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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.

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8 Ways to Secure your Business Website

In this article we will be discussing the importance of securing your website, to protect it from hackers and cyber criminals. First we will discuss why you might be prone to a cyberattack, why you need to be secure, and then we will discuss the methods to prevent and secure your business website.

Reasons to attack

The main purposes that cyber criminals might attack your website can vary but it might be just to prove their power and your business’s weakness. If your business website has valuable information or monetary value, such as an online shop, they might want to gain power over it to steal information or win your sales for themselves. If your brand has enemies, beware, maybe they are trying to get back to you for revenge. Whatever the reason, you should try to find the holes in your brand and first of all secure your business website.

Why you need Security

When your website is hacked, the first thing you will lose is a reputation and your business revenue. If you have user information in your website, your customers will lose trust in you, as hackers can steal their information too. Also, your domain might become blacklisted, which means it will take a lot of time and energy to clean up. So just how you might protect your physical business office, with CCTV and other types of theft protection, you should act for securing your business website too.

How to Secure

1-      Web Hosting

One of the most important ways to secure your website is to have it based in a secure hosting. In case of WordPress CMSs, we recommend using a WP-Managed hosting like Siteground. For a normal business website, the GrowBig plan is a great place to start. It includes automatic WordPress core updates and plugin updates. Also, the PHP server and MySQL database is also always up-to-date. This plan also offers security scans, as explained in point 7 of the article. Not using a secure hosting is like placing your wallet on the sidewalk for passer-by’s to pick up if they need it. The hosting service provider acts as the main container and security wall of where your website is placed. So no further comments, think twice when you want to purchase your business hosting.

2-      Admin Area

Nowadays technology has advanced so much that you can tell the platform of a website by just installing a plugin like Wappalyzer. So if anyone can tell your website technology through such plugins or through the structure of your website URL, then they can access the backend URL as well. Hackers will know the backend URL of a Joomla website is /administrator as a default, or a WP website will be /wp-admin, or for a Drupal 8 is /user/login. In order to secure your business website, you can change your backend admin area URL to another phrase that cybercriminals can’t guess easily. To take extra measures, you can disable directory and file browsing through your .htaccess file as well.

3-      Passwords

Careful what kind of passwords you use for your backend admin. In order to truly secure your business website, you should use passwords with over 8 characters, and usage of both small and capital letters, and numbers and symbols all combined. You can use online password generators like this one or this one to create strong passwords. Also, note to not use the default “admin” as your username.

4-      Login Attempts

Limit the login attempts of your website backend so if cybercriminals are using the brute force method, they won’t be able to infiltrate. Brute force attacks are a trial and error method to find your username/password by applications used to decode your encrypted data. You can always limit login attempts with plugins like Login LockDown for WP.

5-      Backups

If you have a great hosting like Siteground, as I mentioned in the first point, it will get automatic backups for you and preserve them for up to 30 days. You can always get manual backups from your website using backup plugins like Duplicator or WP-DB-Backup for WordPress CMS. Remember to store your backups in 2 locations, one on the cloud and one locally to reduce any risks.

6-      Use SSL

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. As a default, a web browser uses HTTP to communicate to a web server and show you the information of a website. Now if you are entering data in a form, such as an online shop, or any other kind of information such as logins, contact info, this information is at risk. So, SSL provides a secure channel between these two devices and creates an encrypted protocol on this communication. HTTP on its own will be insecure and subject to eavesdropping attacks as the data being transferred will be plain text between the two endpoints. But SSL secures the information by encrypting it and securing it from interception. You can tell if a website is using SSL if there is HTTPS in the URL, instead of HTTP. Also you will see a padlock on the address bar.

7-      Scanners

If you’re using a WP website or another CMS, there are security scanner plugins, such as the Sucuri Security Scanner which belongs to a global security firm, Sucuri Inc. with specialization in WP Security. This plugin will offer security activity auditing, file integrity monitoring, remote malware scanning, blacklist monitoring, effective security hardening, and much more.

8-      Extra measures with WAF

WAF stands for Web Application Firewall (WAF) which is setting up a firewall to control traffic before the malicious traffic hits your website. A WAF will monitor, filter and block data packets that can cause harm to your website. It can be network-based, host-based or cloud based. Sucuri has a WAF/IPS plan offered here, which can be a layer of extra security on your website, protecting you from evolving threats, DDoS attacks, and other forms of hacking.

Let’s Recap

I hope this article gives you a scope of what you need to do to secure your website. In case you have a WP website, this article is also a great reference to read more. Let us know in case you have any questions or need to secure your business website.

