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Best Ecommerce Payment Gateways for Middle East Countries

In the past years, our teams had the privilege to work with a lot of clients in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, UAE, Lebanon, Kuwait and even Jordan.

We also accomplished many ecommerce or online shopping websites, such as the Jyia Restaurant in KSA, or Tortilla Arabia and Kababji (originally Lebanese) in UAE, and Tmreya (KSA). Many of our clients at start wondered how to integrate a payment gateway into a website and what are the steps? So in this article, I will briefly introduce what a payment gateway is, and some options you will have for your website, and the misconceptions out there. Hopefully by the end, you will see what the best ecommerce payment gateways for the Middle East are out there, and get a main picture of the online shopping requirements.

What is a Payment Gateway?

According to Investopedia, Payment Gateways are a means of authorizing credit cards or other form of electronic payments. They are here to help protect the sensitive payment information by encrypting the data they transmit to merchants and payment processors.

As in the illustration below, you can see the customer first initiates an order at the online store, then the payment gateway is contacted, confirmed and a response is sent back where the payment is processed. The payment is then settled through the bank and funds are transferred to the online store owner (merchant).

best ecommerce payment gateways for the Middle East

Your payment gateway should get and verify the customer billing information, verify the funds for the customer’s order, approve it then allow the store to issue the confirmation, and gets you (store owner) paid.

What do I have to consider for online payments?

Local/International

When you want to setup an online payment for your business website, you should first of all consider whether you want to sell locally or globally. Depending on this, you can choose an international payment gateway such as Stripe or PayPal, or a local one like HyperPay (available for 5 Middle East/North Africa countries initially).

Documentation/API Integration

All online payment gateways have API integration documentation, providing test account for developers to setup the payment system, and do testing before enabling the live account. API stands for Application Programming Interface, but it’s basically a median application between two different platforms. Integration of payment gateways requires skills and expertise of APIs.

Bank Account

Whichever online payment gateway you choose, you should sign up with it and check to see if your bank will accept this. Some banks don’t accept online payment gateways in general so when setting up your business bank account, make a few calls to make sure.

Type of Shopping

Make sure you understand the type of shopping you want in your business website so you can determine the best payment gateway for that. For example, will you have a regular approach? Like B2C? or will you have a multi-vendor website? Or wholesalers (B2B). So all this will determine the type of ecommerce and payment gateway you will need.

Transaction Fees

All payment gateways will ask for a fee for every transaction made, so consider this as the shipping/flat fees in your shopping and product/service pricing. Other type of fees you have consider is if you have deliveries, or if you want to withdraw funds from your bank account.

Payment Gateway Options

If you’re looking for the best ecommerce payment gateway for Middle East countries, take a look at some of the most popular options below:

  • Payfort: Payfort was launched in 2014 in UAE and operating in Saudi Arabia, Egypt. Comelite setup Payfort for Madwave GCC in 2016.
  • Hyperpay: we have setup HyperPay for Tmreya in December 2017. HyperPay is based in Jordan, with offices in KSA and UAE. It was founded in 2010 under the name Gate2play.
  • Paytabs: this one is famous in Saudi Arabia as well, and available for mobile payments too, including recurring, adaptive and alternative payments, and integration with SADAD. Comelite did Paytabs integration for the Marina app based in KSA in 2017.
  • Paypal: PayPal is one of the world’s largest online payment gateways, and supports over 200 countries, and 25 currencies. Payment integration has been done by Comelite teams in numerous projects.
  • Stripe: Stripe is also available globally, for 25 countries. Comelite implemented Stripe for the UR (Universal Restaurant) web and mobile application in 2018 (to be launched soon).
  • 2Checkout: this is another global payment platform with localized payment options but it is available in 87 currencies and 15 languages, with options for extra security as well.

Payment Gateway Misconceptions

One of the misconceptions I have seen in ecommerce projects is that clients think customer can pay directly through their credit card from their web page. Many payment gateways offer the option to pay through credit card (such as PayPal) but to pay directly through credit card will first of all be a breach of your security, then it won’t allow the processing explained above.

