Setting up shop…online
When it comes to online shopping, the GCC is a relatively immature market. But with the financial crisis threatening to run retailers out of business, store managements are looking to the Internet to increase their customer base. Kipp speaks to Dina Saleh, Co-owner, Business Development and Operational Director at S*uce, about buying clothes online, and why it hasn't taken off in the region.
July 19, 2009 2:01 by Dana El Baltaji
Kipp: Some advertisers have said that Saudi Arabia and its female population (mainly housewives) remain largely untapped. Will you be targeting them to boost your online sales?
Saleh: I think at this point that’s really hard to gauge. Our main avenue of growth so far has been through word of mouth, and through media and editorials.
When we enter phase two of our website’s development, we’ll target our existing shoppers, and try and penetrate their circles. If you go into the Saudi housewife issue, then you’d have to understand who she is, what she does, and what she’s looking for. I think it’s easier for us to focus on the customers we know and their friends.
Kipp: And finally, has S*uce been affected by the economic crisis?
Saleh: We’ve been affected slightly, but overall we’re ok. Over the past few years, retail has grown rapidly, so we have to be grateful for what we have, even if we have been affected by the crisis.
Having said that, we’re looking at different avenues of growth: we’ve opened a new store, and we’re looking to sign on regional and local designers as their regional and global distributor.
Things are fine. From now until the end of the year will be an interesting period. People have left the city, and I don’t think anyone knows the exact number.
I think come September or October, we’ll have a more accurate view of what’s going on.
S*uce is a Dubai-based boutique store that stocks clothes and fashion accessories by local and foreign designers.