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MENA e-commerce ‘nowhere close to overcrowded’


Ex-Sukar CEO and founder of says the regional e-commerce scene is where Europe was ten to 15 years ago

March 28, 2013 5:10 by

Chbib lets us in on his little secret. It’s a simple one, but one that many overlook. Their main focus is to be independent and free of big brand names because – particularly with exclusivity rights in the region – relying on them can really complicate matters. Some of the campaigns they feature are branded, obviously, but for the most part not only does he find freedom in that independence but he says it will serve them well in the long run.

“Would people really brag about buying a T-shirt online for 200 dhs when its original cost is 600?” he asks. “For the most part, that’s like buying a fake Louis Vuitton bag from Karama and telling everyone about it. The point is that most people would prefer others believing they’ve paid the full price. With our products, because we feature unusually quirky things, people almost can’t help but share them.”

Chbib also tells Kipp that 25 percent of his staff are regularly dedicated to creating and managing compelling content on the website’s blog because as he says, ‘we have to provide users with an experience’ and inspire them to come back – whether they buy anything or not.

Finally, Kipp couldn’t ignore the ultimate question any more. The overly repeated and almost never fully answered inquiry of whether e-commerce will ever truly overtake traditional retail. “I’m not really a prophet,” he jokes. “But no I don’t think it ever will.”

He pointedly says that when all is said and done, ‘we are still human beings’ and we enjoy the idea of going out and leaving the house. Some people may still prefer to get back online to buy something especially if it’s cheaper, but the experience of trying on a shirt in the store to make sure it fits well or feels good won’t soon be replaced.

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1 Comment

  1. eJaba on May 4, 2013 11:13 am

    The author forgets to mention the main hurdles for the development of ecommerce in the region:

    1- Availability of payment gateways
    2- Availability of payment gateways with decent commissions…
    3- Heavy regulation when once wants to create a company
    4- Banks outrageously high charges/guarantee for ecommerce companies
    5- Cash payment habit from the population along with low credit card penetration (except in some GCC countries such as the UAE) is a 24/7 online platform that wants to ease professionals and SMEs’ life by providing professional advisory wherever and anytime they need and want at an affordable price.


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