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Case Study: Desert Grove Database MS

A Start

One of our latest work, Desert Grove database management system, based in UAE, was first a start-up idea back in September 2016. The main founder, Mr. Michel Kalai came to our teams, as we had done a few projects with him before. Comelite teams and Project Department worked closely with Mr. Kalai to analyse, guide and prepare the foundations of Desert Grove database management system.

At the start, the client initially needed something flexible, with the ability to build on to it, and at the same time, displaying uniqueness and elegance. As explained in the intro, the Desert Grove story began with a simple idea: enable anyone to create the perfect environment to enrich one’s personal life to the fullest.

As most start-up ideas, our teams combined with the client, had to do define goals, targets, analyse the flows and much more. Finally, after 3 months of planning, going back and forth, the plan was ready.

Getting the Wheels Rolling

The Desert Grove application was based on Laravel, a PHP framework popular for speedy development, simple syntax pattern, database flexibilities and secure mechanisms. Providing a smooth interface for the custom development, Comelite teams took advantage to base the Desert Grove application on this MVC platform, with its function-rich libraries.

Desert Grove Case Study1

Needless to mention, the Comelite teams also prepared the main company logo with authentic design, and the divisions logos, business cards and letterheads.

Get to Know the Purpose

Desert Grove consists of 4 main divisions, Spas and Pool Construction, Landscaping, Design & Consulting, and Retail. Customers coming to the web application have the easy experience of choosing from swim spas, movable floors, marina pools and other services.

Desert Grove Case Study2

Desert Grove Case Study3

The application includes many forms allowing the user to custom apply for their exact request. This might include pool repairs and maintenance, cleaning, or spas and movable floors to the exact dimensions you will need.

The forms, the blogs page, the newsletter as well as all the website pages have been integrated with Hubspot Marketing/Sales platform enabling the company to track and measure visits and interactions from potential clients, in order to improve conversion to sales.

Technical Challenges and Backend

Desert Grove Case Study4The project had a lot of challenging curves, in which each page had its own layout so we had to use a unique system to accommodate the different themes and variables of each page. First we had an HTML/CSS design for each page, but later decided to develop the project on October CMS, based on Laraval. October CMS would allow us this flexibility to give a custom layout per page, as well as to allow the client to make edits in the backend area. Our teams also developed a custom October CMS module for the customer area and project management, allowing the client to create customer accounts, update the project status and more.

The language module was also modified to accommodate the application, as it was a bilingual application.

End Note

It was a pleasure to work with Mr. Kalai on this long-term project and Comelite teams wish the best of luck for the Desert Grove business, and if you need a pool or spa, or services in this industry, make sure to pay a visit to this website!

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9 Steps to Jump Start your Idea

See How You Can Jump Start Your Idea

In our line of work, we have met with many creative people, seeking to jump start their idea. In the world of business, everyone strives to find a unique way of creating a new business line, or maybe a new trend, or any sort of way to reach out to a new market and hit the gold mine. So how can you jump start your idea? Take a look at a few tips below.

1.      Define your goal and target audience

The first thing you need to ask yourself is what is your main purpose and goal for your idea? What makes you different from others before you? Once you define that, you need to detail out your target audience, such as their age group, gender, business sector or walk of life, and most importantly, the region, whether it will be local or global?

2.      Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm

The best way to get everything down to jump start your idea, is to brainstorm all you have. Write it anywhere you are comfortable with, either an excel sheet, google sheet, a google keep note, a physical notebook, anything that will help you expand and build on.

3.      Research similar competitors

Finding people or businesses with similar ideas will help you find your competitors, and also differentiate your idea from others. You can also summarize the advantages and disadvantages of your competitors and build on to them to make your idea better.

4.      Plan out priorities and phases

One of the best way to jump start your idea is to start phasing it out and determining what is the most important. Prioritize your ideas and features. Try to simplify it and start simple and flexible. If you start with a big step for the future, you will miss out on the present. So even a small calculated step will take you move forward.

jump start your idea

5.      Write down all the flows

This part might be hard for you as the idea founder, so you can always hire a tech team to do it for you. But the main point to jump start your idea is to write down every single flow. For example, say I am a founder of an online marketplace for selling services. I have to start writing the flow of where the users first login/signup, to where they pick their role, to where they define their services as a service provider or search for services as a service buyer and so on. It might be 10 flows; it might be 50 or even more. What’s important is that you get it all documented. Think of all the conditions, all the obstacles, and even the very straight forward flows.

jump start your idea

6.      Wireframes, Screens, Pages

When you reach this step, then you have moved forward a giant leap to jump start your idea. Creating wireframes, screens, pages is the step after your flow documentation. A great tool for creating this phase is Draw.io, or others like Balsamiq or JustinMind. Once the wireframes are in place, you can use tools like Invision App to show the flow.

