With the exponential rise of e-commerce in MENA, consumers’ retail experiences now move rapidly between the online and offline worlds. In this context, it’s essential for traditional retailers to keep pace by adopting an omnichannel approach. Saudi retailer eXtra provides a prime example of putting this strategy into action. Here we explore how eXtra is succeeding in seamlessly connecting traditional shopping and digital experiences.

eXtra is the leading consumer electronics retailer in the GCC with over 42 stores in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman and was the first Saudi Arabian retailer to go online with a transactional website in 2011. Established in Saudi Arabia in 2002, eXtra is an electrical goods retailer with a range that covers televisions, computing, mobile communications, digital imaging, gaming and home appliances. eXtra was established to provide customers with a full shopping experience for all aspects of consumer electronics and appliances including installation and post purchase warranty services. eXtra now has over 12 million customers with 42 stores in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman. Extra was recognised in 2004 as being in the top 100 brands in Saudi Arabia.

eXtra was the first retailer to launch an e-commerce site in Saudi Arabia in 2011. It paid off: last year the company focused on developing all digital assets and online marketing in order to transform itself into a truly omnichannel player. The initiative included:

  • Improving the user interface
  • Revamping the responsive mobile site
  • Increasing the focus on web analytics
  • Rolling out a click-and-collect offer
  • Enabling consumers to pre-order items
  • Driving awareness through brand keywords in Google Search

It wasn’t long before eXtra started reaping the benefits. For example, conversion rates and pre-orders are up year over year, while more than 50% of sales now come from mobile devices and 10% of orders use click-and-collect. There’s been a 125% increase in brand keyword queries in a 10-month period.

Google search now accounts for over 40% of traffic to extra.com – the insight from Google is critical in developing our traffic potential and plans.

Mohammed Sajjad, Director of eCommerce, eXtra

eXtra’s integrated strategy has made the most of the opportunity to drive online sales through search. Year over year, the company has seen search ads deliver a 129% increase in return on investment, a 69% increase in sales and a 70% increase in revenue. “Search allows us to focus quickly on product releases and certain promotions to ensure eXtra are front of mind during customers’ purchasing decisions,” explains Mr. Sajjad. “Then, remarketing with the Google Display Network allows us to reinforce our brand and develop loyal customers in order to generate better revenues from returning visitors.”

eXtra’s MEGA sale is an annual weeklong sales event where products are promoted at up to 50% off regular prices, generating huge in-store footfall during a very short period of time, similar to Black Friday in the US. Last year, eXtra used digital to deliver incremental reach for the sale beyond the traditional in-store experience. How? By offering products online before the physical stores opened and with the obvious benefit of the MEGA sale being available online 24 hours a day for the duration of the event. This meant customers could participate in the sale without leaving the comfort of their homes. The strategy more than paid off: during the week of the MEGA sale, eXtra recorded a 13-fold increase in online transactions, a 125% increase of brand search and a threefold uplift in online conversions.

We are seeing an enormous change in the way our customers want to experience our brand – mobile as the glue between our virtual and physical channels. We will continue to invest and learn how to exploit mobile as a key opportunity in the coming year.

Mujeeb Hazzaa, Chief Business Development Officer, eXtra

Of course, the story hardly ends online – eXtra also used digital to drive its customers to visit physical stores by using features such as location extensions and click-to-call functionality in online ads. During the MEGA sale, the brand experienced 100-fold growth in “get directions” clicks versus the monthly average and a 23-fold uplift in click-to-call usage versus the monthly average.

These effort to bridge the gap between the online and offline has helped eXtra sell more products, better serve customer needs and expectations and maintain a leadership position in the industry. In fact, eXtra was named “omnichannel retailer of the year in GCC” in 2015.