In 2019, the quest for enhancing consumer experience drove brands across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to fully dedicate themselves to their consumers, building and maintaining their trust. Businesses continued to place their customers at the heart of everything they do. Brands that invested in serving relevant and personalised communications, products, and services emerged victorious, with higher brand awareness, higher customer retention, and even higher customer satisfaction rates.
As we enter 2020, we expect trends like messaging, ever-evolving technologies like AR and VR, and personalisation to further shape the consumer experience. In order to go the extra mile to meet people where they are and provide them with most favourable experiences, businesses in the MENA region can prepare by adopting new strategies and marketing tools to capture attention, improve customer support and drives business results.
Connect with Customers via Chat
Messaging is how people communicate with their friends and family, and now, people expect that same ease and speed of communication with businesses. From scheduling an appointment to inquiring about store hours or getting personalised shopping advice, people turn to chat to make connecting with a business seamless. And, as this convenience factor becomes increasingly important to today’s consumers, businesses have an opportunity to enhance customer service and turn interested shoppers and buyers.
In order to build an effective messaging experience for your business, try to anticipate what people will want to talk to you about and consider how you can express your brand’s personality throughout the conversation. It’s important to respond to customer messages as soon as possible, ideally within a few hours. And to help keep up with conversations at scale, consider using automated tools like Instant Replies or Saved Replies on Messenger to answer commonly asked questions and requests in just one tap. You can also explore building a more advanced messaging experience for your customers through a messaging bot.
Experiment with Immersive Experiences
Face filters and animated stories have made AR a part of everyday communication and VR is on the rise. But these new technologies aren’t just for consumers, they also provide opportunities for businesses to create more immersive shopping experiences for customers. So, as you’re planning for 2020, consider how AR and VR can help you engage shoppers and reach your business goals.
AR and VR can combine the convenience of shopping online with the confidence that comes from trying products in stores. This can help move people through the shopping journey by enabling them to visualise and experience products before making a purchase. For example, beauty brands can create AR experiences to let people try on makeup and see how it looks before checking out. And travel businesses can experiment with VR to create more immersive experiences that let people check out a destination and get inspired to book their next trip.
So, to keep up with consumers, experiment with how your business can use AR and VR to capture attention and drive customers from consideration to purchase.
Focus on Personalisation
Today’s consumers, especially Gen Z and Millennials, have come to expect highly personalised experiences online. And as the expectation for relevant content rises, it includes content from businesses as well. To deliver content that resonates with your target audience, start by focusing on the format that works best for them.
Consider what you know about your audience, like their age, gender, or a common hobby and leverage that information to make your ads feel more relevant to them.
And as always, remember to test and measure the results of different ad versions and brand experiences to see what resonates with your audience and works best for your business.
Leverage Seasonal Moments
Celebrating key moments will always bring you closer to your audience. Try tying your ad campaigns to cultural moments like sporting events or holidays to reach people when they’re highly engaged with something, they’re passionate about. There are three key moments that you will want to leverage this year across this region.
The first seasonal moment starting in April 2020 is Ramadan, which is observed by over 2 billion people all over the world. It is all about giving back to the people and causes you to care. Ramadan is the longest seasonal community moment, at over six weeks from preparation to Eid, which would make it the perfect opportunity for you to build closer and more meaningful relationships with your audience. Providing relevant content that serve the needs of the community over the period will be very effective as a general strategy.
Another major event to plan for is Expo 2020 that opens its doors in October 2020 in Dubai. This event is a source of pride for everyone residing in the region, so expressing your involvement or participation and celebrating this historical moment would help you engage with your audiences who feel the same exact way.
Lastly, White Friday, the Middle Eastern equivalent of Black Friday in the United States that takes place in November, is a much-anticipated seasonal moment to capitalise on as well. White Friday is a discount-heavy window for retailers in the Middle East, especially the ones newly investing in their online platforms. While interactive stories ads might be an effective way to connect with teens, a guided shopping experience in Messenger could be better suited to help adults select gifts during this time.
The new year will be the year of opportunities and unparalleled experiences for consumers in the MENA region and across the globe. For businesses to achieve their goals and to engage with their audiences more effectively, it is absolutely mandatory for them to enable meaningful social interaction in 2020. Leveraging emerging and continuously evolving technologies like AR and VR as well as utilising all the data you have about your own customers personalising their journey will boost the success of your business and satisfy your audiences like never before. Whether you are a brand, developer, or content creator in the MENA region, the ability to adapt to rapidly-evolving technologies while developing new marketing strategies is paramount to appealing to consumers in the region; capturing their attention, personalising their journey, and creating memorable experiences for them.
Ramez Shehadi, Managing Director for Middle East & North Africa, Facebook