platform, in a white paper.

Research suggests cCommerce could serve more than 20 million micro, small and medium-size enterprises.

The report was compiled with insights from leading brands such as Chalhoub Group, and TikTok.

cCommerce takes place via social, chat and messaging apps like WhatsApp, providing physical stores and online brands with a way of turning real-time conversations into converted sales. Businesses can sell more by bringing the check-out experience to the channels that customers prefer and use every day.

Retail transformation

Ramy Assaf, CEO and co-founder of Zbooni said: “We are at the cusp of an exciting retail transformation built around personalised selling. cCommerce has the potential to serve businesses across a wide variety of industries, whether they are brick-and-mortar, online-only or omnichannel. Wherever there is an interaction before a transaction, cCommerce can help.

“Mena missed the initial wave of eCommerce and has been playing catch-up, but the region is geared-up to take full advantage of cCommerce. Most people in Mena use social and chat apps frequently every day, and cCommerce is a natural evolution towards shopping in the same way we chat with friends.

“For businesses, it opens a whole new avenue for engaging customers and maximising sales. In this way, cCommerce could quickly surpass eCommerce, as the region’s preferred way of retailing.”

Sales conversion rate

The report focuses on the opportunity for cCommerce to connect businesses with customers, both online and offline. Zbooni collated proprietary data which suggests cCommerce has a sales conversion rate of more than 80%, which is significantly higher than ecommerce marketplaces which tend to convert under 3% of prospective sales.

Other key findings

*Social time - Individuals in MEA are spending an average of 3.5 hours on social media every day (Source – GWI);

*Discovery and inspiration - 67% of TikTok users believe it has inspired them to shop, even when they weren’t looking to do so (Source - TikTok);

*Buying online - 20% of shoppers say they now shop most frequently online within a social media app (Source –; and

*Reducing returns - Mena cCommerce returns and refunds average just 0.42%, compared to 30% return rate via eCommerce (Source - Zbooni).

Reducing sales friction

cCommerce connects a merchant directly with the customer, and through human-to-human conversation an enhanced sales experience can be delivered and customer expectations met.

This in turn helps to reduce sales friction, increase conversion and customer lifetime value, whilst reducing potential returns and refunds.

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