Souq.com goes global at this year's White Friday fest
Souq.com co-founder and CEO Ronaldo Mouchawar says price, convenience and selection are key factors impacting online retail.
Dubai - Select deals from Amazon Global Store available for the first time.
Souq.com's White Friday sale has been the biggest and go-to event for online shopping in the region since 2014. This year, they have made a huge addition: mega deals, direct from the global platform of the world's largest online retailer.
The region's biggest Web marketplace announced that it will, for the first time, offer access to thousands of select deals from the Amazon Global Store, which are ready to be shipped to Mena customers directly from the United States, a move that proves the heightened interest in the region's growing online retail sector.
"Now that we are part of Amazon, we are continuously learning and applying their technology and global resources to improve the shopping experience for the local customer even further," Ronaldo Mouchawar, co-founder and CEO of Souq.com, told Khaleej Times in an interview.
"When two great things come together, something even better is born. the combination of Souq's rich local experience with Amazon's 20 years of global online shopping experience has meant we have been able to provide our customers the best of both worlds. The impact on our business has been extremely positive."
Souq customers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia already enjoy access to over one million products from the Amazon Global Store. Adding White Friday deals to this only proves the popularity of online shopping, in line with consumers' growing interest to explore more on the Web, with price, selection and convenience the key factors impacting online retail, Mouchawar pointed out.
Research and Markets, in a recent study, pegged retail e-commerce in the Middle East to increase "significantly" between 2017 to 2020, with the main reason being the rapid growth of Internet penetration, already surpassing 90 per cent in many countries here.
"E-commerce has huge potential in the region, although it is still a relatively small part of retail," he added. "We are proud to see how the sector has grown and evolved."
Trust, Mouchawar continued, is also key. He says Souq.com takes claims against counterfeit and non-compliant goods very seriously, and that they also work with Dubai Economy to benchmark its service standards. All these ensure customers are guaranteed they get their money's worth.
It's also not just about selling: Souq.com, being a marketplace, also works continuously to support local SMEs and entrepreneurs. The company is investing "significantly" to help these entities reach out to millions of customers, which, in turn, helps consumers get a wider range of choice.
And while online retail is indeed growing, Mouchawar says brick-and-mortar stores are still strong - and both complement each other.
"The retail sector today is evolving to meet customers' needs. Both online and physical retail have their own growth cycle to follow," he says.
"We have many sellers that have their own physical stores in addition to selling online. We welcome competition because in the end we think this will be better for customers."
Souq.com focuses on 31 categories, and Mouchawar says this is based on what their customers want. Though he expects robust sales from all categories, he lists groceries, perfumes, shoes and electronics as among those to excel. He added that his team spent six months carefully curating "interesting" deals for this week's event.