By Parag Deulgaonkar
New e-commerce platform aims to become a “dominant” online retail portal in the Middle East
Noon.com, the Gulf's new $1-billion e-commerce platform, may list in the coming years, according to UAE businessman Mohamed Alabbar.
“You have to look at five to seven years unless the environment changes,” he said after unveiling plans for the website on Sunday, which aims to become a “dominant” online retail portal in the Middle East.
“My shareholders are fully committed to the business plan, committed to the industry and committed to the region. So there is full support as long as the management performs achieves their KPIs.”
The online shopping website will not include a food category to start when it goes live in January 2017 in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The 20 million products will be spread over various categories such as home furnishing, electronics, books and fashion.
Two warehouse facilities are under construction at Dubai South and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, each of which will each be the size of 60 football pitches.
Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, confirmed that Aramex will be an integral part of the project. “It will be the main back up for our operations,” he said.
This year, he led two investor groups to buy a combined 16.45 percent stake in the Dubai-bourse listed logistics firm.
Fodhil Benturquia, CEO of Noon.com, said while product prices will be competitive, the primary focus will be on customer service.
“Customers do look at price but that is not the only thing. They want a great experience, they want to trust you, they want to make sure that the products that you are selling are authentic, are delivered on time, and these are all the things we are doing for our customers.”
Riyadh-headquartered Noon.com will also allow small vendors who are currently selling products on Instagram to sell products on the portal.
Benturquia declined to reveal details of the sales/revenues target set for 2017, insisting that the plan is to build numbers using the portal during its first year.
“We have our targets but we will first build capacity and then we will capture more customers,” he said.
Great news. Hopefully it will be in par with Amazon which has excellent customer service. Are their plans to make use of Souq.com or noon.com is killer to Souq?
'Are their plans to make use of Souq.com or noon.com is killer to Souq?'
Hmmm that's a tough question to answer. I'll have a go though, yes, on seconds thoughts no.
the success of this portal rely heavily on pricing and stock availability, if it's purely the same existing stuff from retail stores in dubai malls but available online and delivered then I really don't see it being much of a success - people use overseas sites like amazon and specialist websites because a lot deliver products not available here and / or at prices below 30% cheaper than available locally, a lot of them now deliver within a week and free delivery as well so there is a lot to compete with
I agree totally. I personally was dismayed to read the quote from noon.com's CEO - "Customers do look at price but that is not the only thing.â€ True customer service is important - however in the current climate price is the core decision maker. That is why I would rather buy an item from overseas and wait for it to be delivered here in Dubai than pay the vastly over inflated local price for most items.
Vendors need to wake up to what is happening in the world and realise that the customer is king. Gone are the days when people were forced to accept overpriced poor service from local vendors.
The only way that noon.com will be a success is if the stock is competitively priced globally (not just locally), can be ordered fully online - not like some retailers here who need to call you to discuss your online order! - and delivered within 1 or 2 days conveniently for the customer, and delivered at weekends. Worried it will be the same old poor service from local vendors but online!
how long before we have the first management restructure?
Noon.com is proposing the same day delivery. They plan on building their own courier fleet cooperating with (building on the experience of) Aramex.
Online shopping has three benefits over normal retail outlets, inventory size, easy access, and price. Emaar, Nahkeel and other GCC government owned companies cannot afford to let online retail win on price and ease of access. If everything is easier and cheaper online no one will shop in the hundreds of malls they have spent the last 2 decades building, retail shops will disappear along with the nice juicy rents that they pay. Likewise regional tourism will decline as less people go on shopping sprees.
Therefore the only way I can see them implementing Noon.com is as an add on feature for the stores already located in the malls. Prices will be the same or very slightly reduced and you will have to pay for shipping on top. This way you don't gain anything by going online but the malls have now expanded their reach.
And if this is the case it spells disaster for Noon.com, I don't shop locally now due to prices and i'm not going to start just because its moved online.
Noon.com is already in the news because of the scale of launch and I definitely feel that noon.com will prove to be the biggest competitor of Souq.com, which is enjoying monopoly in the online shopping space in the Middle East at the moment.
It would also be interesting to see how noon.com operates profitably because I doubt if the online shopping potential in the region is so big.<