Dubai: Souq.com, the region’s largest online retailer, is bringing America’s biggest shopping day — Black Friday — to the region for the third time in a bid to give a shot in the arm to e-commerce.
Souq brought Black Friday to the Middle East for the first time in 2014 but christened it as ‘White Friday’ in respect to Friday being the day of worship, gathering, friends and family in the Arab world.
Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving (November 25), has emerged as the busiest shopping day of the year in the US, with retailers offering huge discounts and attractive time-constraint deals.
A similar concept in China, known as Singles Day on November 11, saw the online giant Alibaba generate close to $18 billion (Dh66.11 billion) worth of e-commerce sales in just 24 hours.
Usually, the shopping day is for 24 hours, but Souq is holding the event for four days — November 23-26.
Ronaldo Mouchawar, CEO and co-Founder of Souq.com, said that one million items are expected to be sold this year compared to 600,000 last year, with 25,000 exclusive new deals. In 2014, it sold 200,000 units.
He expects 20 million visits during the four-day event and 200 locations for customers to pick up their deliveries.
“Today’s new generation of tech-savvy shoppers use smartphones to do their research on pricing to make sure they are getting the best possible price point for their desired purchase. Our warehouses and distribution centres across the region are preparing to serve more than two million items for the event,” he said.
Souq aims to dispatch all its deliveries to the UAE within 48-72 hours of purchase this year compared to around six days last year. It has also partnered with online ride-provider Careem for additional support in Saudi Arabia.
“More than 1,500 of the leading brands and companies will be selling their products online and many bricks and mortar retailers are also joining our platform for the shopping festival,” he said.
Mouchawar said that e-commerce opportunities are massive in the region, particularly with the surging smartphone penetration rates. The Middle East e-commerce is predicted to reach over $20 billion (Dh73.4 billion) this year.
“Today, we’re a courier company, a payment company, a customer service company, a warehousing company and an e-commerce company altogether,” he said.
Souq has also partnered with Visa to offer 10 per cent off all deals during the event.