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Why Middle East checkouts need a Millennial makeover

Next-gen shoppers can help merchants future-proof their checkouts

In the Middle East, a new generation of digital-savvy, mobile-first consumers is coming to the fore. As their dominance grows, their preferences are changing the shape of payments in the region. They’re also influencing merchants’ POS investment as they aim to keep pace with new demands.

Over 108 million people in the Middle East (ME), more than 28% of the population, are now aged between 15 and 29. Millennials and Gen Z now represent a large proportion of the region’s spending power. They form a distinct tribe of shoppers, with different behaviours and preferences from their older counterparts.

One of the biggest contrasts is that they are much more connected. Almost all (97%) of ME Millennials are on the internet, and 56% are always looking for ways to integrate technology into their lives. It means that eCommerce in the region is on the rise among this segment. A Kearney study shows that 60% of GCC millennials now shop online.

ME merchants will have to work harder to attract Millennials to store

Many ME retailers are looking for new ways to raise their game and make brick-and-mortar outlets more appealing to younger audiences. The checkout experience is an important part of the physical sales journey making the POS a major battleground to win them over.

Here are some key attributes for ME Millennials and what they mean for merchants looking to invest in new POS devices.

Mobile-first

Not only does ME have the highest smartphone penetration in the world (98%), Millennials here use them more too. Importantly they also want to use them to pay and won’t be forgiving if retailers can’t offer mobile payments at the checkout. It’s why Castles has seen an uplift in devices for contactless and mobile payments in the region.

Connected lifestyles

In the UAE and KSA, 97.7% of Millennials are online daily. It means they are likely to be interested in hybrid and omnichannel services. Retailers can use this to encourage them to come to stores with services such as buy online and pay in-store (BOPIS), click and collect, and curbside delivery. Retailers should ensure any new POS systems can support connected services too with easy installation of updates and new apps.

Loyalty-driven

One of the biggest benefits of winning over this segment is their loyalty. According to the Google Consumer Barometer, Millennials in the Middle East demonstrate more brand loyalty than their peers in the US, the UK, Japan or Australia. Having POS devices that can deliver added value services – like loyalty points and rewards – can be a big hit with this group.

Speed and convenience orientated

Social platforms are reducing attention spans. Millennials and Gen Z are looking for a stress-free purchase process: queuing is no longer acceptable in their fast-paced, dynamic lives. Contactless and mobile POS help keep throughput high and queue low. Where products and locations make it viable, it may also make sense to install unattended or kiosk checkouts so they can self-serve to accelerate their sales journeys.

It’s easy to see why understanding next-gen shoppers, can help merchants future-proof their checkouts. With Castles’ local market insight and world-class android devices, they can do both.

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