Fatima Ghamdi: The e-commerce industry became one of the fastest growing sectors of the global economy

The popularity of global online e-stores has increased significantly in recent years. Online e-stores have generated e-commerce growth in many economies around the world. A great number of consumers are resorting to online shopping for easy access, good prices, and various products.

Entrepreneurship conducted an interview with Fatima Nasser Al-Ghamdi, Counsellor and trainer to delve deeper into the global online e-stores. Al-Ghamdi is a specialized consultant in electronic commerce, setting up projects and entrepreneurship for several government entities and private companies. She is also the owner of Electronic Services Digital Stores and Drop Shipping.

What caught your attention for E-commerce?

The business world has undergone a major shift towards e-commerce. More consumers are turning to online shopping for convenience and easy access resulting in the success of many online stores. This has revolutionized the way people do shopping. The importance of capital and efficient marketing strategies in the e-commerce industry cannot be underestimated. Using appropriate resources, entrepreneurs can create successful online businesses in Saudi Arabia. Women in the Kingdom are increasingly becoming entrepreneurs and receiving support from the government to create their own businesses.

What are the factors that have contributed to e-commerce?

The e-commerce industry has seen significant growth in recent years, becoming one of the fastest growing sectors of the global economy. There are many factors that have contributed to the rapid growth, including the increasing use of the Internet, the widespread availability of smartphones, and the simplicity in online shopping and accessibility.

A key factor for the success of the e-store business is the ability to provide customers with a seamless and enjoyable online shopping experience. This can be achieved by offering a wide range of products, competitive prices, fast and flexible shipping options, as well as a variety of payment methods.

What are the factors that have contributed to the success of e-commerce in comparison to traditional stores?

One of the factors for e-commerce success is the ability to reach customers around the world- e-commerce companies have a potentially larger customer base than traditional stores.

Another factor is the ability of e-commerce to leverage technology to streamline processes and improve efficiency. This includes using advanced analytics to gain insights about customer behavior and inventory management systems in order to improve inventory levels and automated order processing and shipping systems.

Hence, successful e-stores must be able to adapt rapidly to changing market trends and consumer preferences. This requires a commitment to continuous innovation and a willingness to try new products, services, and shopping strategies including:

Suitability: One of the advantages of e-commerce is its suitability to customer requirements.

Large-scale product selection: it offers a wide range of products compared to traditional stores because it’s not limited to physical space. This means that customers can find what they are looking for easily.

Competitive prices: Electronic stores are often able to offer lower prices than traditional stores, due to their low general costs (such as rent and employment).

Fast and flexible shipping: Customers expect fast and flexible shipping options, and businesses are able to meet these expectations successfully.

User-friendly website and mobile app: Stores need to invest in a user-friendly website and mobile app that makes it easy for customers to find what they are looking for.

Effective marketing: businesses need an effective marketing strategy.

What is your take on Amazon or Alibaba?

Amazon and Alibaba are two of the world’s most successful e-commerce stores, but they have different business models, markets, and strategies. Amazon is an American company that sells a wide range of products directly to consumers, while Alibaba is a Chinese company that connects buyers and sellers through an online marketplace platform. Both companies have strong brand recognition, wide product selection, competitive prices, innovative technology, and excellent customer service which contributed to their success. So it’s hard to identify the most successful company because Amazon is more established and diverse, while Alibaba has seen faster growth in recent years and enjoys a dominant position in the Chinese market.

How far is the progress of e-commerce in Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia has seen significant growth in the e-commerce sector. The Kingdom is expected to record an annual growth rate of 25% from 2020 to 2025. This growth is driven by factors such as the young and technologically experienced population, the widespread of smartphones and the Internet, and government initiatives to support the digital economy. Saudi Arabia has also launched a national e-commerce strategy to support the sector’s growth. However, the Kingdom has to address some challenges such as improving logistics, and payment infrastructure, enhancing cybersecurity, raising awareness, and encouraging SMEs to adopt e-commerce.

Many entrepreneurs want to start online stores. What steps should they follow?

To start an online store, entrepreneurs can follow the following steps:

  • Choose a particular type of product, targeted audience or unique sale offer to focus on.
  • Select a system to create the online store.
  • Customize the appearance of the store by choosing the domain name, theme, and product pages.
  • Find suppliers or create products or drop shipping from other manufacturers to get goods for sale
  • Set up a secure payment system and shipping options.
  • Advertise the store using social media, email or paid ads to attract customers.
  • Monitor sales data and improve the store to improve customer experience and increase sales.

By following these steps and focusing on customers, entrepreneurs can create a successful online store.

What is the best e-commerce platform in the world? 

