E-Commerce in Jordan: Different Approaches From 3 Startups and From Jabbar and Aramex.

29 Aug, 2009

Petra-JordanE-commerce and online shopping did not take off in Jordan and the Arab region for many reasons. Payment processing and delivery solutions are not as efficient as they are in other parts of the world. As electronic and credit cards are not common in Jordan as it is in USA .

In this post I examine the different startups and companies that are offering solution that caters to the current market conditions in Jordan:

International Solution:

shop & ship from aramexShop&Ship: A service from the regional delivery company Aramex, which solves the problem Jordanian e-shoppers face when trying to buy from US or UK based e-commerce websites. As  many of them require a local (US or UK) address.

The service Shop&Ship was launched in 2001 and covers the whole Middle East. The service  addresses the local address problem by offering a life time personal mailing address in the US and the UK where you can receive your correspondence as well as personal and business packages such as Internet orders, gifts, magazine subscriptions, bank statements and more. Aramex then forwards the mailbox contents to your doorstep back home. To open a mailing address with Shop&Ship you have to pay 35$ for a life time account.

So now if you shop on Amazon.com for example, you enter the Mailing address that Shop&Ship assigned to you in New York (NY) USA, the package is delivered to NY then Aramex ships the package to Jordan.

Aramex charge per weight and if the items need custom clearness, Aramex does that in behalf of the client and charges him/her upon delivery “We offer completive shipping pricing and transit time to Jordan and Middle East compared to what the e-commerce websites offer .” said Iyad Kamal, Chief Logistics Officer of Amarex.

In 1997, Aramex became the first Arab-based international company to trade its shares on the NASDAQ stock exchange now publicly listed in Dubai Financial Market (DFM.)

Local Solutions:

wheels expressWheels Express: Launched last May, Wheels Express offers diverse variety of goods that include original DVDs, Snacks, Pre-paid and mobile cards. The startup does not have an inventory; instead it established relationships with certain vendors. Orders can be made online or via a call center, and Wheels Express provides the delivery via its cars, delivery time is promised to be within 1 hour and payment is by cash upon delivery.

wheels express page

Wheels express currently covers delivery to west Amman. Delivery is available 12 hours every day (12PM – 12AM) and costs 1.5 JD (1 Jordan Dinar (JD) is 1.41 USD) on each order with minim order 5 JD.

I called today Ibrahim Manna one of Wheels Express founders, and told me they have 900 registered users, but only 25% use the startup web front to place orders, he added that his company broke even last month. Ibrahim ‘s previous startup for the last 3 years was called DVD on Wheels which he said was very profitable with 3000 members, but closed it because it was selling pirated DVDs.

souq.comSouq.com: used to be part of Maktoob Group and now part of Jabbar Group of companies which emerged after Yahoo”s purchase of Maktoob. Souq.com started around 2005 offering an eBay like auction website, where people can sell stuff and buyers bid for them. Souq.com has different local versions for UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The auction website local version for Jordan has different payment methods: cashU (a prepaid payment card also from Jabbar), Cheque or Cash, Cash on Delivery (COD) service in cooperation with Aramex.

The delivery can be done via Aramex or the buyer has to go to the seller’s location to pay in cash and collect the item/s.

souq.com homepage

The payment method that is called Cash on Delivery (COD) from Aramex, goes like this: Aramex collects the item from the seller and delivers it to the buyer. The Buyer pays in cash the item’s price plus delivery fees. And then Aramex sends the money to Souq.com which in turn deducts its transaction fees of around 5%, Souq.com  releases the funds 15 days after delivery or once the buyer rates the seller positively. Souq will deposit the funds into the seller cashU account. If the seller does not have a cashU account, one will be created for him/her and fund deposited automatically. Deliveries of less than 5 kilometers are free of charge.

photoJONETPhotoJONET: A photo storage and printing website service.  You upload your photos (up loader is built on silverlight from Microsoft) and then place an order to print any of your photos at different sizes from 9x13cm to 80x120cm.

According to the startup  website the delivery is offered within 24 to 72 hours and is free of charge  if the order’s total amount is 6.00 JOD’s or more. Other than that, 2.00 JOD’s apply.

Like Wheels Express, PhotoJONET bypass online payment all to gather and focus on service and accepting cash payment upon delivery. The site  is currently running 10 prints FREE campaign, I placed an order and if I get it you I’ll tweet about it on ArabCrunch Twitter account.

