The e-commerce industry has risen greatly in the past few years, and with Amazon on the path to purchasing (an indication of the potential that the region holds for e-commerce), this is a watershed moment for platforms.  Marwan Elnakat, Digital Banking Solutions Manager for the CISMEA region at Gemalto tells us his thoughts…

Tell us about the e-commerce landscape in the region?

The growth of e-commerce

The growth of e-commerce

The e-commerce industry in the Middle East has grown significantly over the years and Frost and Sullivan predicts it to grow by 40% across the GCC by 2020, with sales expected to reach US$41.5 billion. This would mark the highest revenue in the industry worldwide, led by the UAE with 53% market share. Consequently, there has been an increase in fraud in e-commerce, reported by many cybercrime organisations. The value of online fraudulent transactions is expected to reach over US$25.6 billion globally by 2020, up from US%10.7 billion last year.

Growth in e-commerce in the Middle East region is encouraging the deployment and adoption of new online payment security solutions, while demand for an optimised payments experience – in terms of speed, convenience and multi-channel accessibility – is diffusing into the corporate and retail payment arenas.

The rapid industry growth also calls for increased security measures across all platforms, mobile banking and eCommerce to secure online transactions. To address this need, solutions such as Gemalto Mobile Secure Messenger transform any smartphone into a universal secure key, which can be used to secure access to all banking channels and digital services. Gemalto Mobile Secure Messenger enables users to strongly authenticate and validate payment operations from PC, tablet and mobile banking, e-commerce, proximity payment, ATM and branches.

How can e-tailers enhance the customer experience?

To enhance the customer experience and further boost eCommerce revenue, e-tailers must implement security features that provide seamless authentication. In that respect, biometric authentication is quickly establishing itself as the most convenient way of identifying and authenticating individuals in a reliable and fast manner.

Why is this so important?

A user friendly experience

A user friendly experience

Convenient security is paramount to a user-friendly and safe mobile and digital banking experience. So far in the region we have seen businesses adopt a single authentication method to secure online payment. However, times are changing and e-tailers must adapt to every individual’s unique set of needs in order to maintain a positive customer experience.

A great option to enhance customer experience is to adopt, as a part of the online security strategy, a wider range of authentication methods, including not only mobile ‘One-Time-Password’ solutions but also biometric authentication through facial recognition, finger print or voice recognition, so customers can select the authentication method most suited to their needs and way of life.  Maintaining a seamless experience within the mobile ecosystem must be a priority for e-tailers to diminish fraud while preserving the consumer’s online shopping experience.

What is your top tip for online businesses?

Since secure online transactions rely on a complicated ecosystem with many potential points of vulnerability, e-tailers must adopt a multi-layered security approach. In addition to securing online payment transactions through strong authentication solutions, they must also protect their customers’ data. This means adopting a ‘secure breach’ approach to data protection which focuses on protecting sensitive data, using point-to-point encryption (P2PE). Rather than focusing on specific points of vulnerability, P2PE uses special payment terminals to encrypt card data at the earliest possible moment of its capture, ensuring that data remains in an encrypted state consistently until it arrives at the payment gateway. This means that even if an external attacker bypasses perimeter defences, or an unauthorised internal user looks to leak or steal data, the data remains protected. Such approach greatly mitigate data breaches at e-retailers and should be broadly implemented.

What challenges do business face?

Today’s e-tailers contend with increasingly sophisticated attacks, a technological environment that is evolving rapidly, and the need to comply with multiple standards and regulations. Phishing and malware, resulting in fraud, is one of the most challenging issues. With the rapid growth of online fraud, many customers are wary of transacting online because of the perceived risks involved. Unless customers trust that their details are secure, it becomes difficult for organisations to drive uptake of new services and expand their online reach. Improved security is therefore an opportunity to build client trust and loyalty, but it means finding the right balance between the level of security offered, ease of use and cost.

For information on developing business models to utilise the IoT, click here.