The Middle East has witnessed a shift in purchasing behaviours in recent years. According to Neilson, willingness to use digital retailing options in the future is highest in the developing markets in the Asia-Pacific (60% on average), Latin America (60%) and Africa/Middle East regions (59%). Such forecast makes sense given the current internet penetration rate of 53% in the Middle East region, which is seeing rapid year on year growth. Today, 20 million people in the Middle East are already online shoppers.
At the moment, the Middle East eCommerce market is valued at $4.9 billion (AED18 billion) and is estimated to reach $10 billion (AED 36.7 billion) in value by 2018. eMarketer announced that the UAE’s share of B2C eCommerce alone on total retail sales of goods is forecasted to triple between 2014 and 2019.
These statistics indicate that people are heading more and more towards online shopping. The growth rate of online shopping in the Middle East is even higher than the world’s largest markets, including the American market. Experts predict that online shopping rates will continue to rise in the region in coming years. This is not only due to rising internet use, but increased reliance on the internet to fulfil everyday needs. Today, Middle Eastern internet users are more willing to use their credit cards online. E-commerce businesses have the airline sector to thank. The dominance of online ticket purchase in the airline sector has and will continue to drive growth in online shopping.
Arab users’ rising confidence in online shopping and its benefits, the most important of which is better deals and convenience, has increased competition in the e-commerce sector. Competition is a good thing. It ultimately improves customer experience and provides them with the newest and most desired products and best deals. In this context, a new player arises in online shopping: KOOOT.com, which focuses on one half of society – women.
KOOOT.com users now have access to two unique complete shopping zones: the Global Mall and the Women’s Souq. The first zone, the Global Mall, provides women with a wide array of the latest fashion, accessories, bags, shoes, household items, and cosmetics offered by reputed global brands with no presence in the Middle East. Founder and CEO of KOOOT.com Luma Bourisly notes, “this is one of KOOOT.com’s unique selling points. The Global Mall provides shoppers with products they will actually stand out in. At the same time, global brands get a gateway to the Middle Eastern market in an easy and more cost-effective manner than the traditional brick and mortar model.”
The user can also stroll the pathways of the souq al-hareem, the Women’s Souq, which is rich with high-quality products produced by Arab women. The Women’s Souq offers contemporary yet culturally-infused clothing items, accessories and household items. KOOOT is commited to empowering Arab women and enabling them to be economically independent – in a very practical way. CEO Luma Bourisly adds, “The regional market offers a large range of products. However, many women still don’t find what’s right for them for many reasons. It could be due to size unavailability, stock unavailability, color, budget constraints, the long distance to their favorite shop, or simply shortage of time. Thankfully, today, and with the launch of KOOOT.com, these troubles are becoming memories of the past as the market can be shrunk to literally fit within the palm of each woman’s hand. It couldn’t be more convenient for the busy woman, which we all are today in one way or another.”
Dialogue is foundational for KOOOT.com. For this reason, shoppers can read other shoppers’ reviews of products they have purchased, which helps them make an informed choice about their purchase. When a shopper buys the product, she can also express her views, which makes KOOOT.com a personal platform that caters to the tastes and desires of its audience.
Today, KOOOT.com caters for the UAE and Kuwait, with plans in the foreseeable future for expansion first in the GCC then to other Arab countries. Expansion is based first and foremost on consumer interest and catering to the unique demands of each market. In parallel, KOOOT.com will always maintain the high standard of customer care in partnership with the best logistics partner.