By Mohamed Alaa El-Din
Leading classifieds website Dubizzle plans to focus further on awareness-increasing campaigns during the upcoming months, to encourage user to re-sell their unused goods by advertising them on the sharing economy backing website.
Abdallah Touqan, the Senior Manager of MENA Public Relations and Communication at Dubizzle , told Daily News Egypt that the website has more than 250,000 visitors a day in the local market, while more than 3 million buyers and sellers interacted with Dubizzle in 2014. He noted that more than 600,000 ads were placed on the website during the same year.
How are classified ads attractive for customers?
Internet advertising provides individuals with the opportunity to display their goods to more users. This makes the selling process easier, safer, with best price guaranteed. Many users now display their valuable goods for sale through the website, due to the safety it provides as the seller keeps their goods until they reach a final agreement with a buyer through Dubizzle or any other classified ads websites. This ensures that the selling process will be easily conducted while achieving the best benefit.
For example, one user put up the car of the late President Anwar El-Sadat for sale through the site. The ‘74 Cadillac was sold on the website. Another user sold an Airbus aircraft using Dubizzle, while yet another user successfully sold his valuable diamond set.
When a user puts a valuable product on sale, like the mentioned examples, we follow up on them by phone to make sure the process went smoothly. We only do that to ensure they made the best use of the service, without charging any fees or commissions.
How do you evaluate the Egyptian experience in dealing with classified ads?
We began in the Egyptian market almost four years ago, although we only started our marketing campaigns in Egypt during the last two years. Our main challenge in the Egyptian market is the consumers’ lack of awareness about classified ads services.
We, in Dubizzle, also encountered a problem in the Egyptian market as consumers sometimes have problems differentiating between Dubizzle, as a free classified ads service, and e-commerce sites. This is a common, yet big, mistake. We help consumers sell their goods by providing an online space for ads. On the other hand, e-commerce websites sell consumer’s product themselves.
It is difficult to convince Arab consumers, especially Egyptians, to let go of the culture of keeping their collectibles. Egyptian users, often, do not get rid of their used products, even if they are no longer needed. Those products can help others as they will be sold at lower prices, which could meet their economic status, thus helping both seller and buyer.
How many classified ads are on the website currently?
The websites receives more than 250,000 visits a day. During the last year, more than 3 million sellers and buyers have benefited from the service, and more than 600,000 ads were displayed. We expect the indicators to ascend by the end of this year, especially with the launch of several awareness campaigns that contribute to spreading a culture of giving up second-hand products by reselling them.
What are the attractive factors for providing classified ads service in the Egyptian market?
The Egyptian market has witnessed a significant growth in e-commerce activity during the last three years. This can be seen clearly by looking at the number of working e-commerce companies in the Egyptian market, as well as electronic payment solutions companies. This reflects the investment opportunities in the provision of services to the Egyptian consumer via the Internet, as well as the Egyptian consumer’s acceptance of new services. Egyptians are always eager to experience new things. The Egyptian market is Dubizzle’s second largest market after the UAE, among 11 Arab markets wherein the company operates.
The other factor that attracts investment opportunities in the Egyptian market is the online services and the number of university graduates every year, which provides the human resource. The population number, almost 90 million people, means different needs and different social strata. This is a necessity now with the growing importance of electronics. Thus, Dubizzle represents a platform for displaying low-priced products that fit consumers’ needs.
What products see the highest-demand from consumers?
During 2014, mobile phones, computers and accessories topped the list of the most demanded products on Dubizzle, and then came cloths. The iPhone 4 and Samsung S4 were the most demanded mobile phones by local users. The used iPhone 4’s average price was EGP 1,500 on Dubizzle, while the average price for the new iPhone 4 was EGP 2,500. As for the Samsung S4, its average price on the website reached EGP 1,950, while the average price for the new Samsung S4 was EGP 2,700. As for cars, Fiat, Hyundai and Daewoo were most searched for by local users.
What is the difference between the Egyptian and the Emirati user?
There are similarities as well as differences between both. To set an example, 97% of Dubizzle’s users in Egypt use the Arabic version; the remaining 3% use its English version. Conversely, in the UAE, more than 95% of Dubizzle’s users use the website’s English version, while the other 5% use Dubizzle’s Arabic version. The main reason is the variety of nationalities in the Emirati market. Also the Egyptian market is still attached to the idea of keeping old products, unlike the Emirati market, which managed to change this.
What are the cornerstones of your plan in the Egyptian market during the upcoming period?
Over the upcoming period, we will concentrate on our awareness campaign regarding the importance of getting rid of old products by selling them to achieve an economic value, and so that others can benefit from them. Our goal is to develop a cooperative economy. We will also concentrate on offering our service through the Dubizzle application for smart phones.
Does selling used products help support and develop the Egyptian economy?
The first beneficiary from this is the Egyptian user through many ways. First of all, they directly benefits from this service when they obtains the used commodity, offered for sale. On the other hand, when this activity is developed, it will create strong competition between manufacturers, which will push them to decrease the price of the new products. Also, this will provide Egyptian consumers with wide varieties, which will participate in increasing the national income, due to the increase in sales and purchase movement.
When will Dubizzle start generating revenues from the Egyptian market? What are your tools for that?
Revenues mainly depend on collecting fees from the companies advertised for on the website, in the same manner as newspapers and magazines. Currently, services for individual users and companies are provided for free in Egypt. When the step is taken to generate revenues from users, it will be for companies, while the usage for individual users will remain for free.