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MENA e-commerce ‘nowhere close to overcrowded’

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

March 28, 2013 5:10 by



Trying to listen for a trace of doubt or trepidation in Muhammad Chbib’s words is much like looking for a needle in a hay stack. Call us cheesy, but hey, it’s the weekend. He’s the founder of Desado.com, a relatively new (about three months) e-commerce website based in Dubai that specializes in home design, décor and home products and accessories.

Basically, they sell quirky and fun things that you wouldn’t normally find in traditional retail is how he puts it. His enthusiasm and belief in what he does is both audible and impressive, I must say. Of course, that could have something to do with the fact that Desado has just crossed over 100,000 members in just under three months of operation. A leap that Chbib says he’s extremely happy about.

Aside from online advertising, they rely heavily on the ‘viral factor’ to spread the word and get ‘direct registrants’ to his site. A talking coffee mug that says “Oh, that’s hot” when you pour in coffee is something you’d probably share on a social network whether or not you buy it, he says.

Oh Kipp, not another e-commerce site, we hear you moan. Surely there are enough already, aren’t there? How can the market possibly not be overcrowded yet? Well, fear not; that’s the first question we posed to Chbib – who also happens to be Sukar’s ex-CEO (an established fashion site in Dubai).

“I can see why you’d think that,” he says. “And if you were talking specifically about the fashion part of e-commerce then I could partly agree with you that it’s getting closer to saturation – particularly because of the current big players in the market – but generally speaking as an industry, we’re nowhere close to it,” he insists.

Chbib was born and bred in Germany and so he brings a lot of Europe’s market insights and expertise to the table. He says that Europe isn’t even close to being overcrowded in terms of e-commerce despite the high market ratio it shares with traditional retail. “Basically, the Middle East is where Europe was 10 or 15 years ago, and where the US was about 15 to 20 years ago,” he says.



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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)

    ejaba.me 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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