New home address system to give Oman economy a boost

E-commerce will thrive in Oman after a home address system puts every house on the map by 2020, experts agree.

Home delivery and web purchases are currently low in Oman thanks to the lack of a unified postal address system.

Web sales make up less than 1 per cent of all purchases in the Sultanate, according to analysts.

Internet spending in the Middle East is booming with GCC countries expecting 40 per cent growth in e-commerce by 2020 to reach $41.5 billion, analysts say.

 



Oman is expected to have a total market share of 12 per cent - or $5 billion , according to global analysts Frost & Sullivan, in a 2015 report.

Experts say the new postal address system – once in place – will drive online spending sky-high.

The new, unified postal system will come to Oman by 2020, according to Muscat Municipality members, who revealed a four stage plan to have the home address system in place in time for the 2020 Census.

Ali bin Abdulredha bin Dawood Al Hashmani, a member of the Municipal Council and a representative of Muttrah, said: “In a recent Municipal Council meeting, the National Centre for Statistics and Information submitted the National Infrastructure for Geographic Information Project, which talked in detail about the Sultanate’s unified address system, which is going to be used in the census of 2020.”

That means wandering delivery boys and long phone calls to give your address could soon be a thing of the past, and the e-commerce industry should receive a welcome shot in the arm when the system is in place.

The government recognises the value of e-commerce and has a dedicated e-commerce portal, run by the Information technology Authority.

Currently, online transactions in Oman barely reach one per cent of all sales, partly due to logistics issue when you place an order online, says Mohammed Nayaz, IT and Risk Partner at EY.

“The e-commerce market in Oman holds a lot of potential growth opportunities. The global e-commerce market is expected to touch US$2t by 2020 and has a share of 7.8% of the total sales whereas Oman accounts for just 1% of the total sales.The upcoming Unified Address System is expected to accelerate e-commerce in Oman,” he explained.

The new addressing system will include building number, street name, city name, governorate, wilayat and postal code.

The address system has been successful in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other countries, and has improved e-commerce deliveries in terms of efficiency.

Around the world, most retail outlets have the option of online shopping.

The Mall of Oman, which will open in 2020, will have a mobile app that can deliver your shopping home for which a unified postal system is crucial.

“This system is expected to provide impetus to the commercial competitiveness among organisations involved in e-commerce business as they reduce costs and time spent on the current delivery system.

“This system also allows the general public to make use of government services effectively and securely across channels,” Nayaz stated.

Richard Pakenham, of bayie.com, a leading online classifieds site in Oman, said: “I think it is a very important step for e-commerce in Oman and a fantastic initiative. Companies who deliver items in the country will find it very helpful and it will certainly help in improving efficiency in logistics.

"There are also huge opportunities because of this. A lot of companies in Oman will move towards e-commerce as delivering items will be much easier due to this system in place.

"Large retailers, like in the UK and Europe, will offer options of shopping online and not depend on someone walking into their store to buy items anymore”.

“If implemented properly it would be excellent as currently we have issues with logistics while delivering items home. If the system can provide us with a localised and easy navigation system, it would be very helpful in efficiency of delivering items in the country,” Jessica Asher, Group Director at Alatool Muscat said.

Al Hussain Al Bahri, one of the founders of Mandoob, an Omani company which delivers different items door to door in Oman, said: “The unified postal system will be a strong addition to the local logistics market and Mandoob company will definitely benefit from it, by virtue of its work in the field of delivery. The system will allow easy access to customers in less time and reduces the percentage of errors. We hope for this system to be implemented soon.”

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