Virtual World Marketing in Egypt

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VIRTUAL WORLD MARKETING IN EGYPT A SURVEY OF VIRTUAL MARKETING AMONG YOUTH Dr. Nagwa El Gazzar Professor of Communication Misr International University


We live in the age of virtual customerIn the Internet age, customers often find the business (instead of the other way around). Although the Internet has made it perfectly reasonable to meet customers you've never met in-person, it has also created new expectations among consumers. Understanding the way business has shifted in the Internet age of a country like Egypt, can help businesses bring the potential of marketing into the virtual world.


What is meant by Virtual MarketingA virtual experience is a simulation of a real or physical experience, occurs within a computer-mediated environment, located between direct (i.e., product trial) and indirect (i.e., traditional advertising) experience along the spectrum of consumer learning. It is part of a larger spectrum of direct marketing techniques, where marketing of products and services can happen directly without being into a retail store. It can happen through TV, a catalog, or computer mediated environment.


Marketing in a Virtual WorldThe Internet has the ability to serve as a more powerful marketing medium than traditional print or broadcast media. Consumers are able to interact with products in 3D multimedia environments, thus simulating a new form of experience—a virtual experience. The introduction of (3D) product visualization technology as a new form of rich media advertising, enabled consumers to interact with a virtual product much like they would with a physical product.


Virtual Marketing worldwideStemmed from direct marketing Through catalogs/ direct mail/ print media Direct response radio, TV networks The internet, e-commerce And now: marketing of brands, introducing new products in second life “virtual worlds offer a new way for businesses to inject their brands”.


In Egypt, who uses the internet/ practice virtual marketing? ( Internet has grown quickly ... The number of internet users increased to 13 million users (by the end of Jan.-March 2009) compared to 9.84 million in 2006. Government and Citizens Relationship 34% of Egyptian government entities use the Internet. 78% of government entities that use the Internet had a website or web presence by June 2008. A growing number of Egyptian private enterprises conduct business over the Internet Egyptian private enterprises using the internet increased to 59.6% . Around two-thirds of the enterprises engaging in e-commerce in Egypt use the Internet to receive and sell goods & services, (67.6%), place orders and buy goods/services , or use it to receive technical and financial offers, while more than half (53.7%) use it to advertise their goods and services.


Private enterprises are gaining significantly from using the Internet93% of Egyptian private enterprises using the Internet in 2008 considered that it helped them to: speed up their operations, (53%) believed it increased customer accessibility. Other benefits included reducing transaction costs, and increasing security.


Market potentials of e-marketing in EgyptStill, usage could be increased among the elderly, women and people with low incomes. Individuals aged from 16 to 54 years are 59% of Egypt’s population and 94% of the country’s Internet users. Individuals aged from 55 to 74 years constitute 8.15% of the population and only 5.8% of the country’s Internet users. The gap in Internet usage between males and females in Egypt is decreasing – (changed from Male/Female 61/39% in Jan 2008 to 59/41 in Jan 2009). Also the gap between urban and rural areas is clear with regard to household use of ADSL.


Environment of virtual marketing in EgyptWebsites that use virtual marketing as their major promotion tool such as,, , (which is devoted for making trade or business with Egypt), (specialized in wholesale via the internet or telephone for the Egyptian market), (e-catalogs for office procurement), There are few direct marketing companies that deal only through catalogs, working successfully as Avon, Oriflame. There is one television channel devoted for direct response advertising- Tamima, it also uses internet in it’s sales.


Expected virtual customers in Egypt are:younger ages, higher income groups, who live in urban rather than rural areas.


To understand how virtual marketing influence customers - Questions to answerWhat is the case of virtual marketing in Egypt: General virtual marketing habits: How does the Egyptian consumer deal with virtual marketing? How does the consumer go shopping? What are the most products and services that are marketed virtually? What are the most used websites on the local and international levels? Facets of virtual communication: What is the process the consumer passes by starting from information search and product recognition till forming an attitude towards the product or service and finally buying the product? How these facets of communication happen in detail? The future of the industry What is the future of virtual marketing in Egypt?


