Nobody can predict exactly what technology will mean for the future. However, we can expect a lot of opportunities for both men and women. As technology is changing business-to-consumer transactions it's interesting to see how "women are increasingly more reliant on the Internet to make purchases, while men still prefer brick-and-mortar", highlights a 2018 report from First Insight.
In fascinating contrast, on the "running-the-business" side of this sector, it is not uncommon for a female entrepreneur to not receive funding for an e-commerce business idea because "investors simply presume that the women founders don't have technical knowledge" as stated Boston Consulting Group's study, Why Women-Owned Startups are a Better Bet.
Here is another interesting point reported by First Insight, "women have fuelled a demand for better mobile apps. Forty per cent of women report frequently using their phones to shop, compared with just 22 per cent on men". So, what does all this translate into for women entrepreneurs who want to dip their feet, and manicured nails, in e-commerce? In one word, opportunity.
The article, E-Commerce Industry Creating a World of Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs, presents a compelling point: "women are born multitaskers" and the "minimum investment, maximum profit" model in e-commerce business is apt for women entrepreneurs to start their businesses while working from the comfort of their homes'.
Global Media Insight reports that the "e-commerce market in UAE has witnessed a substantial increase during the period 2014 to 2018. In fact, from just $2.5 billion in 2014, the e-commerce market in the UAE is projected to reach $10 billion in 2018". Online regional payment platform PayFort reports that "the UAE's $27 billion e-commerce market and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's $22 billion market, will be the two largest markets dominating the region by 2020".
The proliferation of mobile and Internet technology has been a "major contributing factor towards the growth of e-commerce in the country", according to Global Media Insight. Hootsuite, in a recent report, reveals that "the UAE has the world's highest social media penetration". This is a great opportunity for women entrepreneurs to identify new business opportunities and find sales leads online for building a sustainable business.
Talking about the rapidly-growing number of women entrepreneurs in India's e-commerce landscape, E-Commerce Industry Creating a World of Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs reveals that "several women are also taking complete advantage of social media platforms to boost their sales numbers and build a strong customer base".
The global popularity of e-commerce has, quite literally, brought the world to the doorstep of entrepreneurs. Consumers are embracing and therefore driving the demand for products from all over the world. This trend offers lucrative growth opportunities for e-commerce entrepreneurs. This is immensely promising for women e-commerce business owners who may not have the resources or flexibility to take their products or offerings outside the country.
As stated in the 2018 UAE Ecommerce Market Trends & Development Platforms by Global Media Insight, "businesses in the UAE are supported by a host of efficient and modern infrastructural and technical implementations that facilitate trade, transactions and deliveries". Also, "2017 was a big year for e-commerce in the UAE. Amazon bought Souq.com, the biggest e-commerce brand in the country and Emaar Properties launched Noon, an all-new $1 billion ecommerce venture. In addition to these, a slew of other FDIs and startups in the e-commerce have also contributed significantly to the growth of e-commerce in the country".
The UAE is a country that highly encourages entrepreneurship and startups especially that are founded by women. A growing e-commerce sector, business-friendly policies, a sound gender-equality agenda, and a progressive government comes together to offer a fertile ecosystem for women entrepreneurs to set up and run successful e-commerce businesses.
Additionally, there are many other advantages that e-commerce presents for entrepreneurs. With consumers becoming more comfortable finding products they need from the comfort of their homes - by using their mobile devices - brands will need to be able to cut through this noise and reach directly to the consumer, engage, and provide valuable features to set themselves apart.
And with technology rapidly developing and becoming more accessible, brands need to grow past their comfort zone as today's consumer requires more attention and services at their fingertips. That being said, there is plenty of opportunity for improvement and expand available products and services catering to different consumer needs, after all e-commerce is not a "one-size-fits-all" business model. this presents a business platform that constantly seeks evolved and unique e-commerce models for entrepreneurs to develop and explore.
The writer is founder and CEO of Stars Dome Realty and new-venture CEO of Mall.Global. Views expressed are her own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.
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