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Business Home > Opinion Analysis
Join the online marketing revolution or fade away

Michael Lahyani (Property Focus) / 24 June 2012

We have come a long way since the first copies of newspaper rolled off the presses around 400 years ago and each of us is now part of an online era that affects everything we do.

In Dubai, which in the past has been somewhat slow to embrace the virtual marketplace, retailers are noticing a big increase in awareness among residents about useful websites that is in turn spurring them to start clicking and spending.

Going online to buy a tablet computer, an air ticket or a designer shirt is becoming the norm and because of this, more businesses are moving online to capitalise on the region’s growing e-commerce market.

Central to the need to embrace the online arena is its sheer versatility. For many, print media still holds a strong appeal, but it can’t compete with the fact that online information can be updated so quickly and easily, and that advertisements can be interactive and even animated — plus, crucially, dropped or amended at whim.

To put it bluntly, businesses that refuse to get online — or do it half-heartedly — are risking failing altogether, because if they don’t embrace the internet, their competitors surely will.

The internet community now boasts millions of users that are all are potential customers, with the majority of them surfing the net 24/7 — so think how wide you could expand your business window from a simple website.

Websites are designed popularise products and services around the world. If you try to embrace as many people as you can, you will gain more flow and potential sales profits, traffic and high numbers are a pre cursor to converting traffic into sales.

And having a presence online not only means you can please your customers, but you can know them better too. By tracking visitor searches companies can accurately understand consumer needs. For us at propertyfinder.ae, it means we can assess market trends, get a feel for what type of property is currently popular and which areas in Dubai are doing well. We can also understand better what information people are trying to find and cater our services accordingly.

We recently partnered up with Yahoo! Maktoob because we recognise that people want convenience and speed when they use the net — time being after all the most precious commodity any of us have. The partnership with Yahoo! means that users can now browse all our properties without feeling like they’re leaving the Yahoo! portal.

The big winner of the transition to the cyber world is of course the audience. They can now find any news or products — or in our case any property — with a click of a button, whereas a few years back finding the information you needed was often a painful task.

The internet has changed every part of society, as so dramatically shown by the recent events in other Arab countries.

As an information tool it is easily accessible for everyone, it offers infinite opportunities — and it is here to stay.

The writer is CEO and founder of propertyfinder.ae. Views expressed by the author are his own and do not reflect the newspaper’s policy


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