How Personalized Customer Engagement is a Game-Changer for Middle East Retailers during Ramadan 2021

How Personalized Customer Engagement is a Game-Changer for Middle East Retailers during Ramadan 2021

Echoing the spirit of togetherness, the holy month of Ramadan is a time well-spent with family and friends. If the last year saw people stocking up during this month as a result of panic-buying, this year, people are equipped to observe the holy month amidst the pandemic. Given the vaccination roll out has kick-started in some countries but the ongoing pandemic-related restrictions continue, the festivities are somewhat affected in the Middle Eastern region. While this time always pose a great opportunity for businesses to see a significant jump in their revenue, marketers have now found their new retail normal.

Last year, Ramadan gave rise to customer trends that shifted marketer’s focus to a new customer engagement platform that could enhance the experience of a brand’s customers. Let’s take a look at these trends and see how personalized customer engagement is now the quintessential ingredient for every marketer in the Middle East during Ramadan 2021.

1. Go Digital

Togetherness – the spirit of Ramadan led people to stay connected despite the pandemic restrictions imposed all across. In 2020, world’s largest gathering to break open the fast was organized online. This online event secured a place at the Guinness Book of World Records and gave rise to a new digital audience. Brands accordingly designed their new Ramadan marketing campaign strategy. Here are some numbers that further enabled marketers to tweak the demographics of their audience. In their recent report – ‘Ramadan: This is the Joy of DiscoveryFacebook shared some interesting insights on media consumption habits of people in the Middle East.

A look at UAE’s preferred media choices


A look at Saudi Arabia’s preferred media choices

  • Almost 44% people in UAE and 42% in Saudi Arabia spend time on their mobile device during the holy month of Ramadan.
  • An equally interesting highlight is that Whatsapp is the preferred choice over other social media channels with 39% people in Saudi Arabia and 42% in UAE opting for it.
  • This trend clearly emphasize on why marketers need to relook at their Ramadan marketing campaigns.

2. Online Shopping

While it’s debatable and still a far calling whether physical store visit could completely replace the online shopping model but this Ramadan, digital audience undoubtedly gave rise to online shopping. A Survey by (leading global payment solutions provider) tells us that 95% of Saudi Arabia and UAE residents are preferring online shopping. This is expected to grow further during Ramadan 2021. The report also indicated that this isn’t a short-term strategy but a long-term customer behavioral pattern that has resulted from the trends post Covid-19 pandemic. Now, let’s look at the expected purchases that consumers are likely to make during Ramadan 2021:


Most-shopped categories expected during Ramadan 2021

3. Personalized Customer Engagement is the key

With digital avenues opened up and online shopping becoming a rage, this Ramadan, retailers in the Middle East are focusing on building smarter marketing strategies without disrupting their brand value while catering to consumer’s shifting behavior pattern at the same time. A startling fact that emerged here was 68% Saudi viewers watch more advertisements of their favorite brands that focused on relevant messaging. Consumers are more responsive to brands that exhibit personalized shopping experience.


Personalized messaging using robust customer engagement tool

Choosing appropriate content to build Ramadan marketing campaigns is as important as selecting the medium used to deliver it. In an age where mobile is the device and direct messaging, WhatsApp communication is taking the plunge, brands are opting for personalized customization across all channels to build more engaged audience. With emerging automated marketing tools offering features like time personalization, brands can send out relevant communication, at appropriate times during Ramadan and share relevant communication with people. A personalized customer engagement tool can deliver desired outcome from a brand’s Ramadan marketing campaign.

4. Building Customer Advocacy

During the month of Ramadan, consumers would like to see brands who held themselves accountable for the marketing campaigns themed around being sensitive to the world outside and consistently care for their customers. A reason why marketers would like to engage better with their loyal customers by curating unique experiences. This is a great time to build customer loyalty and exhibit your brand value in a new light. Given the trends tipping towards digitization, a detailed mobile loyalty program could be one of the many strategies that a brand can eventually build with their audience to establish customer advocacy with the brand.

