Blazing a trail: e-commerce retailer Elabelz

Fast growing e-commerce retailer Elabelz is adding over 350 products to its catalogue every day. CEO and founder Nooruldeen Agha says he is looking at the Middle East's two fastest growing markets to tap future growth.
Blazing a trail: e-commerce retailer Elabelz
E-commerce retailer Elabelz CEO and founder Nooruldeen Agha.
By Shayan Shakeel
Mon 27 Aug 2018 03:55 PM

Elabelz has been growing at a rate faster than even some others in the e-commerce space in terms of the number of products it is adding. How are you growing so fast?
The business model we have is different when compared to other fashion e-commerce companies. We are a hybrid marketplace. Where we act like a marketplace but in a completely controlled environment to the brands and suppliers.

We take the best of both modules, maintain the quality of a non-marketplace module and the ability to grow like a marketplace. We add on average 350 products per day and current offer more than 550 international and local brands. With a growing catalogue currently offering more than 45,000 products.

What are your thoughts on the current pace of growth of the e-commerce market overall? Do you think there is room in the market for even more competitors that sell products similar to yours?
It is no secret that there are a lot of new market entries these days. 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 still didn’t yet start. It’s these alliances and acquisitions that will shape the market for the next five years.

Can you tell us a bit about your expansion in Iraq, how it is progressing, and the motivation behind expanding there?
We are the only company that actually delivers to Iraq with the same service level a UAE customer would get, from the door-to-door delivery and all the way to offering cash-on-delivery services.

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.

The 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.

Where else are you looking to grow?
We are currently looking to focus on the markets we cater to, and own a sizable market share in these territories. With a major focus on growing the Iraq business as well as Saudi to grow by at least five times within the next 18 months.

What is a major challenges that your business, and the industry, need to tackle?
We actually started with both cash on delivery and credit card payments, but the former remains one of our biggest challenges, just as it is in this region.

Cash-on-delivery transactions remain the biggest challenge when it comes to the e-commerce space.

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