Founded in 2017 by Poulose Theppla and Jipson Jacob, GetIt.qa is an online marketplace selling a large collection of products across different categories, including apparel for men and women, baby and kids’ goods, groceries, household furniture and industrial products and services. The website also offers a ‘Products of Qatar’ category, selling food and household products that are uniquely local.
Their marketplace platform, which hosts multiple vendors, is in line with local trends. Some 76% of respondents to the MCIT’s 2019 Impact Survey Report into the preferences of online shoppers in Qatar said that they prefer shopping from “marketplace” platforms, rather than “single vendor” platforms.
When Getit.qa’s ecommerce platform was set up prior to launch in October 2017, the first step was to build the back-end (which governs the product inventory and payment mechanism), before designing the front-end (which the customer interacts with). This required a complete understanding of the eCommerce process, from analysing and implementing the platform, to designing the layout – or ‘look and feel’ – of the site, to determining the product lineup, categorising and promoting the products, and finally delivering the products to the consumer.
A market study confirmed that ‘Fresh Foods’ (specifically, ‘Fresh Fish’) was the most in-demand product among consumers, so the Getit.qa team started with this category when creating their product catalogue. The team purchased the full range of products, and did its own photoshoot to ensure it had the best imagery for the site. The content team then wrote product descriptions for each item, with the text crafted to speak to Getit.qa’s target audience.
Initially, orders were sourced one-by-one from the suppliers’ store based at Getit.qa’s corporate office. As the business grew, the fulfilment centre scaled up to a small facility, and then to a fully-equipped 2000m2 hypermarket-level facility at GWC Warehousing Park at BuSulba, with quick access to residential areas in Doha, Wakra and Messaied. Finally, the company set up another fulfilment facility in the Al-Khor/Lusail area, to provide coverage for the rest of Qatar.
Delivery is, and has always been, the most important and most challenging part of Getit.qa’s operations. Before the business launched, a full SWOT analysis was conducted on the delivery service, taking into consideration aspects like population, traffic, delivery times, etc.
Solutions included the creation of a Delivery Slot system, which enables customers to choose optimal delivery times, based on the drivers’ expected location. By the end of Q1 2019 Getit.qa had a fleet of more than 20 delivery vehicles, with more being added every month.
Efficient delivery is especially important in the Qatari market, as is a payment method that customers prefer and are comfortable with.
Qatar’s preferred payment method, according to the MCIT’s 2019 Impact Survey Report, is cash on delivery, which was rated as a high priority when it comes to selecting a local website to shop from. The same report confirmed that 48% of Qatari online shoppers prefer COD, with 29% preferring credit card, 15% debit card and 8% pre-paid card.
In this respect, Qatar is unlike most other global markets. According to Worldpay’s 2018 Global Payments Report, only 5% of global eCommerce payments are COD (including 7% in the EMEA region, and just 4% in North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific).
To cater for this market demand, Getit.qa offers COD, as well as Card on Delivery (delivery agents carry point-of-sale machines with them), and e-Vouchers (a service offered through a partnership with QNB, where e-Vouchers are emailed to the customer, who can then make an online credit card payment through QNB’s Payment Gateway).
Thanks to astute research and an eCommerce offering that aligns with customer demand and preferences, Getit.qa is a local-friendly interpretation of an international online marketplace concept, customised to the dynamics of Qatar’s online shoppers