I always hoped for a platform where small businesses can create their own e-commerce website in minutes without spending too much. I always hoped that I would be able to buy food items from a local producer up the mountains without having to travel all the way to get them. I always hoped for a way where the world can get to know more about the culinary wonders Lebanon carries… Yes, I think I just found the answer...
I think I just may have the answer... ShopBuilder. Here's a platform that allows retailers to open an online shop without the hassle of passing by a web agency, paying a significant amount of money, and waiting for the work to be done. Interested businesses will create their own eCommerce websites through Shopbuilder in no time and with a very low initial capital. Ecommerce in the Middle East is growing... and fast, especially after Paypal decided to approach the Middle East, starting in Dubai followed by Egypt and hopefully soon in Lebanon. Shopbuilder, a new website, offers the possibility for small companies and producers to have their own website for as low as $75/month.
At Arabnet, I had the chance to meet the owners, Julien and Emile who told me more about their project; “After realizing the importance of eCommerce and the opportunity this market is promising in the Middle East, we decided to help retailers jump on the wagon while it is booming. We identified the pain points that retailers are facing and produced a product that respond to 90% of eCommerce needs, thus Shopbuilder.” Julien tells me. I was curious to know how the food industry can benefit from this idea. Would my hopes of selling hummus to the world become a reality? Lately, Souk el Tayeb and USAID are helping cooperatives around the villages of Lebanon sell their products in Beirut… so why not give them the chance to pass beyond the borders of Lebanon?
I asked Julien, if he thought that the food industry could benefit from Shopbuilder: “Any industry or business interested in selling their products of services online can benefit from Shopbuilder. Even though the food and drinks category is still shy in the eCommerce world, engaged only in 5% in the Middle East, we, at Shopbuilder, believe that it can get better.” For the time being, Shopbuilder has the technology to help food producers sell their products online. This covers that type of merchandise that doesn’t need instant delivery. Unlike restaurants that need to process an order instantly and send it in 30 minutes, food retailers like canned products or “mouneh” can receive orders online and ship it in a timely manner.
Then what can Shopbuilder offer food purveyors?: “Shopbuilder will offer retailers an opening to a worldwide market. It will create an opportunity for local farms, for example, to sell their cheese to other continents in a very convenient way.”
How does it work:
- Contact Shopbuilder and choose your design template
- The website will be created in few minutes and published on the store domain name (ex:www.mystore.com)
- Create an Aramex and Bank Audi account
- Upload your products through an easy-to-use back office
- Welcome to the world of eCommerce
I like the idea and thought it would be interesting to share with you. This will be a great way for food purveyors to grow internationally, and I hope that the eCommerce era will flourish further and expand in different areas.