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Souq to list millions of products from Amazon

Dubai-based online marketplace enters new phase of $650m deal with e-commerce giant

Gulf News

Dubai: Souq, a Dubai-based online marketplace, announced the launch of the Amazon Global Store yesterday, offering its customers in the UAE the ability to shop for over one million Amazon products.

The products from Amazon are primarily intended to supplement key areas where Souq is lacking in selection, including fashion and apparel, according to Souq chief executive Ronaldo Mouchawar, speaking to Gulf News in an interview.

The Souq store will eventually hold many “millions [of Amazon products].”

“People always ask us: ‘When are we going to be able to buy Amazon products on Souq?’,” he said, adding: “This is step one.”

The chief executive refused to be drawn on the timeline for fully merging the Souq and Amazon brands, simply saying that he was focused on delivering the best customer experience possible.

“There’s no timeline, it’s a work in progress. Down the road, we’ll let you know as things evolve,” he said.

Since Amazon acquired Souq for a reported $650 million (Dh2.39 billion) in March, the pair have been slowly integrating back end systems, whilst quietly hiring for roles that will help to merge the two companies.

In August, Souq added AmazonBasics to its site, a collection of around 20 basic electronics products.

Million items

Now with over a million items, a “quite significant” amount according to Mouchawar, in this new phase of the partnership, Souq is trying to focus on categories of items its customers “always buy abroad because they can’t find locally.”

Mouchawar added that the majority of items added from Amazon’s inventory were “things [Souq] didn’t have, but they were things we knew that customers from this part of the world were buying.”

Souq customers will have the choice of ordering with priority shipping, meaning their purchase will arrive between two to five business days, or expedited shipping, with a delivery time of six to ten days.

The company also confirmed that customers would see prices in dirhams, inclusive of import fee deposits, at checkout (where applicable) — without any unexpected fees added later. Mouchawar noted that this was especially important given the introduction of value added tax (VAT).

“This is really a pain point for a customers. We want to make it as hassle-free to the customer as possible. That’s a real value add,” he said.

Despite coming from the United States (US), Souq confirmed that all of the features that Middle East customers were familiar with, such as cash on delivery (CoD) and Arabic customer service.

Users will be able to shop Souq and Amazon products together, or separately, in English or in Arabic.

“When we acquired Souq, our goal was to provide the best possible service for millions of customers in the Middle East by supporting them with Amazon technology and global resources,” Samir Kumar, Vice President of International Retail at Amazon said in a separate statement.