A souq is an open-air marketplace of the sort that can still be found in countries situated through the world, with some examples being so successful that they should be considered nothing less than full-fledged commercial quarters in their own right. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that a website named for the concept is focused on e-commerce. To be precise, Souq.com is an e-commerce platform that operates in both English and Arabic for customers in Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, which has been sometimes compared to the Amazon of the Arab world.
Souq.com is the creation of Ronaldo Mouchawar and his partners at the Jabbar Internet Group, who had been inspired by Mouchawar’s father’s career as a merchant, while its name is inspired by the famous souqs that could be found in Mouchawar’s hometown of Aleppo, which was once one of the most important trading hubs in the world. However, it is interesting to note that Souq.com started out in 2005 not as an e-commerce platform in its own right but as an auction site attached to Maktoob, which was a popular website in the Arab world that provided a number of important Internet services before it was bought out by Yahoo. It was not until later in 2011 that Souq.com switched over to an online shopping website that offered retail products to interested individuals, which is a choice that has met with incredible success throughout the Arab world.
For proof, look no further than the fact that Souq.com was able to raise an astonishing $150 million by 2014, which was not just impressive in its own right but even more impressive in the context that it was the largest amount that had been raised by an Internet-based business in the Middle East by that point in time. Furthermore, further proof of Souq.com’s stature in the Arab world can be seen in how its founder, Ronaldo Mouchawar, was the one who popularized the concept of White Friday, which is based on the United States’ Black Friday but received a rebranding for the purpose of making it more suitable for local sensibilities. Based on these facts, it is clear that Souq.com is a formidable business in its own right, which explains why Amazon has become so interested that it is negotiating for the right to buy out the e-commerce platform.
Why Should Amazon Buy Souq.com?
There are a number of reasons that Amazon should be interested in buying out Souq.com. For example, Souq.com has semi-automated fulfillment centers situated in Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, which makes it possible for it to fulfill its customers’ purchases in a more effective and efficient manner than otherwise possible. Furthermore, the semi-automated fulfillment centers are backed by a full-fledged set of operations that encompasses customer service, engineering, retail, and other segments with a total of 2,500 personnel situated throughout the region, which are essential for ensuring the continuing success of the e-commerce platform because no component can hope to function on its own. Should Amazon buy out Souq.com, it will have a full-fledged set of operations that can start selling its retail products to interested individuals throughout the Arab world as soon as possible with minimal changes needed, which is something with a degree of importance that cannot be underestimated.
Continuing on this note, should Amazon buy out Souq.com, it will be able to pick up its brand name recognition in the Arab world, which is an insubstantial thing but nonetheless one of the most important assets that a business can have regardless of its size and regardless of its sector. This is because brand name recognition increases a potential customer’s trust in the business, thus increasing the chances of a successful sale while also decreasing the amount of time and effort needed to convince them, which are two of the most critical factors in the world of marketing. Souq.com’s brand is something that it has bulit up over the course of years and years by selling to millions and millions of satisfied customers, meaning that it is that much more valuable because it is not something that can be built up within a matter of moments or even months.
Both of these factors are relevant because Amazon could be earning more in the Middle East than it is at the moment. By buying out Souq.com, Amazon would be able to serve two important purposes with a single transaction. First, it picks up a lot of the infrastructure needed to provide its usual level of excellence to potential customers throughout the Middle East, which is not just expensive but also time-consuming to set up, thus enabling it to start making inroads as soon as possible. Second, it eliminates one of the biggest obstacles to its expansion into the region by absorbing it rather than competing with it head-on, which is important because there is a limit to the number of competing e-commerce platforms that can survive in a particular market. Summed up, should Amazon succeed, it will become an important player in the Middle East in little more than an instant while also bypassing a lot of the problems plaguing its intended expansion into the region, thus making it a matter of incredible importance.
Will Amazon Buy Souq.com?
Of course, it remains unknown whether Amazon will succeed in buying out Souq.com or not. After all, the public does not know all of the information that is known to the two parties, meaning that it is impossible to speak with certainty about the outcome of the negotiations until they are done. Furthermore, even if Amazon succeeds in buying out Souq.com, it remains to be seen what will happen to the e-commerce platform. Perhaps it will become Amazon’s branch in the Middle East, or perhaps it will remain a semi-independent e-commerce platform brought under Amazon’s aegis. Regardless of what happens, the outcome is sure to prove an exciting one for not just people interested in e-commerce but also for consumers throughout the Arab world.
Update – it did!