Aside from being an e-commerce website, Dubai’s Souq.com is an important platform for start-ups in the region, according to co-founder and chief executive Ronaldo Mouchawar.
Speaking exclusively to Arabian Business on the heels of the Amazon Global Store launch on Monday, Mouchawar said Souq is a marketplace that allows smaller companies to grow.
“As we grow, they grow. When we double in White Friday, they double in White Friday; it is their sale as much as it is our sale. We have seen our companies scale from 5 to 10 people, so the type of ecosystem around the thousands of merchants is what is also exciting,” he said.
Mouchawar said the website makes it easier and faster for start-ups to begin operations, explaining that it eliminates certain pain points for entrepreneurs, such as marketing and distribution.
“It’s a much more efficient channel especially for smaller businesses to start with Souq. We do the work, we have the customer base so for the entrepreneurs it’s much easier,” he said.
He added it is easier to start an e-commerce business than it is to launch a brick and mortar store.
“A lot of people do create products, but sometimes it’s hard to enter the traditional retail way because it’s expensive to rent stores and sometimes the cast cycles don’t work for those entrepreneurs, because you have to put products in advance and get paid quite late, but they have to place their orders earlier to make sure they get it. So in e-commerce, it’s faster and more efficient, and you can start with a lot less capital,” he said, adding that the region’s biggest retail houses have also gone online.
These include luxury firms Chalhoub Group and Al Tayer, who have long depended on traditional brick and mortar stores, but who have also launched e-commerce platforms.
Moreover, Mouchawar said the start-ups it works with are as important to Souq as Souq is to them, revealing that the website would not had been able to double it White Friday sales in November if it weren’t for the help of Wing, a UAE-based logistics service for e-merchants that it acquired in September.
“Their technology enabled their couriers to serve Souq customers and merchants, so it was a perfect fit for us. And we will continue to look for young and bright people. This is the key in this business. You need the entrepreneurs, people who are passionate about solving problems. That’s what we do and what we invest in,” he said.
Souq was itself acquired by American giant Amazon this year. On Monday, the website launched the first Amazon Global Store in the region, which offers over a million products. The collaboration will see new job opportunities in the Arab world, where youth unemployment is especially high at 40 percent.
“If you look at between the job portal of Amazon and Souq, you see a lot more new opportunities. Clearly we want to scale the team. We feel this category especially our sector is set for massive growth. We’re quite bullish; a lot of new opportunities are being posted and we’re getting a lot of bright young people from the region which is great,” Mouchawar said.
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