The UAE is becoming more well-known for its growing e-commerce sector. Trends in the sector have pointed to a predominant focus on the B2C business model, with companies like Souq.com (now Amazon.ae) and dubizzle.com finding major success with it. Naturally, this model has grown quite competitive over time with improved smartphone and internet penetration in the country, and some companies have begun looking for different niches and audiences.
One such company is DubaiMachines.com, which in 2013 was established as an e-commerce website catering to businesses rather consumers, starting off with a meager investment of AED 500. It provides a myriad of electronic equipment to businesses in the region and beyond.
Looking to find out more about this ambitious company, AMEinfo spoke to Armughan-e-Muhammad, Director Business Development and Strategy at DubaiMachines.
What can you tell us about Dubai Machines?
DubaiMachines.com is a leading e-commerce marketplace with innovative products and top-notch customer services within the UAE and all across the globe. It operates mainly in office automation and industrial equipment such as projectors, digital signage, interactive LEDs, paper shredders and suchlike. It was established in 2013, and soon started serving the other product categories such as musical instrument and commercial measuring devices. Initially the company served the UAE region, and now it’s rapidly expanding into global markets including Europe and Africa. DubaiMachines has expanded its reach to the countries like Azerbaijan, Germany, Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Nigeria and has also recently catered to their clients in Houston, Texas.
DubaiMachines.com as of today is more of a consultative e-commerce online retailer rather than just being a box pusher unlike the competition online and offline. This is the reason why the company has more than 1200 satisfied google reviews. The company is primarily focused on providing the most innovative and state of the art equipment to its customers.
What can you tell us about your journey as a startup? Can you share with us information about your investors, rounding funds, and other financial information that might illustrate your entrepreneurial journey better for us?
The creative part of our journey is that we never used any financial support. We started off with 500 AED ($163) and grew the entire tree out of that. We have a very small but dynamic team and we are the largest group of product-based B2B in the region. So the entire empire that you see today had no external funding, no angel funding, and we had no big parties approaching us. Even if they did approach us, we never responded, because our founder and CEO Mr Zeeshan Hussain says that, “We will rise on our own and create an empire all on our own. We will come up with innovative concepts of selling in an e-commerce marketplace and apply them as we please. When a company goes for funding, it is dictated by the funders and that is something we weren’t in favour of. We want to create new mountains instead of climbing the old ones.”
So, think of our company as a tree flourishing without any outsider’s support and reaching high as a team all on our own. We, our entire team, are the sole brains and power of the company. Right now the brand positioning in front of you is completely based on the vision Mr. Zeeshan Hussain had and the team has carried it forward to where we are.
In the UAE, most e-commerce sites are geared more towards a B2C business model. Why did you decide to launch as a B2B e-commerce platform?
The reason we decided to serve as a B2B market is that it is a very small yet dynamic market. There’s already too much inundation in the B2C market in our region and we would have just been another fish in the vast ocean. The biggest difference between DubaiMachines.com and other e-commerce platforms is that our market does not just operate in the Middle East, we operate in the entire world. We have changed the way procurement works, and the idea that we are trying to send across is that that internet is the future and it will be in our day to day life whether it is in form of B2C or B2B. We obviously succeeded tremendously in this idea by our fully functional and super supportive online store. No matter where you go at the end of the day it is easier and more convenient for you to just buy it online.
Who are your primary customers in the UAE? Do you have plans to offer your services in other GCC countries?
We have a long list of customers and I obviously wouldn’t be able to mention them all, but among some regular customers are the government entities like Ministry of Interior, Dubai Police, RAK Police, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airline, Etihad Railway, Nigerian Petroleum and the list goes on. So be it a government entity, corporate entity, education sector or export, everyone and everything are target customers thanks to the community of the internet. There are no limitations to which area you should project yourself in.
If you are talking about the internet, undeniably you are already in the entire world. Or at least as far as the internet reaches, be it the Space or Mars as your target market. We have a lot of business coming in, well, maybe not from Mars! But yes, from the entire Earth as we know it. We have customers outside the UAE in the GCC, in Europe and we have even sold as far as South America and have enjoyed tremendous success throughout the world.
What are some common market trends you have observed in your sector?
The trends that we observed were that every market is a copycat, taking ideas from successful company and building their own the same way and because of the success of DubaiMachines.com, everybody jumped on the bandwagon. Distributors got affected due to being lethargic because of the technological pyramid. Everyone wanted to sell online so every Tom, Dick and Harry launched a website and eventually it curtailed and now there are only a couple of players standing among us. Since Dubai is a transitioning market, relationships here aren’t really useful in the business place. Every 2 to 3 years procurement managers change and a new person is dealing with you so what we have done is we have made ourselves available on the internet so any new person who enters the market can just look us up and find us. So, the new trend is you look up for everything online, be it as complicated a product as plastic crushers or granule making machines. DubaiMachines.com has been growing at a tremendous pace and we are hoping that in 2020, with our exports, we will be skyrocketing, and our vision that Mr. Zeeshan Hussain had in year 2013, will be reaching its peak.