Currently, online business accounts for less than 2% of overall retail in the region. There is massive room for growth. E-commerce will account for a significant part of retail over the next decade, stressed Mona Ataya, founder & CEO of Mumzworld during an exclusive interview with RetailME. “Brick-and-mortar, however, won’t disappear. Only those that are unable to crack the digital code will stand to suffer.”
Commenting on how the online retail landscape in the region has transformed, Ataya observed, “As a retail landscape, in the past 12-18 months, the region has completely shifted. Eight years ago, when we started Mumzworld, people were convinced that e-commerce, m-commerce and things like artificial intelligence (AI) are fads that would come and go. But we firmly believed and affirmed our outlook that e-commerce and m-commerce are here to stay and technologies like AI will transform the way retailers sell and consumers buy. As customers are looking for personalised, faster and more intelligent experiences, technologies like AI today play a pivotal role. We are looking very closely at AI to optimise customer experience, making their journey in the digital space faster and seamless.”
Another significant development within the regional e-commerce landscape is consolidation. “The giants of yesterday will not remain giants tomorrow,” Ataya proclaimed. “Today we see big brick-and-mortar retailers reaching out to pure online players to understand how e-commerce works because they realise the importance of the online channel. They realise that brick-and-mortar, as a standalone channel, will not work anymore. Thus, we are seeing more and more brick-and-mortar retailers collaborating with digital experts, either regionally or globally.”
Launched in 2011, today Mumzworld is a vertical leader in the mother, baby and child category carrying over 250,000 products – sourced directly from manufacturers and retailers, globally – which is doubling every year. Mumzworld has also expanded its exclusive distribution rights for over 25,000 brands, including brands like Munchkin, in the region. The brand services over 2.5 million mums, delivering to more than 20 countries. The website, according to Ataya, has grown 50 times in the past five years. What’s more, in October 2018, Mumzworld raised $20 million Series B funding to build the business further.
“With our last strategic and financial investment round, KSA is now our biggest market, surpassing the UAE in only nine months,” Ataya revealed. “We are setting up new infrastructure in Saudi Arabia. While we will continue to grow in KSA and the UAE, we plan to expand further in the GCC and beyond in 2019. Also, we are looking at consolidation, building retail and services synergies, all the while keeping the customer at the forefront.”