Data, AI and Robotics: How e-commerce brands can stay ahead

Data, AI and Robotics: How e-commerce brands can stay ahead

Hot on the heels of a rapid global transition to digital, e-commerce is a highly competitive space – with companies competing to solve problems using the most efficient technologies. And LEAP offers the ideal place for brands to gain access to key technologies and new research that can elevate their business. 

Rajesh Kumar (CEO at Ferns N Petals, GCC & SEA) heads up the GCC and SEA regions of India’s largest gifting platform. With over a decade of experience in his e-commerce segment, Kumar understands the critical importance of technological innovation for successful business growth. 

We asked him about the biggest challenges he faces in delivering convenient e-commerce services – and what advice he’d give to fledgling e-commerce brands with a vision to launch in the Middle East market. 

What are the biggest challenges you're facing in delivering hyper-convenient e-commerce in the UAE? And on the flipside, are there any particular advantages to operating an e-commerce business in the Middle East, compared to other regions?

“We have been very fortunate to be a part of the Middle East e-commerce growth journey for the last nine years and especially in the UAE market. I can proudly say that we were one of the few players in the entire industry to start 60 min delivery eight years back, and the only gifting player to do so in the market. 

“The biggest challenge today is that customers are becoming used to on-demand service and the expectations are changing every year with respect to delivery timeline, quality and personalisation. We used to get the majority of the orders one day in advance in the gifting business a few years ago – but that’s changing nowadays, and becoming the same day, and then in a few hours too. 

“The beauty of operating in the Middle East is that you learn what luxury is all about; and at the same time, you have to be a multicultural brand.”

Are you working to integrate emerging technologies such as AI and robotics into your e-commerce operations?

“Yes, We have been working on using AI for content creation as of now, and the plan is to extend the use case to product creation as well. 

“Robotics is also an important element in our business both from supply chain as well as production standpoint but we are a bit far from doing that. I hope to show the industry very soon the kind of innovation that can be done in automation in the flower and gifting business.” 

What advice would you give to an international e-commerce brand that wanted to launch in the UAE or wider Middle East market?

“I would say that the most important thing is to find your niche and follow a customer-first approach to launch in the Middle East market. The region is close to the top when it comes to the ease of doing the business index.”

How do you keep track of rapidly changing consumer preferences – and how does that data influence business decisions? 

“Data is the king, and one can't really survive without being on top of data in such a competitive market. We have a dedicated team to track multiple sets of data to keep analysing the consumer and market behaviour – and on the basis of those analyses we make the majority of the business decisions on quarterly and on annual basis.”

Finally, why are events like LEAP valuable to you?

“Being one of the top tech networking events in the Middle East, LEAP is important for business professionals like me – it gives a platform to learn from leading tech experts, as well as to show the industry who we are and what we’re known for.” 

Thanks to Rajesh Kumar at Ferns N Petals. Does your e-commerce company need to learn how to get ahead of the curve with the latest technologies? Join us in Riyadh for LEAP 2025. 

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