KSA consumers open to robotics in restaurants: Deliverect study

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Deliverect, a global scale-up that integrates and accelerates online orders for restaurants and food businesses, today announced new consumer research that examines ‘The Four Ds of Digital Success’ - Discover, Deliver, Delight and Drive. The research revealed that people are relying on digital platforms more than ever to discover new restaurants, conduct research on what they offer and build a lasting relationship with the brand itself.The results show that KSA consumers are open to the role that robotics will play in restaurants compared to the US and UK, with 66% comfortable with drones and robots carrying out food preparation (63%) or service (72%). In fact, when consumers in Saudi Arabia were asked about the technologies that help create a positive experience at a restaurant, more that 50% prioritized QR codes and contactless payments.The survey of 5,000 people, including 1,000 in KSA, which was commissioned by Deliverect and conducted by Censuswide, revealed the important role that technology plays in each stage of the consumer journey, from how they first discover restaurants to what ultimately drives customer loyalty and repeat orders.The Discovery PhaseThe results showed that 34% of KSA consumers are using Google Search, 56% are using food delivery apps and 29% are using social media platforms to find new restaurants. When it comes to researching these newly discovered restaurants, 86% of consumers would go directly to a brand’s website or food delivery apps.The research also delved into what KSA consumers are looking for as part of this research and what leads to them ordering from a particular establishment, with a variety of menu options (94%), affordability (95%) and high standard of health and safety (93%) all scoring highly.Naji Haddad, MENA General Manager at Deliverect, said: “With Saudi Arabia’s Food and Beverage sector being the largest in the MENA region, people’s views are crucial to understand their preferences, especially at a time when the sector is growing rapidly. The survey results show that delivery apps and websites are still the most popular method when it comes to identifying new outlets which is no surprise considering that technology is at our fingertips through the use of mobile phones and tablets.”“As the Kingdom continues to develop and transform itself into a leading global destination for trade, business and tourism, there is no doubt that the F&B sector will go from strength to strength and outlets must begin to embrace changes in their day-to-day operations to better serve their customers – both in the short and long-term.”Delivering at Every TouchpointThe research reveals that once a decision is made on where they would like to order from, 38% of the customers in Saudi Arabia choose to do so from delivery apps. 64% said that it is easier to use than other mediums, while 52% like that they have access to reviews and ratings and 35% enjoy the premium features. Analysing the data, it’s clear that a cohesive and intuitive digital experience is essential when it comes to building brand loyalty and delivering your brand everywhere and at every touchpoint.Surprise and DelightThe element of ‘human touch’ can also help drive personalization, make customers feel valued and complement your digital brand. When asked what makes people in KSA feel loyal to a restaurant, friendly and attentive staff (24%), fast delivery (40%) and reliable and accurate service (21%) and special offers (30%) all appeared as key elements in delighting customers when engaging with a restaurant, all of which can be driven by a blend of digital experiences and human interaction.Drive Loyalty and Customer SatisfactionDigitization is clearly imperative in driving consumer loyalty in the Kingdom. When asked about the features they value the most when ordering from a restaurant’s website or app, 35% prioritized the menu details, and 43% chose the easy-to-use navigation, further proving just how valuable digital elements are from initial discovery to repeat purchases.Zhong Xu, CEO and Co-Founder of Deliverect, commented: “It’s not surprising that consumers are increasingly relying on digital platforms to enhance their restaurant interactions and engagement, especially following the pandemic where a lot of new technology became commonplace in our everyday lives,” said“The findings outline the importance of restaurant brands creating a strong digital presence, maintaining consistency, and offering compelling experiences to stand out in a competitive market, all of which cannot be underestimated when it comes to sustaining growth and increasing customer retention. Integrating a perfect blend of technology, human interaction and personalization is a must for all restaurants looking to make a lasting impact.”