Another misconception is to mistaken payment gateways for bank accounts. Payment gateways are simply to facilitate the online payment process and are the middle processor between the merchant website and your bank account. There are other misconceptions you might want to read here.

Wrapping Up

So to close up, you need to consider a number of things for your payment gateway setup on your online store. You can do the preparations and just get in touch with us to help you realize your online business. However, feel free to reach out in case you need consultation from the start.

How to launch a drugstore with NopCommerce

Dowa, a drugstore with Nopcommerce is a reputable only pharmacy in Kuwait, offering medicines and drugs to its online customers. Comelite IT Solutions recently revamped the website to use NopCommerce, one of the best e-commerce solutions based on ASP.NET MVC. The new website now allows doctors to connect to patients, chat with them and roll out prescriptions for them, which they can easily check-out as orders in their shopping cart. See how that is done.

Why NopCommerce

Nopcommerce-development

We’ve come across many different eCommerce platforms, and NopCommerce is probably one of the best. Without starting a flame war, let’s say we’ve also tried other open source ecommerce platforms such as OpenCart, WooCommerce and Magento. All of these platforms have their cons and pros, but the one thing that really sets NopCommerce apart could be the fact that it is built on ASP.NET MVC. A fast, lightweight, secure, object-oriented and type-safe platform is what you need to minimize the bugs and speed up development time and delivery, and that’s where NopCommerce excels.

Honestly I have recommended NopCommerce for many other projects even outside the eCommerce realm because of the mature foundation it offers.

Other benefits

Woocommerce is great for setting up an eCommerce fast and easy. Being built on top of WordPress, it’s probably also widely used. But when it comes to complex tasks, it has several shortcomings.

Besides discounts, rejected products, order shipment tracking, invoice generation and lots of similar issues any big store has to deal with, medical stores have a special restriction; OTC drugs. In medical stores, some drugs are On-The-Counter and available for public, while others can only be purchased after receiving a prescription from a doctor. This is something NopCommerce supports out-of-the-box: a granular Access Control List which can define who has access to what.

We used this method to allow doctors to create prescriptions for their patients, and patients could checkout the products. Doctors had access to those products while patients did not, but pushing them through this mechanism offered best of both worlds.

Plugins vs. Core Modifications

NopCommerce can be easily expanded through plugins. While the extent to which you can change the behavior of NopCommerce features with plugins is great (and the addition of “events” even make it better”) there is a limit to how much you can accomplish without touching the core.

In our case, we had to do that in order to add some very sophisticated role-specific features.

The good news is that these modifications are also both easy to implement, and tidy to apply. I won’t get into details that would make this piece to technical, but let’s suffice that NopCommerce uses an injection model which allows you to develop features as separate objects and then just inject them in the main architecture – and the system will use them!

Final Thoughts

It was a great experience building such a big store. We were pleased to use NopCommerce for the task as it never failed us, allowed for easy expansion and most importantly, offered a robust platform to build on.

How to add video to your nopCommerce products

Recently, we released our HTML widget plugin. It’s a very neat feature that allows you to add custom HTML to different parts of nopCommerce – text, images and video. Wait, you cannot add video.

In its recent updates, NopCommerce improved the rich text editor they were using, which was a great move for the user experience. But the implementation has a flaw with Roxyfilemanager – it cannot recognize video files. Fortunately we were able to detect the problem and outline the solution for you. Just add the following code to your RoxyFilemanagerController.cs, build the project and enjoy the video editor! Read more

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Online Marketplaces: Gold Mines of the Future

Post written by Nadia Kamil

What are they anyways?

Well, to make it simple here’s the definition: online marketplaces or multivendor ecommerce websites are websites where we can have several vendors or seller roles that are selling a product or service, and buyers or website visitors can purchase this product/service. Of course, there are always plenty of features involved, such as comparisons, bidding, discounts, questioning, RFQs, etc. Read more

The benefits of mobile ecommerce

Ecommerce has already become the de-facto way of doing business for large companies and is fast gaining popularity among small businesses as well thanks to considerable decrease in the development and hosting of web applications.