Brands building customer advocacy using loyalty programs

Ramadan 2021 offers this year…

Brands far and wide are staying connected with their consumers during Ramadan by building interesting marketing promotions like Instant gifting for high-spending customers, Gamification, free deliveries with no-cost exchanges, allowing customers to donate their loyalty points for charity, etc. Capillary Technologies powers 100+ such marketing promotions including the likes of RedTag, Bata, Malabar Gold & Diamonds among others enabling brands to deliver compelling customer experience. Take for instance, Red Tag who announced Ramadan Bonanza Raffle using gamification strategy and offering 600 Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G smartphones emphasizing on delighting their customers. Malabar Gold & Diamonds is strengthening its CSR campaign this festive season by offering over 500K iftar meals as part of this festive season.

Top Ramadan Campaigns – A Big Opportunity for Retailers

Top Ramadan Campaigns – A Big Opportunity for Retailers

While it’s easy to imagine the month of Ramadan as a freeze on most business transactions, the holy month actually sees increased activity in the retail sector; thereby offering a great window of opportunity for brands to capture the attention of a massive audience and create personalized connections.

Analysts estimate that there is a 35.8% traffic surge brought by Ramadan campaigns on ecommerce platforms during this period with overall consumer spending seeing a healthy rise of 15% to 30%.

Now, this is where brands have a great opportunity to ride the rising retail wave. But what exactly are the customers purchasing during this holy season? Food takeaways top the list followed by fashion & accessories, luxury goods (jewelry, watches) and home goods.

A quick drill down of numbers reveals that 58% of consumers plan to buy gifts for their friends while 78% of people eat out in restaurants during this period. 

Ramadan shopping list

Brands have a great opportunity to ride the rising retail wave with personalized Ramadan Campaigns. 

Cut through the Clutter with Data-driven Marketing

With so many traditional and non-traditional marketing methods and strategies available to brands, it’s essential that we take a holistic approach to cut through the clutter. Let’s keep these four aspects in mind:

Yes, we know. While this is that time of the year when brands strategize and implement great marketing Ramadan campaigns, far too many brands also land up with generic offers, discounts, and campaigns that cost them their consumers.

For instance, while weekly retail sales in the Middle East rose by 29% during Ramadan, retailers squeezed their margins to 40% by running generic promotions to achieve incremental sales. 

To truly capture the customer’s attention, it’s important for brands to stand out by using a data-driven marketing approach.

Capillary has helped largest retailers in the Middle East to understand their customers through a multi-segment strategy that categorized customers into 13 different segments based on different variables like recency, frequency, monetary, preferred shopping category, discount, etc.

Capillary’s segment-wise strategy has delivered 4.3 X ROI on brand’s marketing spends.

Here are the top 5 data-driven Ramadan Campaigns that have generated great results for the brands working with Capillary and the factors that contributed the most to customers satisfaction before, during and after Ramadan.

CAMPAIGN 1:  Global F&B brand boosts conversion rates with Targeted Ramadan Campaigns

Channels Used: SMS, Email, Push Notification

Result: 2.1% response rate, AED 138K in sales through the campaign

Maryam, a 35-year-old mother of 2 children – Fatima and Sultan – is married to Ahmed. Maryam has a craving for cheesecake and chocolate cake at 7 PM in the evening. Maryam is not an outlier in her preference; Capillary’s data revealed that cheesecakes are the most ordered product between 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. just around Iftar time and till fast breaks. The uplift in order volumes continues well after midnight until around 2 AM as Suhoor closes.

Based on this surprising insight that cheesecakes are as much popular as knafeh and other traditional Ramadan delicacies, the brand designed a targeted Ramadan campaigns to save on communication costs without any loss of sales.

