Mil­lions of prod­ucts just a click away...

Ama­zon-style por­tal for UAE shop­pers is set to be launched

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Shoshana Ke­dem @B_shosh

A new e-com­merce ser­vice will give UAE shop­pers ac­cess to 20 mil­lion prod­ucts in what its lead fi­nancier de­scribed as the “big­gest on­line shop­ping plat­form ever in the re­gion”.

Wealthy busi­ness­man Mo­hamed Alab­bar said Noon.com will rev­o­lu­tionise on­line shop­ping when it launches in Jan­uary. It will use Aramex and its own dis­tri­bu­tion firm to of­fer same-day de­liv­ery.

Speak­ing at Dubai Opera House yes­ter­day, Alab­bar, who is also Chair­man of prop­erty de­vel­oper Emaar, said: “We are turn­ing the e-com­merce en­vi­ron­ment in the re­gion up­side down.”

The busi­ness is the cul­mi­na­tion of $1 bil­lion of in­vest­ment. Some $500 mil­lion was raised by Dubai-based Alab­bar and a group of in­vestors while the rest is pro­vided by the Saudi gov­ern­ment’s Pub­lic In­vest­ment Fund.

Noon will have its head of­fice in Riyadh but will op­er­ate from a huge dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre – the size of 60 foot­ball fields – at Dubai World Cen­tral.

Among the goods that Noon will of­fer will be cloth­ing, books, sports gear, toys and elec­tron­ics.

How­ever, the firm did not state how it will track down cus­tomer ad­dresses for de­liv­ery, which has been a key ob­sta­cle to e-com­merce in the past.

Alab­bar, though, still de­scribed Noon as “noth­ing less than a quan­tum leap in re­tail in the re­gion, and the world”.

Alab­bar said he ex­pects the new com­pany to have a dom­i­nant mar­ket share in the re­gion, claim­ing it will of­fer 10 times the amount of prod­ucts of firms al­ready in the mar­ket. He said: “With Noon, we are of­fer­ing the most cus­tomer-cen­tric e-com­merce ex­pe­ri­ence avail­able any­where. In one move, we are launch­ing a fu­ture-fo­cused com­pany which is the big­gest on­line shop­ping plat­form ever seen in the re­gion. Noon is a com­pany born in the Mid­dle East and serves cus­tomers in the Mid­dle East.” Pay­ment will be made through NoonPay, its own pay­ment sys­tem. In July, it was re­ported that Alab­bar was a lead in­vestor in Bo­son Ven­tures Cor­po­ra­tion, which pur­chased a 9.9 per cent share in Aramex. Noon CEO Fod­hil Ben­turquia said “our cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence will be driven by state-of-the-art tech­nol­ogy that will power ev­ery­thing from prod­uct dis­cov­ery to pur­chase and de­liv­ery”. He said that the firm will be work­ing with re­tail­ers to sell their prod­ucts through the site. Noon said it aims to grow on­line sales in the re­gion from two per cent of the to­tal mar­ket ($3 bil­lion), to 15 per cent ($70 bil­lion) within a decade.

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