Souq says to take cautious approach to launching Amazon in Saudi Arabia

The name change does not affect Souq's regional identity, says founder
Souq says to take cautious approach to launching Amazon in Saudi Arabia
Ronaldo Mouchawar, Souq.com founder and vice president of Amazon MENA.
By Lubna Hamdan
Wed 01 May 2019 03:00 PM

Souq.com wants to “make sure services work well” in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, before relaunching the website as Amazon in the countries, according to the founder of the regional platform and vice president of Amazon MENA.

The Middle East’s largest online shopping website relaunched to become part of the Amazon e-commerce portal in all countries in the region except Saudi and Egypt.

Speaking to Arabian Business, Ronaldo Mouchawar said: “We want to make sure the services we launch are very localised and work very well with our customers. Obviously, step one was to get the log-in to work, bring in Amazon products into the region, get Arabisation to make sure we Arabise the site, launch the vendor central; this was quite an undertaking on its own.

“So we want to make sure that things work well in the UAE, our customers are happy and the services are working for them. Then we can look to the future to expand in other markets with the same offerings,” he added.

Mouchawar said Souq.com will retain its name in Saudi and Egypt “at this stage,” but added, “we’re on a journey, so step one is to launch here [in the UAE] and make sure service works well here.”

The Amazon branding and portal will see the first ever availability of Arabic shopping on the US global e-commerce giant.

When asked whether Souq’s name change affects the brand’s regional identity, Mouchawar said, “If we had launched without localising the services, without arabising the website, if we didn’t have cash on delivery, didn’t figure out how to map addresses in the region, didn’t offer delivery that was just as fast… yes, but the case is that we’ve gone through an extensive and lengthy journey to make sure the website works super well for our local customers…”

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