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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Amazon Global Store opens to UAE consumers via Souq.com with more than a million products

Souq.com opens up US Amazon as festive season approaches

Souq.com users in the UAE will now be able to tap Amazon US, giving access to more than one million products. Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters
Souq.com users in the UAE will now be able to tap Amazon US, giving access to more than one million products. Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters

Souq.com launched the Amazon Global Store on Sunday to allow UAE consumers to tap the US online store for more than one million American-offered products.

Online shoppers in the UAE will have the option to purchase items ranging from apparel, shoes and handbags to home goods and watches, the company said on Monday.

Ronaldo Mouchawar, co-founder and chief executive of Souq.com, told The National that the company would add more selection and inventory.

“Today we’ve started with more than one million products, but this is only Day 1,” he said.

Since then, the firms have been working on an integrated platform to complete this offering. Mr Mouchawar said that there were several stages just to get to this point. This phase is testing out the technology platform to ensure the selection and satisfaction of customers.

“The plan is to scale more and more and our selection will grow substantially,” he said, though he declined to give company growth targets. However, he admitted that some products were still better suited to buy locally such as groceries and detergent.

UAE customers can shop on the bilingual site in Arabic or English and pay using their local credit cards or cash on delivery. Prices will be in dirhams including import fees at checkout. The company said: “With Amazon Global Store’s hassle free customs clearance, purchases are delivered right to a customer's’ door step.”

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Deliveries will be available in two options: priority which falls between two and five business days and expedited, which delivers between six and 10 business days. And as far as import fees, some products will average around 5 per cent of their cost while others may be exempt altogether given the small size, according to Mr Mouchawar.

In March, Souq.com and global e-commerce giant, Amazon, announced its tie-up which was completed four months later. The US$650 million acquisition of Dubai-based Souq.com opened the gateway for Amazon products to penetrate the Middle East markets.

“When we acquired Souq.com, our goal was to provide the best possible service for millions of customers in the Middle East by supporting them with Amazon technology and global resources,” Samir Kumar, Amazon’s vice president of international retail, said in a statement.

He said that this was the first step of many to provide “reliable shopping experience that includes unique products and international brands from the US and beyond”.

The future may hold other paths such as Amazon Prime, the fast and free shipping programme that has evolved into offering members extras such as discounts and promotions. “Our first integration was making sure customers could access the two sites. Now our focus is on the customer perspective of increasing our selection - and then we’ll look at more tech projects,” Mr Mouchawar said.