Survey results:Sample: 164 university students, aged between 18-25, A/B class. 36% males, 64% females. They all have computers, browse the internet. Only 16% of the sample research their purchases online before they shop in person. They use websites and search engines to conduct their research.


Virtual shopping habits among young generationThe majority of sample 76% prefer to shop directly at a mall, and 7% prefer to shop online than shopping directly. 75% of the sample have virtual shopping experience either through catalog or online, while 21% stated that they don’t prefer virtual shopping because they are not familiar with order what they don’t see or they suspect submitting their personal info to someone they don’t know.


Virtual shopping habitsThe young generation buy several product categories virtually. The most products purchased are clothes and beauty care products, followed by PCs, mobiles and cameras, then books. Consequently most websites they log to are of clothes as mango, zara, H&M. Others log to specific brands websites as Nokia, Apple, Sony,..etc. Almost all of websites they log to are international. Only 12% of the sample mentioned Arabic websites as Masraway or


Facets of virtual communication:Awareness When asked how do you know about the websites or catalogs to shop from, the majority- 63% mentioned that they use google or yahoo search bar, 16.5% write the brand name directly, or they go directly to a website based on their friends’ advice- 18% Information and memorization How they keep the info for reference: 25% rely on their memory for storing information, while 58% save the page or add it to favorites.


Attitudes towards virtual shopping:Most of the sample- 61% are aware of the variety of forms of direct marketing since they agreed to the statement: Shopping online is the same as shopping from TV or print ads , I don't see the product before I receive it They think that the practice of virtual marketing in Egypt needs more people to believe in it and practice it, 84% agreed and were neutral to the statement Shopping online in Egypt will not develop because we don't have the culture of online shopping


Trust in internet banking96% of the sample supported the statement (28% of them neutral) that highlight one of the basic obstacles for enhancing e-marketing environment which is the problem of trust I don't like sending personal or credit card information over the net That above idea was confirmed in their support to the statement: I don't trust websites of retailers inside Egypt.


Shopping online72% of the sample enjoy shopping online and consider it great pleasure. 32% supported the idea that it saves time, while 43% were neutral. Maybe they consider it time consuming. As for convenience in shopping, the majority – 52% were neutral to the statement, and 34% disagree to the statement Online shopping is a convenient way to buy products I guess the reason might be customs and receiving procedures.


Does it worth it??46% were neutral to the statement Shopping online worth what I pay for it, and 33% disagreed. The answer to why it is not worth it is presented in their agreement to the statement – 72% Buying through catalogs is very limited in Egypt. It is not worth it because they don’t think there is variety online or through available catalogs as in direct experience.


Factors important for shopping onlineRespondents were asked to give a grade for the most important factors for them to do more virtual shopping. The highest factors in grade were: guarantee (57%), reputation of the brand (50%) price (47%), displayed pictures and technical information (44%), security of purchases (41%)


Future intentions for virtual marketing64% mentioned maybe they will go online shopping, in front of 27% said yes, I plan to do online shopping. The reasons that might cause them to do more virtual shopping in the future were varied: (in order of highest percentages) prices are better online (33%), more 2D and 3D pictures (315), variety of goods (28%), faster page download (24%), better product description which is not misleading.


The future of virtual marketing in EgyptEgypt has great potential for practicing virtual marketing: the huge market of purchasing power, the internet facilities that are in continuous progress, the building of banking culture, traffic jams and inconvenience of direct shopping in malls.


Lessons for the government:The number of new generation using the internet is rapidly increasing. The government should use this channel in communication for development. Government should present more trust in credit transactions, support the efforts of enhancing internet banking. There is already a good step from the union of banks- launched a campaign to encourage having a bank account.


Enhancing e- commerce Advices for the commercial sectorEgypt is a perfect consumer market for most products. The most two elements that give best impressions either in obtaining precise info, or in forming positive attitude are two pillars: the 2D,3D pictures that is worth million words, and the description or elaboration that adds more to understanding and push for taking action. Providing guarantee, internet security and convenient shipping act more towards enhancing behavior, encouraging and pushing towards making buying decisions.


Thank you

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Last Updated: 8th March 2018

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