I already discussed in a recent post the benefits of having an ecommerce website for retail businesses and how it can help improve a company’s reach and availability, which will in turn result in better lead generation, customer support, conversion rates and, ultimately, revenue.
But the future of online business and ecommerce is already here, and it’s mobile ecommerce apps, aka mCommerce. The     ecommerce industry has burgeoned exponentially thanks to mobile innovations and progress, and with mobile app usage and revenue skyrocketing in recent years, a healthy and successful business will be one that will harness and leverage this technology.
Already, many ecommerce-wielding companies are going mobile by investing on mobile web design and introducing mobile apps to their business model. Ecommerce apps are one of the most popular types of apps that are downloaded on handsets and it is a well-known fact that mCommerce apps are used more frequently that its equivalent website.
So if you have an ecommerce website, complementing with an mCommerce app will give you all the advantages of traditional model plus the following added benefits.
Improved access to users through push notifications
While an ecommerce website will enable your customers to reach you any time of the day, an ecommerce app will enable you to reach your customers any time you like. Mobile phones are very personalized devices, and users carry them on their person all the time. After having installed your application, you can use push notifications to improve user engagement or to re-engage inactive users by informing them of special offers or important sales and new products.
Offline availability
In contrast to desktop and laptop computers, mobile devices can be carried and operated anywhere. And not every location can provide an optimal internet connection. This is where mobile apps shine, since they’re tailored to work in environments where users are experiencing spotty internet connections or don’t have an internet connection altogether. Naturally, some of the functionality of the app will be unavailable in such settings, but users will at least have access to previously-visited product pages, purchase history and other profile information that can come in handy when they’re not specifically looking for a purchase.
Improved performance and network usage
The amount of information exchange in apps is very minimal when compared to websites which need to download complete web pages. This functionality provides for quicker load times in app usage and lower networking costs, especially for users that are connected on a limited data plan. This can be a decisive factor in improving user experience and encouraging them to return to your app.
Enhanced usage
Since mobile apps are developed for small screen sizes, they can help improve the user experience dramatically by culling entry forms, improving scrolling and navigability based on mobile usage patterns, and adjust the size and location of user interface elements to improve ease-of-use.
Moreover, mobile apps are compatible with a slew of new APIs and technologies, such as the easy-to-use One Touch Shopping payment technology, which improves and facilitates online payment for goods.
Leveraging mobile features
Smartphones have many features such as camera, gyroscope, GPS and microphone. Each of these features can help improve user experience when integrated with your mobile app. For instance, using the mobile GPS, you can help users locate the nearest franchise of your chain while using your app. Another example would be to use augmented reality technology and allow the user to preview how a cool new furniture will change the look of their living room
Conclusion
The future of retail industry is in the hands and pockets of consumers. The mobile trend will continue to encroach over all aspects of online retail business and shopping as we move forward. Mobile ecommerce is an opportunity to provide increased value very quickly. If you already have an ecommerce platform in place, building a mobile app that integrates with your solution will be an easy task, and you and your customers will have a leg up in getting started on this new model. If you don’t, get one today. It’s better late than never.

Why eCommerce Websites Matter [Infographic]

Are you a shop owner or a retailer?
Do you have products or services that can be sold online? If yes, then why not set up your own online shop? With the growth of Internet activities and the convenience of online shopping, it is quickly becoming more and more typical.

If you haven’t set up an eCommerce website for your business, read some interesting facts below that could change your mind!

 

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How can your retail business benefit from an e-commerce solution?

An article written by Ben Dickson

With the internet and connected devices becoming more and more involved in every aspect of daily lives, consumers are increasingly expecting to find every product and service they need online, and they’re more likely to choose a vendor or company that can be reached on a whim when they’re comfortably sitting behind their laptops and PCs at home, or when they’re tapping on their phone while riding the train.

E-commerce allows retailers and service providers to provide an all-in-one solution to their customers, enabling them to browse and purchase their wares all through their desktop or mobile browser.