7.      Hosting, Storage

According to your idea and business size, you should think about the method of hosting and storage. For example, will you need a cloud plan? A shared plan? Maybe a dedicated server or a managed VPS will be your solution. In this article you can see different types of hosting explained.

8.      Final Document

Somewhere between steps 4-6, you should start preparing a Requirement Analysis Document, or your documented and technical business plan. Without this documented plan, you won’t be able to jump start your idea. This document should include a clear view of what you will deliver, the exact screens/pages, features/functions, and user scenarios. This document should be so clear that will be the guide and hard copy of the path to take for the development team.

9.      Timing & Testing

Remember to set a timing for your start and go live. You need to consider planning, design, development, and of course quality assurance testing. Think of how to keep it maintained after go live, and how you will link the next phases to your new idea.

End Note

I hope you got a brief idea on how to jump start your idea. In our upcoming project Universal Restaurant, which will go live this month, we’ll later elaborate on the steps taken and how it went live.

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Authentic Web Design: Tmreya

On the final months of 2017, I had the privilege to work with the Tmreya company, main HQ based in KSA. We developed their website, and now developing the app (to be done by next month). Those of you who have been in the Middle East might have heard of it, but the brand itself is authentic and elegant, so we thought of implementing the same authenticity for their website. Now, in this article, I wanted to point out some features of the website and how it’s a great sample for authentic web design.

Definite Brand

One of the things that adds authenticity to Tmreya, is that it has a well-defined brand. A brand doesn’t mean just a logo, it usually consists of an Identity Guideline, including the brands main color codes, typefaces, and a brief explanation of the brands purpose and representation. There are some great examples here if you want to see more. It will include information about the brand proportions, color policy, background, incorrect versions, and other imagery or art graphics. All this info will add value to an authentic web design for our teams.

authentic web design

Beautiful Media used in Authentic Web Design

When you have a product or service, you should be able to show it off. Tmreya does a great of job of doing this. I must confess, when I first saw their YouTube channel I went searching for chocolate! So weather if it’s video or photos, you should know the exact purpose of it and show it off just the right way. For example, in Tmreya Product pages, the photos are simple HQ photos of each product shown all alone on a white background (with great lighting), one of the best practices of ecommerce and product show cases. I must say, without the beautiful photography contributing to authentic web design, the website won’t have half the value it has now.

authentic web design

Ecommerce Features

One thing that makes this website dynamic and fun to get back to, is the ability to order online. The payment systems implemented is COD, in case the customer wants to pay on delivery, as well as HyperPay and Sadad, two very popular payment gateways in the KSA.

As Tmreya has several branches all over KSA alone, our teams also implemented a custom system in the delivery options, meaning that orders will require you to provide your location and nearest branch, thus sending notifications to that branch upon that order. This speeds up their customer service, as well as allows them to control sales as per location as well.

If you make an order, you will also notice that shipping rates, taxes and minimum order rates are configured through the Woocommerce platform, allowing the website owner to make maximum usage of the website features.

Using the reports in the system, they can monitor sales per dates, product count of purchases, refunds, number of orders and more.

Bilingual

This stylish website is also fully bilingual, in which in the Arabic version, it is using the exact typeface of its identity guidelines, The Sans. It’s fully RTL interface can be seen here.

authentic web design

Mobile App

Comelite teams are working to finalize the Tmreya app as well, which will be released next month, using APIs to connect to the current website and reflect it in the app, providing a compact view and mechanism for Tmreya clients to make their chocolate product orders.

Social Media

Tmreya has is also renown for beautiful and mouth-watering imagery in their social media platforms, such Instagram and Twitter, which our teams used to show a feed of it in the footer of the website as well, not to mention one of their latest videos, as they constantly have updated appetising videos.

End Note

Up to now, it has been a pleasure to work on such an authentic web design for Tmreya. We are pleased to welcome all our clients to use it as a sample and even learn from the business methods to improve their brand. It will be an honor to introduce their app once that is released as well.

Let us know in case you need help to improve your brand or want an authentic web design.

