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Challenges and opportunities of e-fulfilment operations in the Gulf Cooperation Council

Alotaibi, Majed Gazzai H.


Majed Gazzai H. Alotaibi


David B. Grant

T. M. (Terry M.) Williams


Electronic commerce (EC) in scholarship and practice has been richly discussed. Consumers’ fulfilment is considered a potential factor for firms. EC involves different processes, from inbound to outbound, which have to maintain consistency of flow within the booming e-commerce market. As a result, the variety of tools employed has increased, such as omnichannel marketing and the use of smart phones. Logistics is considered one of the major stages that can support the process of EC and achieve consumers’ fulfilment. This thesis explores the issues of electronic commerce fulfilment (ECF) in the five Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

The extent of ECF in the GCC online market is little known, as is how logistics activities operate, how ECF models are assembled and why. Whether or not logistics activity is considered in a firm’s strategy also remains a question for research. Therefore, this thesis investigates pure-player (PP) and multichannel (MC) firms and involves logistics service providers (LSPs) in the five GCC countries. A wide range of consumers from small and large cities across the five countries also contributed to obtaining information required to achieve the study’s objective and contribute to knowledge. This study adopted a qualitative and inductive approach in using semi-structured interviews to collect data. Fifty-three participants (owners, managers, logistics managers, and consumers) were interviewed to provide an objective study aimed at making e-commerce better and more efficient.

This study finds logistics models are not considered a priority in a firm’s strategy plan and cultural factors greatly affect e-fulfilment, such as when using another language during communication and delivery processes. Communication between firms and providers is also considered to be unclear. Furthermore, the business-to-consumer (B2C) segment is still not a target for most LSPs. Hence, policy plays an essential role, such as in banning the entry of lorries to a city or applying employment conditions when hiring citizen drivers, and has an effect on ECF. Mistrust emerged as a factor in the limited options for payment. For example, the cash on delivery (COD) method is strongly preferred by most consumers. Innovative solutions have not been provided as required by global LSPs, particularly in the cultural context, although some provision has been made, such as in the case of women not being allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia with imprecise postal system and delivery needs to be pre-arranged. Telephone numbers and shipment tracking are still not clear for firms and consumers, as telephone numbers are often incorrect, telephones are not answered and tracking is not available or is imprecise. As a result, the findings reveal eight themes grouped into three categories: logistics activity, purchasing methods and cultural effects and also proposes new models for ECF.


Alotaibi, M. G. H. (2017). Challenges and opportunities of e-fulfilment operations in the Gulf Cooperation Council. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Aug 11, 2021
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Business
Public URL
Additional Information Business School, The University of Hull
Award Date Jun 1, 2017


Thesis (5.7 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2017 Alotaibi, Majed Gazzai H. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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