This type of service, which is usually developed as a website or mobile app, has revolutionized the way companies are doing business and is fast gaining popularity as more and more users are inclined to make their purchases online.
Here are some of the benefits of e-commerce that have made it known as the “holy grail of retail.”
Accessibility and ease of use
With e-commerce solutions, customers are no longer bound by geographical constraints and store opening hours. You can be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and your customers can shop from you wherever they are, at whatever time they choose to. All they need is a browser and an internet connection. Viewing products, filling shopping carts and paying for goods all take place in the same location in a quick, convenient and user-friendly environment. And customers don’t need to push their cart through the aisles to find their product of need – all they need to do is a quick search within the site.
Your e-commerce website can offer users all the information and images they need about their products of choice, which will help them better decide whether what they’re buying will fulfill their needs.
Online presence will help attract more customers
Having an online presence through your e-commerce website will give you a very important channel to drive more customers to your business: internet search engines. More than 80% of the online population has used the internet to purchase something. Users are buying online at an increasing pace, and the most likely place they start from when making an online purchase is their favorite search engine. Once you have your e-commerce solution in place, search engines will start indexing your website, and if you have a good SEO and digital marketing plan, you’ll increase the chances of users finding you when querying for products they desire, giving you a great source of lead generation for your business.
Get useful insights on customers’ browsing and shopping habits
With the help of analytics tools, e-commerce websites can give you invaluable information about how users are reacting to your site’s design and contents, which products are generating more hype, how users’ shopping habits are changing over time and in different seasons. This can help you plan your special offers and pricing strategies based on realistic data and feedback from your customers and tailor them on a per-customer basis.
By keeping track of customer purchase history and browsing habits, you can also setup a loyalty program and make special offers to customers who make timely or frequent purchases. These options are much more convenient than their traditional physical equivalents such as bargains and coupons.
Putting your data to good use can go a long way to improve customer satisfaction, build trust with your audience and improve your sales rate.
Expansion at a low cost
In a brick-and-mortar model, a business’s expansion is bound to investing in new real estate, staff and logistics, a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. A simple e-commerce solution will help you reach out way beyond your direct vicinity at a very low fee and in a quick and painless process, and you don’t need to expand your workforce. In fact, with an e-commerce solution, your business can quickly achieve global levels, and you’ll only need to deal with the extra shipping process. There are many success stories about small local businesses turning into worldwide sensations thanks to e-commerce technology.
Bottom line
From both a vendor and a customer standpoint, an e-commerce is a definite must-have for every retail business. It will result in extended brand reach, improved online presence, increase in customer satisfaction, better lead generation, and at length, a huge boost in sales and revenue. If you don’t have an e-commerce solution, maybe it’s time to think about getting one.

MENA: What You’re Missing without Ecommerce

Even though the MENA region is one of the brightest frontlines for internet & IT growth, including eCommerce, how come up to this date, many companies prefer not to go into it?

Well for a start, most MENA companies fear online transactions and security of their data. Another reason is the low use of credit cards, and the unawareness of payment gateways available in this region.
Just in 2015, eCommerce had a growth rate of 45% in MENA, but this is a low figure if you calculate how many people have smartphones in their pockets and consider that 80% of mobile users are using their mobile for purchasing.
Or did you know in the near future, some countries will be eliminating use of cash bills? According to CNN  and the GAURDIAN , Denmark and Sweden will be going ‘cashless’ due to the rise of electronic money usage.
So, in the era where you can buy from your smartphone in a click, and with growing technologies in the region, what are companies missing out on?
• Your customers save time, and it’s convenient to use
• You as a retailer have an online presence so u will have a head start from your competitors
• You get new audiences coming to you from search engines and social media
• You save operational costs since you will have a web-based system with inventory management
• Your get a boost in your brand awareness
• No need for your customers to stand in a queue or to be put on hold
• Usage of coupons and deals
And much more…
In a world where everyone is on the run and can come to your shop any time anywhere, if you don’t have eCommerce, your losing business and customer by the second. Amazon, as a prime example of eCommerce has a lot of online stores available 24 hours a day, including a quick checkout process, order tracking and shipping.
How to change?
1-First, make the decision to make a change to your business.
2-Payment Gateways:
In terms of security and payment gateways, if you want to start your e-commerce shop in the Middle East, here are a list of payment gateways available in the region (Payment Gateways in the Arab World: by Wamda) :
• PAYFORT (new payment gateway in MENA- very popular)
• PayPal (9 countries)
• Skrill (14 countries)
• CASHU (17 countries)
• 2Checkout (15 countries)
• Onecard(16 countries)
• Gate2Play (All)
• Faturah (Saudi Arabia)
3- Set aside your budget. Can’t go forward without money, so this will be investing to get your business ROI boosting.
4- Start gathering your product information, your marketing audience (who will buy your brand) and get someone to start your website. Think about your business model, and your processes and how you will work.
5- Start marketing online, with your Facebook account, or setup a landing page, or get an expert to fulfill your social media campaign.
Remember, you will have to get online and atomized to have your business boosting. For more information on how to proceed, feel free to contact us at Comelite.net.

