The e-commerce industry is slowly but surely gaining ground in the Middle East, with countless group buying sites, a couple of flash sale sites, private shopping sites like Sukar, and a wide variety of straightforward shopping sites, like Nahel.
Souq has been one of the few Middle East based sites that gives store owners the chance to get their goods online without having to create their own online store.
Souq is now joined by the Lebanon-based Mizalla. For the time being, you can browse products by brand or category, but the site will also feature individual stores. Store owners can fill out an online form to get their own products listed in their own online store within Mizalla. The site will also market and feature your products, and will also handle customer service, deliveries and payments for you, while also offering extensive management tools for your store.
As far as shoppers are concerned, right now the site features electronic products only, with digital cameras, computers, accessories and more. Mizalla will be adding beauty, fashion and sports products later in the year, with the aim of becoming a one-stop-site for a wide variety of product types.
Payment options include online credit card payments and cash-on-delivery, with the latter a necessity for any Middle Eastern ecommerce site. Mizalla will also offer international shipping, but not on all products. At the moment, all of the listings can only be shipped within Lebanon.
While the products are slightly more expensive than other Middle East based sites, for its Lebanese customers, the shipping speed and low shipping costs make it a great choice. Mizalla’s strength will really come into play once other stores start selling their products through the site.
Mizalla is definitely to be hailed as it is Lebanon’s first ecommerce site and is coming into a market plagued with challenges. Lebanon’s internet speeds are among the lowest not only in the Middle East, but also in the world, and ecommerce is a brand new concept to the country. However, with some pretty significant changes underway in Lebanon’s Internet infrastructure, this upcoming period may be the perfect time to venture into the ecommerce world in Lebanon.