The up-and-coming brand has enjoyed strong growth since its inception in late 2016. Elabelz is now aiming to be the largest online fashion mall in the Middle East. Offering full collections, global labels and local designers, the brand is ready to reshape fashion shopping in the region. With a great growth record, Elabelz today offers today more than 50,000 products from 550 global and local brands.
In order to keep up with the daily change of trends in the fast fashion world, Elabelz houses a very large studio and production operation, where it manages to put up 350 new styles on the site every single day. The fast turnaround and frequency of updates on the platform ensures a high rate of repeat visits from users.
Elabelz was founded by Nooruldeen Agha, a graduate of the American University of Sharjah. He started his career in 2010 as a software engineer, climbing through the ranks in the region’s oil and gas companies. However, it was in 2013 that he decided to carve out his own path by co-founding Elephant Nation, a branding and digital advertising agency.
Then, on the first day of 2016, Agha set a goal to enter the region’s e-commerce sector and build an Amazon for fashion buyers. With the e-commerce sector gaining great a lot of traction in the last two years, Elabelz was able to enter the market with a unique proposition: full-service delivery to the Iraqi market with cash on delivery and credit card services, making them the only company globally to directly deliver and service this key country in the region.
“Iraq is going to be the second largest market in the region after Saudi very soon, and we believe being the first in that market will give us a huge advantage over anyone that considers to enter now,” Agha told Arabian Business.
“Consumer behaviour in Iraq is also very similar to that in the GCC. In summary, the growth in Iraq is faster than any other country and we expect it to get even faster everyday as people get more educated more about the mechanism of online shopping.”
Agha is also aware it’s a very competitive field and one that will only get more competitive in the months and years ahead – especially as Saudi Arabia opens up as its Vision 2030 plan unfolds. There is, though, plenty of room in a market that is only beginning to take its first steps.
“It is no secret that there are a lot of new market entries these days,” he says. “We need to remember that in our region, the percentage of online shopping is still very low compared with markets in Europe and the US. There is definitely a race into the space as a whole, but I think the online buying trend growth has just started, and will double before 2020.
“Having said that, I believe the coming two years will include a lot of acquisitions and alliances between companies, as well as investments into the space from retailers who didn’t yet start. These moves will shape the market for the next five years.”
Agha believes his company’s focus on customers, with constant innovations around the customer journey, will maintain his brand advantage. He considers it a technology company and is in the process of reimagining its offering.
“The business model we have is different when compared to other fashion e-commerce companies. We are a hybrid operation where we act like a marketplace but in a completely controlled environment for the brands and suppliers. We take the best of both modules, maintain the quality of a non-marketplace module but have the ability to grow like a marketplace.”
It’s the reason that Elabelz is confident that by the end of 2018 his company will have elevated the e-commerce experience as whole to fit the specific challenges faced by online customers in the region.