Welcome to another installment of PAYFORT’s merchant of the month series where we highlight the region’s leading businesses and share their insight on what it takes to succeed in the Arab world.
This week we’re chatting with Rodolph Salem the Marketing & Ecommerce head of Abdulwahed Trading Co. to learn about what it takes to become a leader in the ecommerce space and empower consumers to shop how they want to shop. Ahmed Abdulwahed Trading Co. opened its doors in the 1960’s with the launch of its first retail store and has since grown into one of the regions leading suppliers of smart lifestyle electronic products. Their ecommerce platform Abdulwahed.com offers a unique shopping experience that prides itself on providing consumers with access to leading international brands.
If you’re looking to learn what it takes to transition an established business into the world of ecommerce keep reading!
What was the inspiration for Abdulwahed.com?
We started our journey in February 2016 with the launch of our online business Abdulwahed.com covering a wide range of products including photography, home appliances, personal care, audio & video, computers and tablets, mobile phones, gaming, storage & accessories items.
Our customers are our inspiration & our mission is to help them find smart products for their modern lifestyle by carefully sourcing the finest products for them from all leading international brands. We then present these products in a professional manner design to create an optimal shopping experience.
What problem are you solving?
Where else can you shop at midnight? You don’t have to wait in a line or wait till the shop assistant helps you with your purchases. You can do your shopping in a minute, anytime, hassle free, saving time and avoiding crowds in the process.
Our online store gives consumers the opportunity to shop 24 x 7 and most importantly has the benefit of providing a pollution-free shopping experience.
What is your target market?
Our main target market is currently Saudi Arabia with a focus on the main cities where we are one of the key players. We are also looking at opportunities to expand our business across the MENA region with a key focus on GCC countries in the coming years.
What differentiates you from other competitors in the region?
Abdulwahed.com is a part of Ahmed Abdulwahed Trading Co. the biggest multi brand distributor and retailer of smart lifestyle electronic products in the region. With access to more than 40 big brand names and a growing network of brick and mortar showrooms, the company can leverage its scale to create an exceptional shopping experience for our customers.
Our company has received many awards from government and commercial bodies, and we are frequently rewarded by foreign companies for providing the best after sales support to Saudi Arabian consumers.
How much time did it take you from conceptualization of ‘your venture’ to actually launching it in the market?
The initial discussions for Abdulwahed.com started in March/April 2014. The decision to kick-start the project was taken towards end of February 2015. We have started working on the technology in May 2015 and went live with the platform’s beta version in February 2016.
Since then, the website and its mobile version have gone through many updates to make sure we keep improving our shopping experience. We will be ready to launch our new version in 2 months from now that will implement a number of the latest best practices used in the ecommerce industry.
Are there any obstacles that are impacting Abdulwahed?
Just like every business, we can be impacted by an overall slow-down of the economy & we often face the typical growing pains associated with a start-up environment. With that said, we have a very dedicated team that are always working to overcome obstacles with strategic planning and a forward-thinking mindset.
What role has social media played in growing your business?
Social Media is a key part of our business; the reality is that there’s no better way to connect with our target audience. We utilize our social channels to frequently engage with our consumers, find out customer insights, and promote our services and product offerings.
We work hard to curate audience profiles that are appropriate for our goals and we are constantly optimizing our social efforts to make sure we connect with the right customers.
What sort of support and feedback are you looking for from the community?
Any kind of feedback is valuable for us, if it can help us to enhance our services & exceed our consumers expectations, we want to know about it. Our team is always working hard to serve our customs and provide a great experience.
We value our clients’ feedback and learn from the shared experiences to enhance our services & products and continue to exceed our market expectations.
What advice would you give to new start-ups in the region?
DO NOT COPY! DO NOT COPY! Oh, and did I mention DO NOT COPY!
The current ecommerce space is a price driven market & this is not good for the long run. Copying a company’s business model and only competing on price leaves everyone worse off. Instead look for opportunities to create innovative solutions to real consumer problems.
Think outside the box & be unique!
Interested in learning more about Abdulwahed.com? Or maybe you have a question for them? Be sure to leave a comment below or even better reach out to them on Twitter. And if you’re looking for more of our merchants’ great stories be sure to check out our last Merchant of the Month post on Jaleesa, the region’s leading babysitter booking service.