Eight of ten of UAE CEOs see AI as an important enabler for cybersecurity

According to new research by Censuswide, commissioned by Palo Alto Networks, 95% of UAE organisations surveyed plan to increase investment in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies to improve their respective cybersecurity strategy, with 81% seeing AI as an important enabler for their organisation’s overall approach to cybersecurity.“As organisations adopt new technologies at a rapid pace, it is critical that they take steps to improve their cybersecurity posture, including their ability to detect and respond to threats in real-time,” said Ercan Aydin, Regional Vice President at Palo Alto Networks, Middle East and Africa (MEA). “By incorporating AI into their cybersecurity strategies, organisations in the UAE and regionally can improve their ability to defend against a wide range of cyber threats, reduce response times, and gain better visibility into their security posture – combined with other best cybersecurity practices such as employee training, strong policies, and a layered security approach.”The research found that 94% of UAE respondents understand the potential cyber risks, and 89% feel their organisation is cyber-ready. However, 52% of organisations researched said they have seen an increase in cyberattacks in the past 12 months.69% of CEOs researched said that cybersecurity is a board-level issue within their organisation, 39% have said they are accountable with the CIO for ensuring their organisation is protected against cyberattacks, especially if that could impact the business, customers and reputation.While 65%5 said they are looking to increase investment in cybersecurity protection, 92% of respondents have confirmed that their company’s CIO or CISO plan to lower the number of security solutions deployed in order to reduce complexity.Palo Alto Networks is showcasing its leading cybersecurity technology at GITEX Global 2023, with live demos of its best-in-class cybersecurity platforms representing three main security pillars plus services: Strata (The Networks Security with NGFW and SASE), Cortex (Endpoint security and SoC Automation, Unit 42 Incident Response), Prisma Cloud (Cloud Security) and Professional Services.The research was conducted by Censuswide with 502 CEOs across the UAE and Saudi Arabia between 20.09.2023 - 28.09.2023. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.

Saudi IT decision-makers consider automation of networking solutions crucial

Juniper Networks, a leader in secure, AI-driven networks, today announced the findings of a survey based in Saudi Arabia examining the understanding of the experience economy among IT decision makers and enterprise employees. The research also considers the strategic influence of the experience economy on future IT investments and gauges the level of digital readiness among organisations in the context of the Digital Economy Policy of Saudi Arabia.The experience economy refers to an economic model where public and private sector organisations shift their focus from selling products or services to offering and monetising memorable and transformative experiences for their customers.The new research, conducted by Censuswide* on Juniper’s behalf, surveyed 304 IT decision makers with over 500 employees across the government, education, retail, oil/ gas, healthcare, travel and transport and manufacturing & utilities sectors of the UAE and KSA’s economies. The IT respondents are directly involved in executing their organisation’s digitisation efforts, technology investment plans and talent development.The research highlights that 45 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia think their organisation's C-level leadership does have a thorough understanding of the experience economy concept. Additionally, 83 percent of respondents agree[1] that their organisation is already capitalising on the experience economy.Within this context, the findings provide insights into three key themes: digital maturity, value of an intelligent network, AI-driven talent and skilling.Digital Maturity vs. Challenges to Digitisation:Categorising organisations into relative levels of digital transformation, 37 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia consider their organisation to be a leader in digital transformation. In comparison, only nine percent think their organisation is a digital laggard. Bearing in mind IT investment is a major boost for an organisation on its digital journey, 33 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia said that their organisation has already invested in capable IT infrastructure to deliver optimised, personalised experiences to employees and customers. A further 52 percent said their organisation is currently investing in capable IT infrastructure, highlighting the importance of the network in driving successful digital transformation.While these numbers indicate the level of appetite among organisations in Saudi Arabia for digital transformation and the experience economy, surprisingly, it is peer pressure and a fear of being left behind that appear to be a key driver in many people’s minds. As highlighted by 53 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia, the driving factor for the uptake within their organisations is benchmarking competitors and peers performing better at digitisation.  While the level of digital maturity and capable IT infrastructure appears to be in place for most organisations, challenges to delivering digital experiences that matter to customers still exist. Additionally, the research found that 32 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia highlighted lack of digital strategy and planning as their primary challenge, followed by budget constraints (29 percent) and buy-in from the C-level leadership (21 percent).The Value of Investing in an Intelligent Network:While organisations are investing in agile IT infrastructures to deliver on the promise of enhanced products and services, the role of intelligent networking solutions has taken center-stage in this conversation across the board. Laying emphasis on capitalisation of the experience economy, 99 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia feel their C-level leadership considers the network to be critically important/important. However, in an effort to demand more from networking solutions, 99 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia believe automation of networks is critically important/important to lead in the experience economy.The experience economy has also impacted workplace trends that are further shaping how organisations work and operate. As the workforce adapts to new and flexible modes of work, 87 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia strongly agree/somewhat agree that their organisation’s networking strategies need to be elevated to keep pace with hybrid or remote work models. Adding to that, 88 percent strongly agree/somewhat agree that leveraging the 5G network is essential to accelerate the experience for employees and customers.Talent and Skill Building Mandates in the Artificial Intelligence Era:Almost all (96 percent[2]) of respondents in Saudi Arabia feel AI, Analytics and Cloud play a positive role in their organisation, and these areas are considered to be enablers of better digital user experiences and business efficiency.However, an AI-powered future requires adaptability, which can only be achieved through skill building. Nevertheless, continuing the positive perceptions, 96 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia agree that their IT team members are mostly skilled/completely skilled to leverage AI-driven networking solutions. “While Dynamic technology trends shape industries, and it is evident from our research findings that organisations in Saudi Arabia are keen to step up their digitisation efforts to capitalise on the experience economy. Two key factors that can drive them forward on this journey are robust, intelligent AI-driven networking solutions and building efficient IT skill sets. Hand in hand, both these factors can support IT decision makers and the workforce to elevate operational capabilities to keep up with the pace of an experience-led market. Overall, this also correlates to goals of the Digital Economy Policy of Saudi Arabia that center on advancing digital transformation,” said Yarob Sakhnini (pictured above), Vice President, Emerging Markets, EMEA at Juniper Networks.