Global F&B brand boosts conversion rates with Targeted Campaigns

Capillary and the brand arrived at a statistical model to predict the probability of a customer to respond to Ramadan’s Buy-one Get-one offer between 6 PM and 8 PM. and targeted a limited set of customers resulting in 2.1% response rate for day 1 as compared to 1.3% response to previous year’s bulk campaign.

CAMPAIGN 2:  Leading Luxury Brand generated incremental sales with Personalized Promotions 

Channels used: SMS, Email

Outcome: 8% additional transactions and incremental sales of SAR 24,000

While Ramadan is marked by office Iftars, family gatherings and suhoors with old mates, there is an inherently social aspect to this religious month. For Ahmed, Maryam and the kids, the shorter working hours and the upcoming long break for Eid gives the perfect window to go out and shop.

Leading Luxury Brand generated incremental sales with Personalized Promotions Ramadan Campaigns


On one of the days when Ahmed returned home early, he received a personalized communication from one of the famous luxury brands in the perfumes and fashion accessories space. The couple shared an interest in discovering new perfumes and they decided to visit the stores to learn more about this offer. Capillary helped the brand to target family customers who were already interested in perfumes by decoding the consumer behavior using past transaction data and running a 20% off on the bill containing 1 men’s and 1 women’s perfume.

This Ramadan campaign generated 8% additional bills and incremental sales of SAR 24,000 as compared to the previous year’s bulk campaign for the same offer.

CAMPAIGN 3:  Major Kid’s Apparel Brand generated 3X ROI with Segmented Facebook Ramadan Campaigns

Channels used: Social (Facebook)

Outcome: 3X better campaign ROI compared to other channels

 Ramadan campaigns Major Kid’s Apparel Brand generated 3X ROI with Segmented Facebook Campaign

While Maryam was exiting the mall, Fatima was amused to see a funny looking cartoon character image along with the QR code and asked her mother to click her picture with it.

Maryam then instinctively remembered that she had come across an offer on her Facebook feed a couple of days back. But how was Maryam targeted on Facebook? Capillary worked with the brand to generate a “Parents Segment” who had visited the brand’s store in the last 6 months and to everyone’s surprise, 78% of this segment was available on Facebook.

Adding to this, Facebook revealed last year that users spend an extra 57.6 million hours on Facebook during the holy month. Maryam then scanned the code using the app to get details of the personalized offer on kidswear issued to her based on her transactions in the last 6 months.

CAMPAIGN 4:  Leading Luxury Homeware brand generated incremental sales with Personalized Social and Mobile App Promotions

Channels used: Social, Push Notification

Outcome: Incremental sales worth 559 OMR in 2 days

Ramadan Campaigns Leading Luxury Homeware brand generated incremental sales with Personalized Social and Mobile App Promotions

With 70% of people in the Middle East relying on Facebook for gift ideas, a luxury homeware brand targeted its customers for cookware and dinner sets. Maryam was a part of the loyalty customers target list based on previous year Ramadan campaigns transactions and she was targeted through Facebook and Push Notifications.

Customers were given 20% to 45% off based on the loyalty tier and the campaign was successful in generating 559 OMR incremental sales with an additional 0.3% hit rate over a period of 2 days.

CAMPAIGN 5:  UAE’s leading Jeweler generated incremental sales with Micro-Segmentation and Personalization

Channels used: SMS, Email

Outcome: Incremental sales worth AED 900,000

UAE’s leading Jeweler generated incremental sales with Micro-Segmentation and Personalization Ramadan Campaigns

Ramadan brings with it plenty of occasions to socialize with friends and family. As a result, everyone wants to look their best during the Holy Month and jewelry is a great way to elevate a look, while still being respectful of local culture.

Maryam was targeted with the Eid offer to win a free gold coin above purchase of AED 5000. Customer segments based on recency, frequency, and past category purchases were used to generate additional incremental sales of AED 900,000 for one of the leading gold and diamonds retailer in UAE.

So there you go, here are some campaign ideas you should keep in mind next time around. And remember, consumer experience is key!

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