Wysada announces investment from MENA Venture Investments; here's how it plans to build loyalty

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Wysada
, a flash sales site based in Amman, Jordan, has announced investment from MENA Venture Investments (MVI), a Jordan-based angel investment fund focused on early stage startups.

While the terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, MVI will also provide strategic support and consultancy to the flash sales site, which focuses on home goods. (Disclosure: MVI shares some of its management and investment team with Wamda Capital).

While it launched last November under heated rivalry with Desado, a similar homes goods flash sales site, Wysada has managed to build a loyal customer base, in hopes of continuing to edge out the competition. Thirty percent of its buyers are repeat customers, and 60% of its inventory are repurchases (meaning items that are purchased by repeat buyers). In lay speak, that means the majority of its inventory is going to returning customers.

Now, Wysada will be using the investment to acquire more loyal customers, says CEO Mohammad Musleh. It also has a low return rate, at 4%, which it hopes to maintain or improve on by expanding warehousing from Dubai to Jordan and Saudi Arabia as well, and managing its own last mile delivery (as every e-commerce site hopes to do).

Focusing on loyalty, which eludes daily deals sites, is crucial; it’s what drives growth in flash sales. Or so say the founders of One King’s Lane, the popular U.S.-based home goods flash sales site that debuted the model in the U.S. in 2008. Since then, OKL has raised over $110 million and grown to 6 million users. Seventy-five percent of its purchases are now made by repeat customers, founder Doug Mack revealed in January this year.

Here’s what’s in the OKL secret sauce:

  1. A focus on telling stories. PandoDaily reports that after its recent $50 million Series D round at the end of December, OKL started looking to build out its content even further, going beyond well-written descriptions to launching a fully fledged online magazine, in the tradition of short-lived style publication Domino
     
  2. Tag sales and contextual marketing. The reason that OKL is boosting content is that 75% of its sales come from contextual marketing, or advice,  such as “five ways to use an ottoman in your home,” and tag sales, in which a famous designer curates items from his or his personal collection, writer Burt Helm told Inc.
     
  3. Heavy traction on mobile. “25% of our revenue comes from mobile,” says Helms. That means that of the $300 million in sales the company expects to see this year, $75 million will be done over mobile.

Wysada isn't far from following those same trends. It's not rocket science, but building loyalty requires quality. Here’s what Wysada is planning.

  1. It’s launching its own brand. Initially, as many flash sales sites do, Wysada depended on products sold from vendors in the U.S. and abroad, which were, for the most part, shipped in over 2-3 weeks. It also launched with a heavy focus (75% of inventory) on home accessories, betting that these would entice early customers. 
     
    Now, as the site grows from 3 campaigns a day to 5, they’re focusing more on sourcing unique designers, and seeing more demand for larger items, says Sawalha. “In the beginning, gifts and gadgets were selling well, and then we saw a shift to accessories and kitchen and dining products, with a few larger purchases for couches and sofas.” 
     
    To serve that market, Wysada will now be developing its own line of couches and sofas to offer a “full range of homeware products.”
     
  2. Increasing tag sales. In April, Wysada hosted famous chef Jamie Oliver to curate a tag sale, which is still ongoing. He also conducted an interview on the Wysada blog, which will continue to feature articles from homeware experts in both English and Arabic (and could perhaps be more colorful). Tag sales will continue, especially as the site focuses on the site’s social experience, says Musleh.
     
  3. Also going mobile.  Wysada isn’t ignoring the trends, especially in a region with some of the highest smartphone penetration rates around the globe. “We’ll go mobile within the quarter,” says Sawalha.

It’s still early days in the home goods sector, and the struggles of e-commerce companies are well-known (name one that has been able to enter the Saudi market easily). But by focusing on the customer at all costs, Wysada may have a chance at building what a flash sales site might need most of all- a soul

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