Nearly 8 in 10 UAE shoppers seek better personalized offers: Adyen

Adyen (AMS: ADYEN), the global financial technology platform of choice for leading businesses, is publishing economic research that finds that retailers could potentially boost loyalty of 69% of UAE shoppers if they switched to a unified commerce approach and stopped operating in silos.More than half of UAE shoppers are seeking a flexible shopping journey that offers their favourite payment methods, buying online and returning in store and purchasing an out-of-stock item and shipping them directly home.Adyen commissioned Opinium LLP to survey 1000 UAE consumers out of 36,000 globally, and Censuswide to survey 500 UAE merchants out of 12,000 globally. The goal was to understand how recent are impacting businesses worldwide, with a specific focus on markets like the UAE. This research also explores changes in shopper behaviour across various markets and delves into the preferences of UAE shoppers, as well as the current performance of retailers. Economic modelling conducted by the Cebr shows how unified commerce, which involves connecting online and offline payments in one system, supports greater retail resilience in a demanding and competitive retail environment.The overwhelming majority 80% of UAE consumers globally said they spend more time searching for the best deals and prices[1], while almost one third 30% wait for big calendar moments like Black Friday before making a purchase. In response, 52% of UAE merchants believe the impact of inflation is such that they need to offer discounts to consumers year-round. The research found that in face of the rising cost of living personalisation and loyalty have become increasingly important. 78% of UAE consumers want to see more discounting at retailers they shop with and 67% say they want businesses to remember their preferences and previous shopping experiences so that browsing is more tailored. UAE Retailers are finding it hard to deliver on this, with 58% suggesting it’s now harder to categorise customers.The tech advantage69% of UAE consumers say that they’d be more loyal to retailers that let them buy online and return in-store, and nearly two-thirds 64% suggested they’d have better shopping experiences if a business enables them to shop in store and finish online or vice versa.Further, when consumers were asked about how technology makes them feel when shopping in-store, the result is overwhelmingly positive. Little less than half 43% said they were happier because shopping was quicker, and slightly more than one-third 36% said they would visit a store more frequently as a result of its technology implementation.UAE retailers are recognizing the significance of connecting all sales channels. In fact, this region is familiar with unified commerce, as 50% of retailers have already begun investing in this strategy in the past year, and 45% are considering its implementation.“We have always recognized the potential of unified commerce for businesses and its ability to elevate the shoppers' experience. It's great to witness that in the UAE, over half of the retailers have also acknowledged its potential and chosen to invest in it," said Sander Maertens, Head of the Middle East. “And despite the significant changes in consumer behaviour over recent years, retailers who have embraced unified commerce will find it easier to navigate and adapt to these shifts.""Through Adyen's financial technology platform, businesses leverage unified commerce, bringing together all payment data into a powerful system. This integrated approach provides valuable insights into customer behaviour, enabling organisations to meet their shopping expectations effectively. In the dynamic world of the retail sector, where speed is crucial, technology proves vital in building operational resilience amidst the ever-changing landscape."