Middle Eastern e-commerce major Souq.com has launched its online hypermarket in a bid to broaden its operations, it said in a statement. The new platform, christened as Souq Superstore, offers a wide range of daily use products.
It will also have curated stores, including an organic food corner, chocolate shop and ‘food of the world’, available for delivery to customers across UAE, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, the firm said.
With the launch of Souq Superstore, the e-tailer aims to tap demand from a growing number of customers who are shopping online. Over 34% of online shoppers are expected to buy groceries online this year versus 21% in 2015, according to a recent study by Morgan Stanley.
Ronaldo Mouchawar, co-founder and CEO of Souq.com, said that it was an exciting time to launch such a category as our digitally savvy consumers in the market are leading the online shopping trend and we are experiencing exponential growth in m-commerce, Mouchawar said.
The move comes after Dubai-based Souq.com invested an undisclosed amount in online grocery ordering app InstaShop.
The InstaShop app allows users to have groceries delivered to their doorstep in as little as 30 minutes. It is available on Android and iOS.
Souq had said at the time that the investment would help it expand its offering in the fast moving consumer goods and grocery segments.
Souq Superstore is a result of the e-tailer’s efforts to broaden its customer base in the same vein and the InstaShop acquisition seems to have powered it.
A new direction
Over the years, Souq has emerged as the top regional internet giant that sells almost 1.5 million products across 30 odd categories in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), attracting almost 45 million visits per month, with over 10,000 merchants.
In February this year, Souq got a shot in the arm when it raised $275 million from a group that included existing investors—New York-based Tiger Global Management and Cape Town-based Naspers—and new participants including Standard Chartered Private Equity.
In a recent interview with Inc. Arabia, Mouchawar said that he wanted to pivot Souq.com gradually into another direction.
For a long time, Souq was known for its electronics inventory. Since then it has expanded to other categories, including fashion, mothercare, sports, household appliances, and recently, into furniture.
But in the next stage of growth, Mouchawar wants it to be the retailer of choice for all things—daily or occasional.