There are many successful stores around the world, and it’s hard to say which is one is “the best”. Some examples include:

  • Amazon is one of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, offering a wide range of products and services including books, electronics, fashion, and more.
  • Alibaba is a Chinese e-commerce company that operates a variety of platforms, including Taobao and Tmall. It is known for its focus on B2B and B2C transactions, as well as its innovative approach to logistics management.
  • eBay is an American platform specializing in auctions and selling used items. It is known for its easy-to-use interface, flexible payment options, and a large community of sellers and buyers.
  • Shopify is a Canadian platform that enables entrepreneurs to start and manage their own online stores. It is known for its easy-to-use interface, powerful customization and optimization tools, and an extensive network of mergers and applications.

What is the importance of capital for e-stores?

Capital is important for the e-commerce store due to the following reasons:

  • Inventory: Stores need to provide a lot of products. Hence, they need capital to buy the products in advance and get discounts from suppliers.
  • Marketing: Stores need to invest in marketing to be noticed online, and this requires money.
  • Technology: Stores need different technologies to operate which makes the financial investment necessary.
  • Customer service: Stores need a dedicated customer service team. Thus salaries and training are important.
  • Expansion: Having enough capital is essential for an e-commerce store to expand what it offers, enter new markets, or launch new products.

How effective is marketing to e-stores?

Good marketing is critical to attracting customers and generating massive sales. Effective marketing strategies for e-commerce stores include enhancing SEO, PPC, social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, and influential marketing campaigns. Using a combination of these strategies can help e-stores to boost traffic to the website and raise brand awareness. It is important to test and improve these strategies over time to ensure that they yield a positive return on investment.

How is Saudi Arabia supporting women in the business sector?

Saudi Arabia is keen to support economic and social growth through women’s empowerment in the business sector. The importance of supporting women in the business sector includes:

Increasing women’s participation in the economy: Women contribute to increasing GDP proportion, which in turn contributes to creating new jobs and diversifying sources of income in society.

Social challenge: Supporting women in business helps to eliminate women’s traditional image, build their confidence and develop their abilities

Improving the standard of living: Working women can improve their standard of living and enhance their family’s income, which in turn promotes economic growth.

What steps is the Kingdom taking to strengthen women’s role in the sector? 

The Kingdom is also taking several steps to strengthen women’s role in the business sector:

Allowing women to establish and register companies: Saudi authorities allow women to establish and register companies which encourages them to start their own projects.

Funding: The Kingdom provides funding programs for women wishing to set up their own projects and the necessary support for their effective operation.

Training courses: The Kingdom offers training courses for women in the business sector to enable them to acquire the necessary skills to conduct their work effectively.

Generally, it can be said that the Saudi government attaches great importance to women’s empowerment in the business sector, encouraging them to innovate, lead and participate in the development of the national economy. This is expected to continue.

What are the most important obstacles you have encountered and how did you overcome them

Entrepreneurs who decide to set up an online store will face some challenges and constraints. They include:

Choosing the right product: Entrepreneurs should choose the right product that corresponds to the targeted market. These products needs efficient marketing

Website design and user experience: entrepreneurs should focus on website design and user experience to make it easy and convenient for users.

Shipping and Delivery: Entrepreneurs should consider how to provide shipping and delivery services in a fast, reliable, and competitive manner.

Competition: Many e-stores are on the market; hence entrepreneurs must do their best to attract customers and dominate the market.

Electronic Payment: Various payment options must be provided to customers, having easy, simple and multiple payment methods facilitates the idea of fast shopping.

What advice do you give to today’s female entrepreneurs?

Aspiring female entrepreneurs need to follow the following advice to succeed in their businesses

  • Personal trust: Trusting their abilities and ideas is critical for any entrepreneur.
  • Being passionate: Choosing a work they are passionate about will give them the motivation and energy to overcome challenges and work towards attaining their goals.
  • Set realistic goals: Setting clear and achievable goals helps keep entrepreneurs focused and motivated.
  • Keep up to date with the latest trends and best practices, read books and articles, and take online courses that can enhance their skills and knowledge.
  • Rely on support: Entrepreneurs should not hesitate to seek help from mentors, trainers, and other professionals who can provide guidance and support as they face entrepreneurial challenges.

To wrap up, can you outline the opportunities the e-commerce offers to entrepreneurs and the support women get in the Kingdom? 

In a nutshell, the e-store industry offers immense opportunities for entrepreneurs to create successful businesses and reach a global audience. Focusing on user experience, product quality, customer service and marketing, online retailers can build trust and loyalty with their customers. In the Kingdom, government support for the e-commerce sector has created a conducive environment for entrepreneurship, providing women with the tools and resources they need to succeed. By embracing technology and taking advantage of the available resources, female entrepreneurs can become leaders in the e-commerce industry and contribute to the Kingdom’s economic growth.


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