What Are The Plans For The Successful UAE Based Luxury Watches E-commerce Startup Kanary Watches In The Next 5 Years
Mohamed Shawky the CEO Luxury Watches e-commerce startup Kanary Watches sent us the following Q&A as a profile for his company, mentioning the current status and achievements of Kanary Watches and his plans to expand into Kanary Gifts in Jan 2015 selling luxury watches, jewelry, bags, perfumes, pens, eyewear and accessories.
1. Describe your business
Kanary Gifts is an online eCommerce portal that sells luxury watches, jewelry, bags, perfumes, pens, eyewear and accessories. Kanary Gifts is considered as a powerful expansion to Kanary Watches which is running for the past 4 years.
Kanary Gifts is operated from Abu Dhabi and serving UAE and Gulf niche customers who are looking for gift items. The innovative Kanary Gifts website is expected to launch by the 1st of Jan 2015 and will be responsive, in both Arabic & English, and offering multiple payment options and easy checkout process. The vision of the new Kanary Gifts is to reach 30,000 products by end of 2015, and be the leader of online luxury gifts in the region.
2. What are the value propositions to all your stakeholders?
To my customers: To deliver luxury products, luxury after-sale service, luxury communication and luxury information. Our USP points are:
- To be the fashion retail portal that speaks the right Arabic.
- To offer the Latest fashionable products/trends around the globe.
- To provide Thousands of varieties and vast collections of brands.
- To offer attractive & competitive prices.
To my employees: To offer luxury careers where they will enjoy, learn, and excel in what they love to work in. To my shareholders: To offer luxury ROI
3. What milestones have you accomplished to-date (product development, sales, users/customers etc)?
Kanary Watches have been successful in the market for the past 4 years. We have 4000 products, 3000 customers, 47 brands and monthly visitors of 40k-50k unique visitors. Our SEO is very powerful as we
appear in the first position in search result for many keywords like “ساعات” and “Diamond watches UAE”. 45% of our orders are in UAE, and 45% are in Saudi Arabia and the remaining is in the reset of the Gulf countries and the world.
As for Kanary Gifts, it’s in the development phase now, will launch in January and the SEO and online marketing plans have been drafted.
4. Describe your business model, revenue and cost drivers.
We work with local and international suppliers to agree on the products they can offer and the best prices and shipping estimates and charges.
Then we synchronize our system with their live inventory accordingly. In some products and seasons we buy products.
Interest is about 20% of the cost of goods. And prices are affected by the season, competition, and exclusivity of the products.
5. How large do you think this business can become in revenues in 5 years time?
The vision for Kanary Gifts to be the ultimate luxury gift store in UAE & the Gulf. There is a huge potential to the success of this business because of our competitive advantages and the low competition in the luxury products niche. My goal is reach the size of Namshi and MarkaVIP within 5 years and I need your powerful support and connections to build corporate agreements with the Luxury Stores in the local market.
6. What margins do you believe this business can generate in 5 years time, and why?
I believe that luxury products and services will generate luxury revenue. The forecast of the online commerce in 2015 is almost double the current year statistics and almost every individual in the Gulf have tried to buy something online. The GPA of the gulf region is high and we should utilize this opportunity. If you keep up-to-date with the technology, provide the latest luxury products and quality service, then the business can dominate the niche target audience who are looking for luxury gifts which can generate tens of millions of dollars. And this is our goal!
7. Describe the founders and key management team bios, each in a few sentences
Kanary Gifts is founded and directed by two intelligent entrepreneurs, Mohamed Shawky and the second-in-command Marwa Farouk. Mohamed Shawky, the CEO, has more than 13 years of experience in the Information Technology and eCommerce fields. He has Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Engineering & Information Systems and achieved several quality certificates in ISO 9001,CMMI, CSQA and CISA. Mohamed has vast technical experience in the eCommerce technologies, online marketing, search engine optimization & content management.
Marwa Farouk, The COO, has 12 years of experience with an entrepreneurial attitude to business. Marwa is skilled in engineering processes, product management, and the fashion industry.
8. How will you build barriers to entry for competition?
Will try to acquire Exclusive Contracts/Agreements with Suppliers & Distributors. Will continue focusing on our unique selling points and keep improving it. Powerful Arabic support for locals. Niche Market domination. Applying Business tactics. Building the brand reputation and studying the customer goodwill.
9. Who are your competitors, both local and international, today and in the future?
Souq.com, MarkaVIP, and Namshi are the major competitors who are selling online. MarkaVIP is the leader in flash sale in the region and is the only seller for new high end products. But he only sells on flash sale (3-5 days per campaign) so he lacks the continuity and SEO. In Souq.com there is one seller for high end watches but has only 400
products. There are other jewelry stores as well in Souq.com but they are new without any ratings. Namshi focuses on clothes and shoes more than gifts.
There are some other smaller online stores in UAE selling the same luxury products we are targeting such as: Theluxurycloset.com, Luxurysouq.com, Timepiece360.ae, Luxurymarkets.com, and Watchesmarket.com. But they do sell Pre-Owned products. Kyra.ae sells 430 gold & diamond Jewelry products like rings and necklaces.
The conclusion taken from the above competitors list is that no online shop is selling new luxury products in the same volume and variety that we are planning to. Add to this that we have much more powerful tools to target the Arabic audience. We are planning to add thousands of products in many different categories and will offer personalization and gifting services. A powerful opportunity for us to stand out amongst
others! The future is hiding a lot for us. So we have to be well equipped for future competitors.
10. What keeps you up at night?
I work 18 hours per day / 7 days a week. I love what I’m doing and looking forward to see my dream business project comes true. I keep thinking in our unique selling points and how to have a competitive advantage against others. Always try to understand the customers personas and putting myself in their shoes to address their needs. I keep evaluating our service to make it elegantly easy for my customers to find what they want and buy it with trust. Keep tracking the latest technologies, search engine methodologies, online marketing trends, and market segmentation. It’s endless!