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What is an E-commerce (electronic commerce) Website?

E-commerce is dealing with properties and facilities on electronic networks, such as Internet, phones, televisions etc. It is the ideal customer service platform for shops, malls, sports ware sales, ware houses, house hold sales, retail, auction, car sales etc. Even hotels and restaurants can build their online directorate with it. Frankly speaking, I think this will be the most popular method to improve business connection in the coming years. It can also be supported by a variety of apps and web facilities.

Let’s take a look at some pros e-commerce solutions will have for its clients:

  • Around the clock dealing process: 24/7,365 days. Whenever and wherever you want, from all around the world. Your business is always available and you are responding to clients, without the need to have your staff overworking. The client only needs to type the name of his/her requirement into the search box and it appears in high quality images, along with proscriptions, technical details, purchasing order etc. It’s very beneficial for both the seller and buyer.
  • At the same time, you have more options to decide and compare quality versus price. In a real store, your time is restricted and one might not dare hesitate and think about the product as long as he/she wants. In an e-store, you literally have the whole shop at your disposal and you can take your time and nobody will tell you that the time is up or…
  • Online companies want you to have access to user reviews. Negative or positive comments are in the same place. Also you are able to look at the reasons behind the likes or un-likes.
  • Financial dealing will ultimately become electronic, so faster money transaction is going to be lower on price thanks to the decreasing fees. This makes every contract through e-commerce payment more economically beneficial.

E-commerce pros for selling

  • Growing client base is the biggest challenge a company cares about. But online marketing offers a mechanism that makes reaching out to people as easy as a few clicks and it leaves no concern about getting good property in local markets. People from all around the world can access the goods.
  • Increase in sales; every business will have more sales online and this means more profit. While being open to global markets, more products will be sold.
  • 24/7, 365 days; the doors won’t be closed and revenue will keep increasing.
  • With a little research, every trading body can organize recurring payments. You can use online sales that best suit your requirements and billing will be done in a steady way; payments will be received with the same technique.
  • Easy to start and manage a business; there’s no need for physical company set-ups.
  • E-commerce also allows you to move better with an advanced margin for more commercial security. It means business with more control as well as flexibility.
  • An essential element on the internet is…translation! An online business doesn’t have to cope with multilingual challenges and use translators for foreign visitors. This can be done by a single click and you can serve customers from around the globe who can visit your website, goods and information without leaving home.

As in any new project, the first step for succeeding in e-commerce websites is to set a target. Do you want to raise profits from existing customers? Gain new clients? Lower costs? In addition to having a strong business strategy, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the power, fragility, opportunities and threats of your business’ current situation. You should assess the target audience, because this is often the primary place to invest time and money.

Finally, when a business has started as an e-commerce, you have to be ready to make changes to stay well-matched. While technology evolves, the methods that carry your business must be kept up to date or changed if desired.

For further information you can call or write me. I welcome any kind of critic or feedback: rodney.goedhart@comelite.net

Autor: Rodney Goedhart

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