As a new crop of retailers and brands embrace e-commerce and DTC selling, they have also opened themselves to new international markets. But serving a global customer base requires more than fulfillment logistics; foreign currency exchange and payment processing is necessary for most cross-border transactions.
Now, U.S. retailers can gain access to the United Arab Emirates market, through payments provider PingPong Payments.
The UAE uses the Arab Emirates dollar (AED), which is the latest currency to be added to PingPong Payments’ global payment solution. Accessing the UAE could provide a gateway to the broader Middle East and North African (MENA) area, as the UAE is the region’s fastest growing market (it is forecast to increase 350% to $28.5 billion by 2022).
“Opening up the UAE market is a significant progression in the payments sector, considering the strict local financial regulations that have increased the entry barriers for payments for so long,” said Kenny Tsang, managing director at PingPong Payments. “The favorable regulations for e-commerce, particularly in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), means there has never been a better time to be in online commerce in MENA.”
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U.S. retail has been significantly hit by the pandemic, due to both store closures and the significant financial challenges now faced by many consumers. With other areas of the world experiencing different levels of economic impact and recovering at different rates, international shoppers could help generate sales for retailers that local consumers are unable to fulfil.
The MENA region is a growing area of opportunity, according to Tsang. The UAE in particular reports high incomes and a strong smartphone and internet adoption rate, which lends itself to a strong e-commerce environment. Tsang also identifies fashion as one of the four key categories for the region, alongside electronics, entertainment, and health and beauty.
“Venturing into overseas markets can be intimidating for many businesses,” said Tsang. “Going the extra mile, through opening local AED bank accounts with low exchange rates and providing a convenient, hassle-free service, will help enterprises access an alternative, high growth market that can be a lifeline for businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.”
PingPong Payments reports to be the first global payments provider to offer AED exchange services. Through its platform, retailers can access services for local country compliance, tax and customs registration; supplier validation and payment; and additional verticals like market intelligence, marketing and sales support. The service also supports currency exchange for regions such as Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Europe.