Today e-commerce site MarkaVIP announced new expansion across the Middle East. The flash sales company, which has already launched sites in the UAE and Saudi Arabia in November 2010, offers customers deeply discounted deals- between 40 and 70 per cent- on men's and women's apparrel, accessories, children's items, and electronics, and home decor.
While customers can only join by invite, MarkaVIP's model has already proven to be wildly successful in the U.S. and Europe; the site boasts seven figure monthly revenues and almost half a million members, with between 2,000 and 4,000 joining daily.
After receiving a boost from incubator Oasis 500, the company recently completed a round of $3 million in funding from U.S., European, and Middle Eastern investors, including Amman-based Kawar Group and Istanbul and London-based Hummingbird Ventures. While the site faces competition from Jabbar Group's site Sukar, its recent growth has brought its pageviews to par with its older rival, according to Alexa.com, positioning MarkaVIP to soon outpace Sukar.
According to Founder and CEO Ahmed Alkhatib, the key to MarkaVIP’s success has been market localisation. Despite the nascent state of e-commerce in the Middle East, he says the untapped potential of the region far outweighs the current barriers to entry.
“Our results to date show us there is a real appetite for an online shopping model that works for this region. For us that means localising the flash sales model and e-commerce lifecycle so that we don’t compromise our convenience promise to our members. From the sourcing of our products, to how we market them online, our customer-focused user experience, and having product fulfilment centres in each of our locations – it is all designed to give our members access to great brands at great prices with the best possible delivery times and with no hidden charges or custom duties,” noted Alkhatib.