One of the significant business model developments encouraged by digital renaissance is the birth of digital marketplaces, professionally known as ‘eCommerce’. The rise of eCommerce came with an entire evolution to brands’ experiences, market dynamics and consumer empowerment. The eCommerce market in MENA today is worth billions of dollars, with Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt taking the lion’s share, creating limitless possibilities for brands of the region. The Brandberries has exclusively interviewed Hussein Mohieldin, CEO of Robusta – A regional leading tech leader and the mastermind behind organising the first eCommerce summit in Egypt, for his take on how eCommerce empowers businesses.


BB: The eCommerce market in the Middle East has been on a massive rise, unlocking a wide multitude of opportunities for retail and non-retail brands as well. Can you shed some light on how eCommerce can be a pivotal growth imperative for businesses?

HM: E-commerce offers opportunities to many businesses to extend their market reach and to become competitive producers for the local market or as part of global supply chains. This includes suppliers of traditional Egyptian products such as handicrafts, furniture and textiles, as well as agricultural products and other rural products of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

Many businesses still have no awareness of the utility or value of e-commerce or selling online. Small businesses, in particular, would benefit from more awareness of consumer rights and their business obligations to consumers with regards to e-commerce. Many stakeholders – including retailers, e-commerce platform companies, banks, Egypt Post and schools – should contribute to raising awareness and disseminating information on e-commerce and related e-payments and services, leveraging all media channels.

BB: Global giants like Amazon and eBay were the trailblazers at the forefront of the eCommerce industry, revolutionizing the whole customer experience equation. What does eCommerce mean for consumers? And how is it reshaping the way consumers engage with brand?

HM: The potential for online retail is strong, e-Commerce sales are growing year-by-year. Brands now are converging to create a unique and unified personalized shopping experience for the consumer. By seamlessly bringing together various forms of technology, both retailers and consumers benefit enormously from the ideals of enabling digital convergence.


For consumers, the wide variety of options at the tip of their fingers allows for ease in the shopping experience, expediting decision-making and delivery of sold products creating better convenience. This means that consumers need competitive prices and good quality to be encouraged to purchase products online.

Digital information is now blended with in-store experiences and has reshaped the way brands communicate and interact with shoppers online. It is now more important than ever, for brands to create outstanding digital experiences to engage consumers online-to-offline through omni-channel communication strategies.

BB: robusta is taking the lead to mobilise the eCommerce industry in Egypt with the country’s first eCommerce summit, to be held at the 26th of this month in the heart of Cairo. Can you elaborate on the vision behind the summit and how it will act as an industry catalyst?

HM: robusta has been active in the Egyptian market since 2007 as a leading service provider for e-commerce solutions. The past 11 years have helped us to develop a unique understanding of the market and its need. Observing the current growth in the volume of retail transactions in Egypt and the increase in its demand, we knew it would be a matter of time before e-commerce became a main channel for retail groups. Therefore, we felt the need to create a unified platform for the industry and that is the first e-commerce summit.

The aim of the summit is to encourage innovation, and recognize achievements in the sector to ensure there is consistent progress. In addition to, inspiring established companies to embrace digital technologies and empower start-ups to innovate in the field. Our hope is for the summit to drive the Egyptian businesses to take the necessary steps in order to leverage e-commerce for their consumer’s satisfaction and to enhance the competitiveness in this sector.

BB: In this digital era, countries embrace eCommerce to put themselves on the global map of ‘digital economies’. How can eCommerce help Egypt become a country with a ‘digital economy’?

HM: Egypt’s e-commerce market has grown gradually since the late 1990s, when the first Egyptian-owned e-commerce companies were founded. However, the market is still in its infancy. The number of e-commerce websites in Egypt has reached a total of 450 different online retailers and marketplaces in Egypt in 2015, and the B2C E-Commerce turnover showed a 22% growth in 2017.

I view the upcoming years as the dawn of a new era for Egypt’s digital economy, with even more Egyptians going online. E-commerce in Egypt can play a crucial role in achieving the country’s developmental goals, as Egypt aspires to harness the power of e-commerce to help catalyze innovation, growth and social prosperity in the digital economy; support and enhance trade; enable the development of new businesses and services; and increase people’s welfare.

Furthermore, the inception of e-commerce in the Egyptian market will further support the government’s 2030 vision for digital transformation.