The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is amongst the greatest places in the Middle East for establishing an eCommerce business. The country with a population of about 33 million has an internet penetration percentage of 65% which means that over 21 million Saudis are currently using the internet; the penetration percentage was only 2.2% back in 2001.
While Saudi Arabia may be growing slowly from an international standpoint, the growth seems unstoppable and is only gaining traction over time. About 10% of the population buy products using eCommerce platforms and considered one of the best countries of the Middle East when it comes to establishing trust in eCommerce markets.
A quick glimpse at Haraj, the biggest online marketplace in Saudi Arabia, can show you the progress and diversity eCommerce has reached in the country. Many may notice that it’s the biggest and first-stop for online shopping while having no products of its own or warehouses.
This is known as an online marketplace where the business model is based on the connection of buyers and sellers by using their website as a platform. The most famous examples of online marketplaces are Uber, Airbnb, and eBay. don’t forget to choose the right name for your store
This type of business is thriving in the boom of eCommerce that Saudi Arabia is witnessing as more people are now dependent on the internet to not only buy products but also sell some. We’ll be giving you a brief guide that can help you understand how you can create a marketplace or an online store.
We’ll need to first analyze Haraj to get an understanding of their business model and how they could bank on it to become successful. Haraj was mainly focused on the trade of cars, used and new, between buyers and sellers. After a few years, it moved on to the real estate and it didn’t take much longer for it to broaden the scope completely and become a marketplace for almost everything in Saudi Arabia.
It took a lot of experience and time to make the transition but with a condensed understanding of eCommerce thanks to the resources we have nowadays, it’s possible to create a similar functioning business.
A marketplace’s revenue is mainly from commission, listing and registration, promotions, and advertising fees. Every marketplace is different and some may focus on advertisements rather than subscription models and vice versa. A classifieds portal like Haraj can also create revenue from the value of generating leads for sellers.
What are the benefits?
The best thing about operating a marketplace is the neutrality and authentic feeling of a market that it provides. You’re able to connect merchants and people with personal items to sell with interested buyers with a low degree of effort. Users can buy products or services with the click of a button with great prices and convenience. A lot of online stores depend on a model that is loosely based on the marketplace’s business model which is like dropshipping, where products are shipped from the seller’s end.
A marketplace doesn’t need an inventory or storage to store goods, making it very cost-effective and attractive for startups. Sourcing all products and services are distributed across all the sellers on the store which reduces the load of required capital and allows its redirection towards more innovation and development for the store.
Building the Website
Thanks to the boom in eCommerce that the world has seen, developing or building your website doesn’t require you to undergo extensive training or hire expensive programmers to do the job. The essence of your online store is gracefully and easily manipulated by the platform you use, which many agencies provide.
Your main task would be finding the right platform to host your marketplace to ensure that you have the most reliable and cost-effective strategies right from the get-go. Building an online store from scratch takes an awful lot of time and money that a lot of startups and entrepreneurs may not be able to spare. Expandcart can take care of the website building to help you focus on other important aspects of creating an online store by efficiently streamlining the process.
Finding a Niche
Haraj didn’t originally start as a marketplace for basically everything like it is now, but it was about cars first. The vehicle market in Saudi Arabia is a booming one and there is always a lot of market activity for new and used cars.
Haraj managed to bank on that niche to start creating a solid customer base for its store. This is one of the most important steps in creating an online store, finding the right niche. It will help you set the pace and portray the image your brand or store would like to look like to consumers. It’s recommended that entrepreneurs remain focused on specifics before they expand onto more general scopes to make sure that the market place has a solid foundation at the start.
Any project has a budget, an online one is no different. The best thing about an online marketplace or a dropshipping business is that it doesn’t require the big amount of funds that are usually required by inventory stores.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t need a formidable budget for other important aspects. The choice of the platform you use for your store is usually one of your least worries thanks to yearly subscriptions provided by most hosts and developers. you can know more about ExpandCart prices
The costs of advertising and marketing are usually the highest at the early stage as you’re trying to get your name out there and you want to turn as many heads as possible towards your store.
You’ll want to not only advertise to merchants to start selling products at your store but also for customers to be interested in it. While it’s tempting to spend too much money at launch, it’s recommended to set the pace to a rhythm that allows you to grow comfortably.
There is no such thing as a market without competition, so expect to be up against more than one competitor in the eCommerce field. A startup may have a hard time going blow-to-blow with a huge marketplace like Haraj but that doesn’t mean that it can’t offer something different and more attractive.
If there is a competitor out there, you’ll need to find different ways to take them on, whether it’s priced, product range, customer experience, quality, merchants, and many more features.
There is no such thing as a perfect all-rounded store, not for all niches. You need to be aware that you may find a lot of competitors who are trying to do what you’re doing as well. Keeping a close ear to the ground should help you listen to the market’s pulse and prepare ahead. you can know more about ExpandCart
It’s truly a great time for eCommerce in Saudi Arabia as the country is becoming more internet-friendly than ever. It seems that the progression of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia into becoming integrated into the eCommerce network of the world isn’t coming to a stop any time soon.
There are some challenges of eCommerce operation in the Middle East but there are also other aspects that can be used to your advantage as internet literacy is increasing.