“Five years from now, we want Danube Online to be regional. We want to expand beyond Saudi Arabia. And we have the support and knowledge to do this. When we have all these components in our business, it’s only natural that we would like to expand and conquer other markets,” shared Majed M Al Tahan, co-founder & CEO of Danube Online, during an exclusive interview with RetailME. “The business model will depend on the market we are penetrating. We are also looking to launch a new brand in 2019.”
The global benchmark in a mature market is for online to account for 10% of total sales. Danube Online is doing quite well, considering this benchmark. “We currently cover five cities and are continually expanding. The BinDawood Group has a network of 68 stores, and we are now offering the online shopping option in more than 12 of them across five major cities in the Kingdom. The plan is to activate at least one store every month depending on our strategy, covering the entire network eventually,” he shared.
AYM Commerce – the platform created to power the technology needed to revolutionise the Kingdom’s, and eventually the region’s, e-commerce space – handles all aspects of digitalisation and the IT needs of the Danube Online business. When this is combined with the BinDawood Group’s knowledge of the grocery landscape in Saudi Arabia, it’s a win-win situation.
In this context, Al Tahan stressed, “We don’t and will never prioritise one channel over another one – online over offline. It’s true that our clients tend to lean towards delivery because the click-and-collect model in our market is still not entirely convenient. Most of our customers opt for the home delivery option.”
“Another crucial aspect of online shopping – even offline actually – is product availability. Customers always expect to find what they are looking for while shopping – be it online or offline. Mainly when we cater to recurring clients, we must make sure that we have the same items and brands that they always purchase. The shopping experience must be hassle-free and enjoyable for them. Also, the delivery experience must also be pleasant, each time they order. We will always be mindful of these aspects,” he added.
Danube Online also realises the need for human touch, even while shopping online. “That’s why, we have activated our call centre, as we understood that customers prefer human interaction over resolving an issue on an app,” Al Tahan concluded.