Daily news about e-commerce have become a norm in most local and international media. Hardly nowadays, a week or two passes, without reading about a major merger, acquisition or investment in an e-commerce platform. The leading e-commerce markets are China (EUR 412.7 billion), the United States (EUR 358.8), United Kingdom (EUR 84.8), Japan (EUR 94), South Korea (EUR 52.8) and Germany (51.9) - as per Euromonitor international 2016 data.
The Middle East e-commerce market is underserved and many areas are untapped, as most of e-commerce penetration is in retail. AT Kearney estimates GCC e-Commerce market to reach $20 billions by 2020.
Reports indicate that global B2B market is still maturing and most organizations are figuring out the basics of strategy and development. MENA region is not an exception, its B2B market is equally underserved. Frost & Sullivan expects total B2B e-commerce sales worldwide will reach $6.7 trillion by 2020, whereas Forrester predicts by 2019 the B2B e-commerce market will worth $1.1 trillion compared to the B2C market at $480 billions.
According to Forrester, the two areas generating most of the market growth in B2B are manufacturers and wholesalers. Mainly because manufacturers are relying on existing homegrown systems that support outdated processes, limited sales channels and not delivering the experience B2B buyers expect. While wholesalers are been rapidly impacted by changing distribution channel dynamics and redefining their business models across the broad spectrum of products and services. Both manufacturers and wholesalers have to compete beyond price and availability and deliver excellent omnichannel experiences.
During the second edition of "Buy Local Products" industry forum hosted by QDB from 25-26 July, I was pleased to be introduced to a B2B platform in supply chain management called e-emdad.com. A marketplace for industries and suppliers. The platform is catered for local industries to trade with local and international suppliers. The one-month old platform has around 10,000 products listed in its catalogue and registration is free for local industries (buyers). Suppliers will have to subscribe to the platform and enlist by agreeing to the terms and conditions of the provider with respect to pricing. The platform has an e-tendering function for industries to list their tenders and suppliers can bid online as well. Different modes of payments are applied including Letter of Credit for selected industries. There is also a function for auction where a local company can hold an auction for its equipment online and invite bidders.
The business development team of e-emdad told me they have started just a month ago and are getting good buzz from the market. Let's hope this promising startup fill the gap in B2B and scale up successfully.
There were also other good and promising B2B solutions such as Qpay International - a Qatari payment gateway, myQourse - a platform to guide working professionals on when, where and how local educational opportunities are available.