Saudi Post Launches First and Largest Virtual Mall in the RegionTuesday, Nov 02, 2010
Today’s unstable economic situation has made innovation and competition an ongoing trend within the GCC Region. In providing better services and keeping up with competition, Saudi Post has recently launched the first e-shopping portal in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA,) the largest and most comprehensive virtual e-Mall developed and designed by LINK Development. The portal enables multiple vendors and stores in the KSA with business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce opportunities.
In the recent years, e-Mall has been a work in progress for Saudi Post due to the continuous penetration of internet and mobile technologies. In order to continue to deliver competitive, innovative and improved services to its clients across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a strategic change in structure was called for. In alliance with LINK Development, the aim became to build a long-term integration infrastructure for Saudi Post operations and service delivery based on the latest technologies, best of breed platforms and industry standards. The mega solution involved large scale enterprise development. LINK Development was keen on delivering a world-class mega solution that is not only reliable, but also agile and extendible, helping businesses not only reach current, but also future objectives.
LINK Development has crafted the new bi-lingual portal with a custom-built billing system that enables Saudi Post and the vendors to track and audit the financial transactions and details of the e-Mall. This portal provides bill presentment and payment through integration with a payment gateway for credit cards, as well as cash payments using SADAD (the government payment engine), a rarely found feature in the e-Commerce Portals in KSA. The e-Mall is built to serve the various types of vendors (small, medium, or large,) with a variety of capabilities and features for each. It also includes a number of personalized and dedicated services for its online customers enabling them to view their profile, orders and value-added services.
Commenting on the new portal, Dr. Mohammed Banatan, CEO of the Saudi Post says: “This innovative portal is not only a new means of revenue for us, but also for the vendors involved. With this new service, vendors save on rent, maintenance, and enable a 24-hour global selling operation. At such an economically strenuous time, this e-shopping portal brings convenience to those looking for a one-stop-shop from the comfort of their home. Continuing he emphasizes: “Especially with Saudi Arabia submerging in the new global online shopping trend, we believed it was the time to introduce this concept to the local market.”
Engineer Majid Bin Anzan, General Manager of e-Mall at Saudi Post, said: “Saudi Post forms one of the cornerstones of e-government, and as such has decided to set up this shopping portal to become one of the first e-commerce platforms in the Kingdom. It will be operated and supported by a semi-government organization.”
He added: “This will boost the confidence of internet users in electronic transactions in Saudi Arabia, as well as help vendors to sell and market their merchandise electronically. Ultimately Saudi Post revenues will increase and new commercial activities will be launched. This e-Mall will also facilitate increased sales for vendors while decreasing costs, raising awareness of products amongst customers as well as facilitating access to new markets and offering the best customer service through a dedicated team made up of Saudi Post couriers who will deliver products to buyers in the shortest time possible. Because the couriers are official employees, Saudi Post thus guarantees a reliable e-shopping experience which extends beyond delivery.”
Irini Rafaat, Managing Director of LINK Development explains, “With this new e-Mall portal, vendors are able to benefit from tracking sales and customer interest to understand the regional market and customize their product selection accordingly. Enhanced communication is also a plus, as access to information regarding customer feedback is widely available. In turn, customers are provided with an improved quality of service in accordance with their needs.”
“LINK Development has ensured its team of experts has developed a distinctive portal to enhance the B2B and B2C solutions in KSA, enabling Saudi Post to be the pioneer government entity in the region to use e-Commerce Solutions. She continues: “Our extensive experience in e-Commerce Portal development has usability and information architecture with capabilities such as, User Experience (UX) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM,) provides e-mall with a highly competitive edge,” she concludes.
Engineer Majid Bin Anzan also said: “One of the major aims of this e-Mall is promoting charitable work in the Kingdom through hosting a number of charities that will market the products of the families they sponsor and sell them to customers. Saudi Post would be sponsoring these families indirectly. The e-Mall will also offer customers some foodstuffs which are not available elsewhere in the market, such as local foods.” Bin Anzan pointed out: “E-mall users will be able in the future to donate to these charities as well as pay utility bills such as electricity, water and telecommunications.” He also promised that the list of surprises that will be offered by the e-Mall to users will be long and not far off.
LINK Development was involved in the production and delivery of multiple components that serve as cornerstones in the Saudi Post e-business infrastructure. The company has an unparallel track record in delivering e-commerce solutions. It has developed the award winning Egypt Air portal and Qatar’s first business exchange portal launched by Doha Bank, DBankSooq, just to name a few. Additionally, LINK Development is a trusted solutions partner for governmental entities in Egypt and the GCC developing portals that help ministries provide better and more responsive service levels to citizens.