Is online shopping the next big thing in the UAE?
It has a modest number of retailers and products, and its ‘doors’ have been open for little over a week...
But a new retail website promising to give shoppers the experience of an ‘online mall’ is the future of shopping in the UAE… at least according to its boss.
New site Tejuri.com has rounded up more than 40 retailers, including well-known brands such as Sharaf DG, Jumbo Electronics and homeware firm Marina, given them each a ‘store’ on its site, and promised shoppers “a mall environment in an online space”.
The site’s managing director, Ayaz Maqbool, told 7DAYS on Monday that the project offers retailers the chance to tap into an online shopping market “worth billions” without the hassle of setting up their own site, delivery operation or online payments system.
From the consumer’s point of view, he’s promises a trust-worthy site that deals with established retailers, not obscure third-party sellers; the chance to compare prices between different retailers and a refunds policy up to the standards desired by consumer authorities. But is it really an ‘online mall’?
Maqbool has no doubts, saying: “Our online shopping mall is primarily a place built for the retailers of Dubai registered by Dubai’s Department of Economic Development to bring their merchandise online and go to market to capture the interest of online shoppers from across the Middle East.”
When 7DAYS pointed out that the single shirt currently displayed on the site’s male fashion section was unlikely to be giving The Dubai Mall any nightmares, Maqbool said it would take time to build the site’s product range, but that it already sells in-demand electronics such as the new BlackBerry Z10. And he expects the number of retailers to swell quickly from the site’s current 40 or so partners.
“Forty is just to start with - we will see almost every week new retailers being added,” he said, adding his vision is for 25 per cent of Dubai’s retail brands to have a presence on Tejuri.com.
“We have built this mall to be a mid-price point family shopping mall,” he said, adding that trying to lure the likes of luxury jeweller Tiffany or couture fashion houses is not his goal.
“We are not looking at the likes of Louis Vuitton at this point in time - because these are super-luxury retailers,” he said. Visitors to this mall may not be able to munch a hamburger, whizz round an ice rink or visit a cinema, but Maqbool is convinced of its appeal.
No closing hours, a lack of crowds and established brands for a start. Teenagers who spend half their lives in Dubai’s malls generally do so for leisure - and prefer to shop online, he claimed. Ultimately, the site hopes to help develop the UAE’s nascent e-commerce market.
“The UAE is a very big online shopping market - but people are not buying from websites here. The majority of the money leaks out to other countries and websites outside the region,” Maqbool said.