Souq’s CEO on Building an E-Commerce Powerhouse in the centre East

The B2C Change

We made the change to A b2c-only business, soon after Wisam Daoud joined up with us as CTO from eBay. We announced though they collectively accounted for approximately 80% of the company’s business (fixed-price sales accounted for the remaining 20%) that we would no longer run auctions and classifieds, even. Furthermore, it absolutely was a challenge to go our merchants and clients from a website by which they might record services and products just about because they liked to a website where products are classified by half a million or higher SKUs.

We went real time, initially in Egypt and quickly from then on various other geographies. The danger and our efforts paid down, and although we destroyed nearly all of our deal amount very nearly immediately as soon as we closed along the auction website, we a lot more than made for this within 6 months and began doubling our income every quarter.

Needless to say, the switch had not been without its challenges. We’d not a problem acquiring customers that are individual as a result of the success associated with auction web web web web site, but getting stores to sign up wasn’t easy. We began with small enterprises, which had the absolute most to achieve from ecommerce, pounding the pavement store by store. We quickly noticed that providing them use of clients had not been sufficient; we might need certainly to assist them to with delivery and payment. Our success in dealing with those challenges is main towards the Souq tale.

I got a call from one of the merchants using Souq as we were launching our revamped e-commerce site in the UAE. “i must determine if you’re intent on this task,” he said. That hit me personally as odd — I became residing in any office with my group and day that is working evening to really make the transition take place. Therefore we invited him in the future and speak to us.

“I became a petroleum engineer,” he explained. “I familiar with make a lot more than $10,000 four weeks. Nonetheless, about this past year, we started watches that are importing attempting to sell them on Souq, and possesses been therefore effective that we have quit petroleum engineering. That you dudes are likely to hang in there and make this relaunch work. and so I want to understand”

I really couldn’t rest that as the implications of his words sank in night. Needless to say, allowing other organizations is really what a market does — and also this engineer is just one of the most significant those that have made on their own into separate traders on our web web web web site. However it is humbling become therefore straight faced with the individual effects of one’s company choices.

Enabling Re Re Payment

Re re Payment had not been a big issue in the UAE. Bank cards had been widely accessible and may be utilized online, so all we required ended up being the functionality to just simply simply take online repayments. Nevertheless, to grow to other nations in your community, we’d need to allow alternate repayment techniques, including money on distribution. In Saudi Arabia, that is now certainly one of our biggest geographies, bank card usage on the web had not been extensive; even though the utilization of charge cards that fee interest happens to be sharia-compliant, clients nevertheless like to spend money. In Egypt, another big possibility, few individuals can meet with the deposit demands to have a card. When we accepted just bank cards, we’d limit ourselves to a little part of potential prospects; meanwhile, several other business would find a method to resolve those dilemmas and develop.

Connecting to checking reports had been a significant software-design challenge, because Souq would need to interface with systems at many banks that operated on differing IT infrastructures yet offer its users a consistent experience. We decided, consequently, to take care of our re payment system as a definite entrepreneurial endeavor instead of just another in-house development task. We figured that we’d have a much better payment product quicker by making use of the power and imagination regarding the entrepreneurs that are young up around us all. An increasing community of committed, tech-savvy individuals were in or time for the center East, and now we thought that we’re able to be described as a prospective magnet for that skill and passion. Fundamentally we made the re re re re payment company its own business, led by Omar Soudodi, an integral person in the Souq team. Launched beneath the brand name PayFort, it’s since end up being the leading payment that is online in the center East, and Souq transactions constitute not even half its company today.

Bank cards are now actually sharia-compliant, but clients nevertheless like to spend money.

That left us because of the issue of how exactly to handle money re re payments. We initially attempted to get clients to pay for ahead of the merchants shipped their products or services, but we came across with much opposition. E-commerce ended up being nevertheless an innovative new concept within our region, and individuals had been hesitant to pay money for material they might see just for a little display screen. The choice, needless to say, ended up being money on distribution, but that could place a burden regarding the vendor, that would need to spend for a distribution and, in the event that client had not been accessible to go on it, a return also. It could be a battle for a few merchants to help keep monitoring of deliveries and re payments. In any event, processing cash takes some time, enhancing the chance that cash will never arrive at the merchant’s bank-account for many months, therefore delaying usage of working capital—a critical problem in lots of fast-moving customer products groups.

Engineering and computer pc pc software stumbled on the rescue. We designed an offering that is digital merchants and couriers that executes numerous functions. Both in general and with a particular merchant: the more transactions the customer has completed, the more expensive the products within reach to begin with, a cash customer’s range of product options on Souq is a function of his or her cash-purchase history. When a COD happens, the courier takes the money re re re payment and immediately documents it on their phone. The time that is next comes back to 1 of y our sorting centers, he deposits all of the money he’s gotten, plus the system credits the right merchants’ accounts instantly.