JOORDERJOOrder Unlike PhotoJONET and Wheel Express, the site does not offer delivery service itself , what it does is connecting you to different restaurants in Amman under different categories (Asian, Burger, Grill .etc.) You place an order and within 5 to10 minutes the restaurant will call you to confirm the order. The delivery is done via the restaurant’s delivery staff at the cost and the terms that each restaurant sets for its delivery service. I placed a test order to Kebab express and they called me within 10 minutes, but I had to cancel the order telling them this was just a test from the media :) .

One big note to make here, JOOrder has a nice concept but the website has poor ASP.NET code and messy look and feel: I tried to access it several times in the last 1 or 2 months and I keep getting error messages. Another problem, the site does not work well on FireFox and has no AboutUs page. Instead it has a lousy flash intro that takes loads of time to load, Joorder is developed by company called Echotech. These guys need to understand the ABCs of web marketing and design.

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  1. M.Bamieh  |  August 30th, 2009 at 7:59 AM #

    I really like this list, i didn't know about the last 2 sites and i think i might try them, and while jo order is not the most user friendly site i still think its great to have that service since its tough to find restaurant information on the web.

  2. ArabCrunch  |  August 30th, 2009 at 2:26 PM #

    well JOOrder is what I would use form all the list, bc as u said it is not easy to find restaurant info in Jordan. it is the only site offering this service in Amman, yet they did it in a wrong way. however since they r the only ones i will be using them, until there is a better site.

  3. Jabbar Company: The eBay of the Arab World Souq.com Launches To The Egyptian Market  |  December 22nd, 2009 at 8:11 AM #

    [...] until I get confirmations here is what we wrote before about Souq.com’s payment method in [...]

  4. Don’t know what to eat for Dinner? tasree3 Helps You With Speed.  |  February 3rd, 2010 at 9:18 PM #

    [...] JoOrder (which we reviewed here before), tasree3 only links directly to the restaurant which is the one who does the delivery after [...]

  5. Online Photo Printing and Delivery Service PhotoJONET Re-Emerge as Snap2Shop, Get 10 Free Prints  |  March 8th, 2010 at 12:44 AM #

    [...] for Arab Startups and Techies on ArabCrunch.NET .Powered by WP Greet Box WordPress Plugin ShareWe wrote last August 2009 about a 3 different e-commerce approaches in Jordan mentioning PhotoJONET, A photo storage and [...]

  6. John Hagan  |  June 24th, 2010 at 8:19 PM #

    Clenam Mining Company Limited,
    P.O.BOX C247 Cantonments Accra – Ghana.
    Spokes-Person: Mr. John Hagan.
    Tel: +233265723610.
    E-mail: johnhagann(AT)yahoo.com

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I am the spokes-person of Clenam Mining Co. Ltd. We are small scale local Mainers located in the Western Region of Ghana which was one of the AU Gold producing Area in Ghana. We got your contact information through your business profile, and after going through it, we decided to go into long term business relationship with you and your Company. We need a serious Buyer and have in stock about 282Kg of Ghana AU Gold Dust; Quality is (22+ Karats). And we are prepared to supply you the quantities you may need, it may interest you to know that recently made a partnership with other Associate Partners, as dealers in Rough Uncut Germ of high quality stones from Sierra Leone and Guinea. We have fine -Stones (Assorted packages) sizes from 1.5 to 17carats and colors of (D to I), purity is crystal clear, (VVS1 are VVS2), etc.

    INFORMATION CONCERNING OUR AU GOLD AS FOLLOWS:

    PRODUCT——ALLUVIAL GOLD DUST /BARS.
    QUANTITY———-282 KG OF GOLD DUST/BAR.
    QUALITY—————–22 CARAT 96.5%
    ORIGIN——————– GHANA.

    Further, we currently seek outside-based serious investors on a partnership basis in order to increase our production capacity. If you are interested in this proposal, or have any further questions, kindly contact me at the numbers listed above or via e-mail and would be glad to be in strong relationship with you. We are proud to say that, Ghana Gold is absolutely the best product in Africa and the world.

    We are expecting your responds as soon as practicable. Au Gold Dust/Bar

    Best Regard,
    Mr. John Hagan.

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