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2017 Accomplishments: See Our Website Projects

As we approach the New Year and wrap up 2017, I think it’s important to reflect back on your 2017 accomplishments. As we close the doors on 2017 I think it’s important that everyone recognizes how much they have gained over one year. As Project Manager, I must confess that every single accomplished project in 2017 had a new thing to learn, whether if it was a small project or a new complex project. In this article, I just thought to point out some of our 2017 website projects to honor our valued clients, and to summarize the year.

2017 Accomplishments: Website Projects

In general we had over 30 website projects done the past year, from countries UAE, KSA, Egypt, Iraq, Qatar, KSA, Kuwait, and Lebanon. See them here:

Eathos Websites

In the first months of 2017 I had the honor to finalize two projects from the Eathos company in UAE, Kababji Arabia and Tortilla Arabia websites. These two WP based websites included ecommerce based on the Sapaad restaurant software platform. By finalizing these two websites, we added to our restaurant collection in the Comelite portfolio.

One Page Websites

We had a one page project from Gulf Homes Compound KSA, a mini property selling business, and a one page website for our Marina App project, to present the app features and functions. Also, we had another restaurant website Cookshop in KSA, which was also a one page, with a unique new design.

Construction Websites

An industry filled with projects, we had the privilege of doing the Al Motaheda website in Egypt (not live yet), and the Shandz website in Iraq. Also the Al Kobraish company website in KSA was another modern looking website done by Comelite teams. The Premium Construction website from Qatar is also coming up by start of 2018.

Other Selections

We were proud to do the Bioshield website in UAE, which is under transformation now, and the Beyond Lighting website in Qatar, a unique looking project designed to show the beautiful Qatar projects. Also the Al Rukaya website in KSA was another project done by our teams as part of our 2017 accomplishments. The Saudicom Security website also reflects another of our KSA projects done fast and easy. The UAE based 4Maat and Petro Technologies websites were some of the last quarter projects we had, thanks to our clients that made this possible.

Favorites and Highlights of 2017 Accomplishments

One of the highlights of 2017 was the Kaso website which I especially am fond of since it was initially done by our teams in 2014 and I had the honor to manage the project again for a modern revamp in the last year.

Also the online pharmacy based in Kuwait, Dowa Co was also another highlight of our teams, where one of the most famous pharmacies was made into an online platform as a Nopcommerce based website and app, detailed out here.

The Memecs website, based on a minimalistic design and modern looking was also done this year, as one of Comelite partners. Here you can see the techniques used elaborated.

The Tmreya project was also one of my favorites and a delicious tasting website including ecommerce, HyperPay integration, and bilingual as well.

Some Still Cooking

A few more of our 2017 accomplishments are still cooking such as the UR (Universal Restaurant) which is coming soon but includes an online platform for Cooks and Customers, including website and app.

Also we have a few other websites coming up from the Al Delma company in Iraq, to the TGCS company in Kuwait, TEM 360 GES in USA, and more…

Thanks for following up to here and wishing all the best of luck in the New Year, especially to all Comelite clients that made this possible.

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Web Design Trends: What You Should Know

When it comes down to web design, many controversies exist as people have different tastes and likes/dislikes. It all comes down to the impression you will leave on your website visitors. Did they get the info they were looking for? Were they able to navigate easily through your links? Did they use a mobile device, and how did the website look? Were you able to get them to visit where you wanted to, and did the website load fast enough? Well I can go on and on, but in this article, we want to analyze the latest web design trends, and what’s popular in 2017.

Bold Web Design Trends: Typography

When it comes down to typefaces, fonts and typography, what’s in style is boldness and courage. Making a statement. What font you use will definitely determine how the eyes of your reader skim through the text and how much intake they have and one of the most important web design trends.

As indicated in Awwwards, one of the most recommended and favorable Google Web Fonts is Open Sans, Josefine Slab, Arvo, Lato (one of my favorites), Ubuntu and a few more. Still many designers prefer sans-serif fonts whereas the web design trends indicate you can be bold and use Serif and Monospaced typefaces (“typewriter”) to stand out.


web design trends - fonts

 

Here are a few of our latest samples shown in Kaso Group, Memecs, and Bioshield Global Solutions.

web design trends - Kaso

web design trends - Memecs

Freedom in Diversity

In opposite to the much favored minimalistic designs of 2016, web design trends in 2017 indicate a freedom in web design, such as using a variety of forms and geometric shapes, from diagonals, to overlapping squares and more. What’s important, is to not cross the responsive design rule. In the Kaso Group new revamp we did, we made use of diagonal composition in the separators of each section:

web design trends - Kaso Mall

Or the overlapping concept as displayed here:

web design trends - overlap

Another method to indicate freedom is the use of colors. One way to stand out is to make it grayscale, and make a statement this way, like what we did in the Memecs website. Also you can see the artistic blend of photography giving it an authentic look (explained in the next section).

web design trends - memecs

Be Authentic in Photography

One of the most important web design trends in 2017 is originality in photography. People don’t like to see general stock photos and want to see your real brand and who you are.

