Souq.com is again reworking its business model to take advantage of the changing face of e-commerce.
Souq.com refines its business plan
Souq.com, the biggest online retailer in the Middle East, is again changing its business model to take advantage of the rapidly evolving e-commerce market in the region.
Originally touted as the "eBay of the of the Middle East", Souq.com eliminated its auction service at the start of the year to focus on fixed prices and to attract traditional retailers to sell on its website.
Now, the company wants to become a traditional online retailer by buying and selling the most popularly sold items on its website.
"We are basically improving our logistical service," said Ronaldo Mouchawar, the website's chief executive. "We are looking into having certain products at hand, the latest models."
Currently, customers visit the website and buy products from a retailer or an individual. When the vendors receive payment, they deliver the goods and Souq.com is paid a fee.
But now Souq.com, which is available in the UAE, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, will be receiving the payments and shipping the goods. The website is investing in warehouses throughout the region to store popular products such as tablet computers and smart phones.
"It's all about enhancing the customer experience," said Mr Mouchawar. "We want a variety of selection and supply, and we want to deliver certain products and models faster."
A number of smaller online retailers have managed to gain a foothold in the growing e-commerce market in the UAE, with JadoPado.com, Emirates-Avenue.com and others offering product delivery in two to 24 hours.
Like the retail sector as a whole, many online retailers' sales have grown strongly this year compared to last year.
"If you look at the online retailers in the market, you will see a definite increase in the volume of sales," said Mr Mouchawar. "We will be adding warehouses in all the key markets where our customers are."
Souq.com is also investing in its back-end processes, improving the website platform and still encouraging retailers to sell via its website.
"We will still work with many of our suppliers, but the way we deal with them will be better," said Mr Mouchawar.
In a recent survey of souq.com users by Visa, a third said they shopped online due to the convenience it offered, while a quarter said they shopped because there was a greater availability of exclusive deals online.
Souq.com is part of Jabbar Internet Group, the largest Middle Eastern online retailing company, which operates in other sectors such as gaming, group buying and internet advertising.