This article is a crosspost from Nuwait.
Startups often emerge by valuing new technologies and creating innovative platforms which cater to customer needs. The market is continuously being disrupted and businesses must ensure they stay ahead to ensure profitability and growth. So where do family businesses stand?
Family businesses in the GCC control an estimate of 90 percent of commercial activity. A recent Kuwait Times interview reported that “innovation and continuity of the Kuwaiti family business is at a key transitional stage given the rapid development from all angles and hence such businesses will play a cornerstone in the future of the country.”
Studies on global markets show that family succession is a natural point for innovative disruption. The new generation is bringing fresh concepts, new expectation, and a familiarity to digital technology, hence stimulating the future of the family business sector.
Today, the following Kuwaiti family businesses are a small sample of how innovation and technology are being applied to advance business operations, marketing strategies, customer experience and communication.
Alshaya has been a leader in the retail franchise sector for over 30 years. Today, the company manages over 130 social media profiles and focuses on digital marketing campaigns. So it’s no surprise that the company won the award for Digital Excellence in Retail this year.
As part of Alshaya’s commitment to offer innovative retail experiences that keep customers returning to their stores, the company released an app-based loyalty program called the Privileges Club. By presenting their app or card when they shop, Club members gain access to more than 70 brands and benefits such as entry into prize draws, a range of personalized shopping, dining and lifestyle experiences, as well as priority notification of promotions and sales.
Launched in 2016, the app is an example of using technology to listen to, understand, and innovate the customer experience. In a region that is an enthusiastic user of social media and digital platforms, this strategy is on trend.
X-cite by Alghanim Electronics is a multi-brand electronics retailer in Kuwait. To enhance the shopping experience, X-cite launched in 2011 its ecommerce portal, www.xcite.com, followed by the mobile app in 2013. This strategy highlighted Alghanim Industry’s proactive approach of reacting to economic and market changes throughout its 80+ year heritage.
With app usage becoming a daily part of people’s lives, continuous innovative enhancements must be made to keep customers satisfied and engaged. The award-winning app, combined with effective digital marketing techniques such as the ‘Secret Deal’ button, encouraged customers to sign up for accounts. The campaign increased the ecommerce conversion rate by six times. Online shoppers who signed in, viewed three times as many pages and spent five times longer than the average session on the site. X-cite maximized their value by innovating their app to be a more attractive, convenient, and accessible shopping channel experience.
After 60 years in operation, Al-Sayer Group has developed a substantial business in a variety of areas including automotive sales and service, heavy equipment, food products, and investment. “We have an ambitious, sustainable growth plan but its success is entirely reliant on data-driven intelligence in real-time, operational flexibility and, most crucially of all, innovation,” said Chairman and founder Naser Mohammad Al Sayer in an interview with Kuwait Times.
Al-Sayer Group further announced in 2014 its plans for regional expansion by applying business solutions from systems applications and products (SAP) involving 32 of Al Sayer Group’s companies. SAP helps companies operate more efficiently through data processing, automation and integration. It offers end-to-end solutions in many aspects of business management, such as human capital, customer relationship, finance, and supply chain. Implementation of this cloud-based business solution enhances internal operations by empowering people to work more efficiently. The result is an intelligent and agile business which rapidly responds and adapts to change.
Another company adopting cloud technology is Abyat. It is relatively new compared to the aforementioned businesses as it was founded in 2005. Abyat is in the provision and retail of finishing and furnishing material.
They apply innovative techniques to provide value-added services to their customers, such as the SAP Mobile Platform. The latter helps the customers design their homes by having an assigned sales representatives supporting them via the mobile app. It helps them capture what they need, check product availability in real-time and complete their purchases. Implementation of the SAP Mobile app has helped the business reduce training time by 75 percent, increased overall sales efficiency by 30 percent, and overall customer service ratings by 50 percent.