In the Jyia website, this is emphasized and shown to the most beautiful lively extent possible, you can just take a look at some of the photography used. This is a unique Indian cuisine restaurant based in Saudi Arabia, being bilingual, with reservations, online shopping and loyalty features. They even included an authentic video footage showing their classy restaurant.

AI Chat Bots

Another of the latest web design trends of 2017 is usage of AI and especially AI chatbots. In our Universal Chat product, we have combined AI chatbots, humans and your favorite messengers and platforms. What’s the use of this and how does it affect your website? Well this was fully elaborated in our how to boost sales article, but basically the chatbot equipped with AI is like greeting customers at your doorstep and seeing exactly what they need, at the time they want it. In addition to this, you can use AI tools like crazyegg to track what users do on your website, how they interact, where they click and more to understand the user experience on your website.

Bright Colors and Gradients

That’s right, you saw it correctly. Bright colors and gradients are indeed one of the newest web design trends. People love attractive bright tones and attractive hues, such as what you can see in Spotify. Google’s famous Material Palette lets you choose the primary and accent color of your website as well as providing the next colors to go with it.

web design trends - google palette

Even duo-tone images like used in Adison Partner’s beautiful website are in the trend now.

web design trends - duotone

Conclusion

This is a short glimpse of the web design trends of 2017 but there’s more to come. Stay tuned for later articles on other web design trends and considerations. Hope you got some new light on what’s boosting in web design.

Sign up for our Newsletter to receive the latest updates. 

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How it was Done: Comelite Restaurant Projects

As long as I recall, in my career in the IT sector one of my favorite industries to serve is the hospitality sector. There are many reasons why this is a favorable industry and one of the most obvious ones is that it serves others, it’s a constant and vital need and you can always improve it. Here we want to feature some Comelite restaurant projects.

Comelite Restaurant Projects: One of my first

One of my first restaurant projects was for The Burger Stop in Saudi Arabia. They had a very nice logo and beautiful pictures and it was a pleasure to work with them. This was bilingual website with elegant photography and a unique design and menu presentation. Another restaurant project we did before 2016 was poster and billboard design for Burger Joint in Iraq.

Also, I was in charge of a mobile app project called WAIN, which served as a hybrid app for finding restaurants in Iraq, including beverages, sweets and of course food. This app had a backend where the owner could fill in the restaurants information and carry out a business plan with each restaurant to get them listed. These were just the first of Comelite restaurant projects.

Restaurant projects in 2016

Last year, I had the honor of being in charge of the Delight Bakery project, which consisted of a one-page website, logo design (which there was much controversy on which to choose), profile, and stationary items.

Later in 2016 we were pleased to work with Arabzad Restaurant in Saudi Arabia where we did logo design, stationary and signage work.

One of the other Comelite restaurant projects included an app and landing page for the Reserve It company in Kuwait. This project was very pleasing and included an app to allow search for restaurants, check food menus, preview the photos, and get exact locations via Google Map.

The last Comelite restaurant project in 2016 was a bilingual website for Jyia, an Indian cuisine restaurant in Saudi Arabia. This website included loyalty features, online shopping, reservations and of course, unique and beautiful photography, courtesy of the efforts of the restaurant owner.

Latest in 2017

My latest finalized restaurant projects was for the Eathos company, where we were in charge of creating the websites for Kababji (Lebanese Cuisine) and Tortilla (California Burritos and Tacos), the UAE and progressing into KSA branch. We also were pleased to create a digital menu app for Kababji, to serve as table-top digital menus on tablets once the restaurant is launched. Using Sapaad as their backend shopping system, one of the challenges was to integrate the two websites shopping system with this popular UAE software for restaurants. The digital menu is now also offered in our mobile app packages, including a dynamic backend, customized UI, multi-platform and multi-language.

Coming Soon

With trends in the restaurant industry rising, and the constant need for ideas and promotions, I look forward to future challenges in this sector and to feature more of Comelite restaurant projects. Our latest in-development projects include finalize the website for Crepe Bechamel in Qatar, and the Cookshop restaurant in Saudi Arabia.

Follow Nadia Kamil on Twitter.

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.