Wysada.com is a website capitalizing on the rise of e-commerce in the MENA region, furnishing, literally, households in Jordan, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. CEO Mohammad Musleh tells Whitney McNamara how the tested business model, tweaked for the regional market, will soon expand into the greater Arab world.

 

Wysada.com launched on January 1, simultaneously in Jordan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, to bring its clientele exclusive, high-end products ranging from home décor and accessories, furniture and lighting, bed and bathing, kitchen and dining, to garden and outdoor, gifts and gadgets, home and electrical appliances as well as kid and baby products – all on one user-friendly website. The items, originating from a plethora of international brands, are gained exclusively by the website through direct relationships with companies and sold on the site at discounted prices. Website members can then sift through high resolution images of the upscale products, giving them access to select international brands at a lowered price.

 

Selling Points

The proven business model, successfully carried out in other countries like the US-based One Kings Lane, is a win-win for furniture and home accessory brands, customers and Wysada alike.  Regional Marketing Manager Nebras Sawalha explains how Wysada is filling in the gaps of the market to attract a strong customer base, “We are creating demand and finding glitches in the market. For example, let us look at your offline stores, like Home Centre or IKEA. Usually, the delivery time ranges between three weeks to a month while we ensure we deliver whatever inventory you want within four to five days within the UAE and five to seven days outside the Emirates.” Other factors include making buying online seamless for customers, especially in markets that are just catching on to e-commerce. The website offers various payment methods and a flexible yet expedient delivery schedule. Shoppers are also attracted to a function of the website that simultaneously allows shoppers to share their purchases online via social media and receive rewards while, at the same time, also promoting Wysada.com. The CEO explains, “We give customers a social shopping experience. When they buy an item, they can share it and like it, as you would on Facebook or Twitter, and we reward them in return.” Shoppers can indulge in the retail experience with friends and family, gain incentive to go back to the site to use their rewards and promote the website concurrently.

 

Customers also trust the quality of the products that are handpicked by professional personal buyers from all over the world, whether London, Hong Kong, Istanbul or Dubai. The buyers go to international exhibitions and use their wide database of suppliers, analyze future trends and regional specific market needs and select the best possible products.

 

Musleh notes that within Wysada’s diverse markets, clientele from different countries have different tastes, “[For example] People from Saudi prefer leather products, while in the UAE they like gadgets and kitchenware. The same can be said of Jordan, where dining ware is also popular.” Despite the variances among markets, the products on the website are meant to complement each other to create one cohesive database with products for every taste. “The target is to cover all the purchasing power, a mix of brands and prices for a complete lifestyle picture that fits all.”

 

Another attractive selling point to customers is the exclusivity of goods on the site, Sawalha says, “Brands you cannot get anywhere else. Seventy-five percent of what we offer is not available in the Middle East. We do that by signing exclusivity [agreements] with all the dealers directly. That is why we have so many offices all over the world, to secure the best quality products at the best possible prices.” In return, furniture and home accessory companies are granted exposure to the Middle Eastern market without needing the capital or the risk of penetrating the market on a full scale. The company’s CEO emphasizes, “The key success is the relationship with the buyer and good relationships with the brands. We build relationships and show that financially we are going to open new markets in the Middle East for them, most of whom don’t have a presence there yet.”

 

Success Points: Big Inventory, Small Products And Generating Lifestyle

Part of Wysada’s success comes from its calculated risk in investing in its inventory. To ensure that drop shipments, or goods shipped on demand once ordered, do not undercut the savings brought to the customer, Wysada orders directly from the dealers and stores the goods in the company’s central 1,000-square-meter warehouse in Dubai. Wysada’s CEO says, “Instead of working through the middle man, we purchase the inventory in advance and that is why we have such a big warehouse. It is risky, but that is how we differ from other online shops.”

 

Wysada also stays competitive by knowing its consumers. The website mainly focuses on décor and accessories of the home, favoring pieces like a detailed quilt over a bed frame and a beaded edge cake stand rather than a kitchen table for two. The company’s regional marketing manager explains, “The market is not ready for [big pieces] yet. Probably, the only one who is doing well with that is IKEA, where it actually provides you with dimensions of a couch. The CEO continues, “We do not have the industry for that yet, as people [in this part of the world] are not yet used to buying online. For now, the model is not logistically feasible for big items with high delivery costs.” However, they are both sure that is where the future of the business is going when the market matures. Sawalha says, “We are studying the market and we can probably do campaigns where we can invite people to the warehouse so they can see the couch before they buy it.” Musleh adds, “Slowly, we will go to bigger items.”

 

Lastly, Wysada.com does well to not be a flat retail website, but an interactive, visually- appealing experience. The artistic, high quality pictures rarely show an item alone, but among other similarly-styled items in a real life setting so shoppers can visualize the product in their home. The company’s regional marketing manager says, “We believe in rich content, especially Arabic rich content, which is lagging in this region.” Emphasizing the creation of a lifestyle website, he continues, “We are not just selling the product; we are selling the idea. Shopping in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, people don’t just shop to purchase; it is part of their lifestyle.” To ensure the website is not just passively providing products but continuously engaging customers and staying on the cutting edge of interior design, Wysada.com’s blog gives free decorating tips and tricks. Sawalha says, “We want to be trend creators, giving you the tip of what is the upcoming trend, so we have consultants, designers and interior designers all around the world to give the best advice.” Musleh states, “We are looking forward to becoming the interior design authority.”

 

Future Furnishings

The three markets of Jordan, the UAE and Saudi Arabia were entered at Wysada’s launch for different, yet strategic, purposes. The Jordanian Wysada founders knew there was a potential, albeit modest market in Jordan for the site. The company’s CEO explains, “The Jordanian market is a good and mature one, but it is not our main market; Saudi Arabia and the UAE are.” The latter of the two was targeted for its high buying power, Sawalha explains, “There are more expats and more tech-savvy customers who are more likely to purchase online. Also beneficial is the high Internet and credit card penetration. E-commerce in this region is still an emerging market.” Saudi Arabia was also a natural choice, simply because of its hefty population and high purchasing power. As it stands now, Saudi Arabia represents roughly 40% of the site’s business. Closely following is the UAE with around 30% and Jordan at 25%. However, the company’s CEO notes that, “In the future, Jordan will not represent more than 5% of our sales.” While, at the time of the interview, the website had been live for 20 days, Musleh says that it has had repeat customers buy over six times in that period. While the Wysada CEO seems pleased with the success, the high numbers were clearly anticipated as Musleh explains the company is already gearing up to launch the site in more locations in the Gulf and North Africa, which, despite its first launch only occurring one month prior, should happen “within months, if not weeks”, he said, concluding his interview with Jordan Business.

 

 

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