Apple Store won’t hurt us: UAE online retailer
JadoPado believes Cupertino’s upcoming brick-and-mortar presence will have ‘halo effect’
As Apple prepares to launch its first Middle East brick-and-mortar store in the United Arab Emirates, at least one retailer does not fear a hit to sales of its Apple products.
UAE-based online marketplace JadoPado began selling the Apple Watch last week, through its Direct programme, where third-party SMEs that managed to import the wrist-wear through grey channels, sold it direct to regional consumers at up to 258% of US Apple Store prices, through JadoPado's online marketplace.
Omar Kassim, chief executive officer, JadoPado, defended the premiums, in an email exchange with ITP.net, while acknowledging that "unfortunately a number of [third-party distributors] have not realised that a different strategy is required for e-commerce in terms of pricing, range and availability".
When asked if the Apple Store might mean the end of grey-market business for retailers such as JadoPado, as regional consumers could go directly to Apple for Apple products, Kassim said: "In terms of our business, I don't think that will be the case at all... If anything, I think it will continue to increase Apple's brand awareness in the region and continue to have a halo effect on anyone selling their product in the right manner, with the right sort of support and policies such as returns and shipping."
Kassim also thinks the UAE may become a re-export hub for Apple products, once it becomes a primary-launch market for iPhones and iPads.
"If the UAE turns into a tier-one launch market for Apple, we naturally become a place where product is available first and therefore a source market, versus previously being a destination and transit market," he said. "We saw this happen with the Galaxy S5... Samsung launched it early and first in the UAE and while some of that stock definitely hit end consumers, a lot of it ended up at wholesale and was re-exported out."
Value-added benefits and services may also help resellers and other retail outlets, such as JadoPado, retain customers, Kassim believes.
"JadoPado is a multi-category marketplace, and I see our business continuing to grow," he said. "In terms of Apple products and JadoPado Direct, we do interesting things like JadoPado Shield, where we offer things like free accidental protection, something you can't get direct from Apple."