E-Commerce is going through the roof in the ME

DHL Global Forwarding speaks of an ‘explosion’ of e-commerce in the Middle East, setting new records, year after year, in the region spanning from the Lebanon to Oman, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia. In 2025, it will surpass the USD 50 billion barrier, forecasts the logistics unit of DHL-Deutsche Post.

The development is driven by three key factors, growing consumer demand in combination with cutting-edge technologies and government support. Combined, these three factors jointly catapult digital economies in the Middle East skywards, states Amadou Diallo, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Middle East & Africa, in a contribution to the Dubai-based regional newspaper, Khaleej Times. In addition, the executive reminds that this trend is further accelerated by a young and tech-savvy population embracing online shopping, whereas the former generation was still reluctant to shop via the worldwide web.

Amadou Diallo of DHL Global Forwarding expects Artificial Intelligence to fundamentally transform the logistics industry – picture: company courtesy

AI betters logistics processes
The DHL executive points out that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has enormous potential to optimize logistics. Currently, AI is enabling possibilities for smarter route planning in trucking and last mile delivery, which means faster flows of goods with reduced fuel burn and greenhouse gas emissions. Customers are offered a more accurate time window regarding the delivery of their orders, along with the flexibility to individually manage that delivery. In an industry typically characterized by uncertainty, volatility and cumbersome processes, AI could be the door opener for the e-commerce business to become increasingly efficient, Amadou Diallo remarks.

Huge impact
The executive went on to say that the impact of AI on the logistics industry is immense. But this is only the beginning. Further developments are expected in Interactive AI, which will transform the customer experience. With Interactive AI, customer service automation makes immediate email responses, automated phone services, and integration with most widely used text messaging platforms, possible. This relieves employees of repetitive and uncreative tasks and enables them to perform more demanding assignments.

Chatbots are increasingly taking over tasks
According to the DHL Global Forwarding executive, Chatbots, in particular, can help logistics companies handle low to medium-volume call center queries about delivery requests, order edits, shipment tracking, and responding to FAQs. Chatbots represent today’s fastest-growing brand communication channel as illustrated by 2020 data showing a handling rate of chat completion from start to finish of almost 70%. Since then, this proportion has increased significantly. Chatbots can also facilitate valuable analytics metrics, enabling the company to better understand customer needs and enhance the customer experience.

Matching supply and demand
Once analyzed, data captured on an interactive AI platform can provide valuable insights to the business. For example, “companies may better understand customer pain points and consumer behavior patterns, enabling more effective marketing campaigns to attract potential leads,” states Mr. Diallo. It can also help retailers and e-commerce businesses to efficiently manage the supply chain while ensuring supply and demand are met at operational level.

Thanks to AI, logistics is increasingly transforming from a quiet, back-end operation into a strategic asset and value driver. Concurrently, exciting new opportunities are opening up in the logistics industry, to develop and apply innovative technology solutions to streamline operations and to increase customer contentment, the DHL manager rounds off.



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