By Parag Deulgaonkar
Emirates NBD launches SkyShopper, but said it is not competing with Souq.com or Amazon.com
Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest bank, has ventured into the UAE’s buoyant e-commerce marketplace with the launch of SkyShopper, an online shopping store for its customers.
The e-platform will allow its credit and debit card customers to shop and pay for products and services ranging from flights, hotels, electronics and fashion items to entertainment and groceries.
In an interview with Arabian Business, Suvo Sarkar, senior executive vice president, and group head – retail banking and wealth management, Emirates NBD, said the move is aimed to position the bank as a “more evolved digital player than any other bank in the market”, but he ruled out competing with regional e-commerce players.
“We are not in the online shopping space as a participant in the marketplace, but we are just an aggregator for our customers. The likes of souq.com, amazon.com, and noon.com are the big giants, and they are the ones who will drive online shopping," he said.
“This is not a revenue line for us to compete with them. We are complementing what they [online retailers] are doing and we will offer our customers a more convenient shopping experience.”
According to consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan, the total value of e-commerce in the UAE is likely to reach $10 billon (AED36.7bn) by 2018 from $2.5bn (AED9.17bn) in 2014.
Sarkar, however, said the market size is likely to double to $20 billion (AED73.40bn) by 2020.
“Hence, there is enough space for everyone to grow. As our customer base grows over the years, we hope more of them will shop through our website,” he said.
Almost one-third of Emirates NBD customers are currently using credit or debit cards for online shopping, with Sarkar predicting e-commerce spend of the bank’s customers to grow exponentially.
“The e-commerce spend by our customers is growing 35 percent every year and one-third of that is being spent across various online platforms. So it is important for us to address this market.”
The banker also disclosed deals on SkyShopper will be “equal or better” than the deals offered by other online e-retailers.
Emirates NBD has for now signed 15 partnerships with companies such as Cleartrip and Musafir, Namshi, Axiom, Jumbo, Sharaf DG, Platinumlist and Trolley.ae. It will also be offering customers the option to shop on international online stores with delivery to the UAE routed through a US shipping address (MyUS.com) and at My Smart Price (MSP) India, offering delivery to all parts of India.
New partnerships in the pipeline include Booking.com, The Luxury Closet, 6thstreet.com and Headout, Sarkar added.