Updated: Apr 18
According to the latest report by MAGNiTT, MENA's startup ecosystem saw a total of $288M invested in Q1 ’21, a 22% decrease compared to Q1 ’20. However, when compared to Q4 ’20, total funding was up by 60%. This is great news for the startup community in MENA and will hopefully motivate future startups to take off from these great funding opportunities.
Now, let's move onto the fifth episode of our seven episode collaboration series with 500 Startups. We'll be discussing luxury products (watches and jewelry) and how to safely buy them online, especially when bought second-hand.
In our latest episode, we sit down with Lamya Al Shammary who's the founder and CEO of MWJ, the first marketplace to buy new and pre-loved certified luxury watches in the MENA region. Lamya is a watch and jewelry connoisseur and industry expert with over 10 years of experience. Combined with expertise in e-commerce and an understanding of the market, she delivers the best experience to shop for watches and jewelry.
Together we discuss:
The dynamics of the second-hand watch market
Building trust with customers and the role that content plays to achieve this
E-commerce in KSA and consumer preferences
The second-hand watch market trades on the basis that jewelry is a long-term asset
Buying existing products can be more cost-effective, especially with luxury items, such as watches and jewelry. The price of such products is decreased by more than 10% of their original cost. In fact, luxury watches increase in value with time. They become assets that can be sold anytime needed and converted directly into cash.
When your business is a success, it's a great idea to expand your product line to sell other similar products. When customers trust you and the products you sell, they will be willing to try out the new ones you launch – especially if it was a customer's request or suggestion.
Gain the trust of your customers through positive brand association
As a startup, it can be difficult to gain the trust of your target audience to buy second-hand products, especially if they're luxury goods. Customers are wary of what they buy, especially if it's bought online.
Joining an accelerator program or any form of mentorship offered by venture capitals can give your business legitimacy through brand association. This way, founders are able to learn and develop strategies to convince the customers that their product is legitimate.
Through associating with successful venture capitals like 500 Startups, customers start to trust your business and don't doubt its authenticity.
Teach your customers about your product and the verification methods used through content marketing
To build trust and transparency about your products, businesses can teach consumers about their products. Businesses can publish educational marketing content like YouTube videos, detailed articles, and social media posts. This gains the interest of your customers, and they're more likely to share your business with their friends and family.
When selling luxury products that are second-hand, every product is usually authenticated with a certificate that confirms its legitimacy and states that it can be returned at any time. For example, luxury watches are authenticated through watch sellers who have 20+ years of experience in making watches. Through strategically partnering up with watch sellers, they can authenticate watches for your business. Additionally, a quality assurance team also checks every watch before it's sent to customers. This ensures a two-step verification process to ensure that every item sold is legitimate.
Connect with your customer through their preferred language and building an emotional connection
Through A/B testing an audience who speaks English and Arabic, results show that customers prefer to read and pay high amounts of money in the Arabic language. In fact, even businesses should focus on the language that they're more fluent in.
But, when expanding outside of the Middle East, marketing content can benefit from being in English, so a larger audience can understand it. Global expansion is easier when there are previous connections already established in a region. The more partners in an area your business is expanding to, customer support, repairs and other services can be directly offered to your customers.
Connect with your customers' emotions. When selling luxury products, people are more likely to get emotionally attached to a product because of what they associate with it. Specifically, second-hand products are a great place to find similar replacements to products that are sold out or outdated.
Allow your customers to share their product experience stories with your business, since it shows great customer engagement and makes for a great review!
Until next time,