The issues confronting the growth and development of E-Marketing in KSA today
There is a high growth rate of Information Technology (IT) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in the present days due to the high sales of personal computers (PC) and the improvement in the internet sector. According to the Ministry of Commerce in KSA, the e-marketing practices are not growing at the same rate as the growth of IT which therefore calls for the evaluation of the South web practices (Al-Otaibi & Al-ZAhrani). The development of web services and the growth of internet are the two major contributions in the growth of the E-marketing in every nation in the world. The use of internet is continuously booming worldwide whereby a big population is turning to the use of E-commerce both globally and locally in Saudi Arabia. With the current estimation of around 28 million citizens in the country, the IT sector has recorded a growth rate of 9.3% with the spending on the e-commerce estimated at SR12 billion (Eid 2011). However, cultural factors such as the tradition of oral communication, which gives more weight to word of mouth advertisement than text and images found on the web, may be a contributing factor in the success of e-marketing in the Arab region (Fandy 2000).
The KSA marketing dimension is concerned with the ability of the website to attract more customers and presenting goods and services offers in a more intelligent manner. This is done through the three features which include: targeting the correct audience; providing customer-centric services; and gathering information concerning the individual customers and giving the necessary services. Many people have not yet realized the need of internet in business activities therefore most of them use the internet for social reasons like sending friendly emails and chatting with friends. The survey carried out in Saudi Arabia concluded that only 3% of businesses in the area make proper use of E-marketing through interactions with the customers while 88% use internet for communication purposes between the management and employees. The entrepreneurs are failing to use the IT in advertising their businesses to attract more customers which has resulted in the slow growth of the E-Marketing industry (Al-Kahtani 2010).
The Timesjobs magazine, on April 2009 highlights the three major issues which have contributed to the slow growth of e-marketing in Saudi Arabia. The first reason concerns the high cost of internet whereby the internet lending companies’ charges are too costly for the individuals to afford therefore they are reluctant to use the internet due to the additional costs. The second reason is the low literacy levels among the people of KSA. The education levels among people of KSA are low therefore many have no knowledge on the use of computers which leads to low growth in the IT sector. The final reason is on the poor internet connectivity which affects both the individuals and the...