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Delivering Fashion Online
 
 
Fashion is a make or break industry; either you are a hot or not with seemingly no middle ground. That is why it's sometimes risky for fashion brands to enter foreign markets like the Arab world, with the chances of success stacked without any previous precedents. Enter fashion e-commerce, which gives brands and new fashion lines an opportunity to test the market without fully divulging into a full-fledged investment such as a brick-and-mortar store.

Fashion e-commerce has found its footing in the Arab world thanks to sites such as MarkaVIP, Souq, and Namshi that have expanded their operations throughout the Middle East. A big part of that spending in these sites is focused on fashion, as customers are now resorting to online shopping sites to get the trendiest and hippest clothes, shoes and accessories.

Sites such as souq.com and MarkaVIP make it easier for customers across the region to purchase goods online by making the experience as local as possible with local payment gateways; and local fashion added in the mix.

The rise of these sites has corresponded with an investment boom, as both domestic and foreign investors saw the potential of e-commerce in the Middle East. On April 25, MarkaVIP announced a $10 million Series B funding round, Namshi received $20 million in funding from JP Morgan and Blakeney, while souq.com secured an investment from Naspers Limited and Tiger Global for an undisclosed sum.

Aramex and E-commerce

Aramex also has a critical role in facilitating the e-commerce process for these sites. Take the example of Souq.com, which has expanded aggressively in the last few months to become a fashion site that is using Aramex's services, launching its Souq Fashion line in a stylish event attended by Dubai's elite crowd at the XVA Gallery, DIFC.

Dubai based Namshi.com, which sells clothes and footwear, also uses Aramex as its shipping partner. Namshi utilizes Aramex's network of warehouses, specifically Aramex's facilities in Dubai Logistics City, to store its inventory and to ship orders in 24 hours. Aramex provides Namshi with warehousing facilities to store their inventory and custom clearance services to expedite the clearance of goods at the main borders. Aramex will then contact customers to arrange the delivery at their convenience and will pick up any item that the customer needs to exchange.

One of the major ways that Aramex helps Namshi is by offering Cash-on-Delivery, an option in which customers can pay for their items at physical delivery. Although this increases the chances that a shipment will be ultimately returned or not accepted, it is essential in countries like Saudi Arabia where credit card adoption is low and trust in e-commerce sites is still lacking. Returned products from Namshi are then strategically located at Aramex's new facilities in Dubai Logistics City.

 
REDe: Packaged Solutions and a One-Stop-Shop

Besides the logistics solutions, Aramex has created a dedicated team to work with various e-commerce websites in the region. It is developing ‘packaged solutions' like REDe to make shipping more affordable and accessible. E-commerce startups can be fully integrated with Aramex's Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) which connects the website's interface with Aramex's shipping and tracking systems, allowing the buyer and seller to know exactly where their shipment is. The APIs also provide e-commerce websites with live rate calculations, and automated pick-up requests.

There is no doubt that e-commerce is becoming an important platform for modern fashion. That is why Aramex is doubling its efforts to make the process easier for all parties involved; helping deliver hot online fashion to customers across the region.

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