Thursday July 25th, 2024
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The E-Commerce Platform Empowering Social Sellers Across MENA

Serving as a one-stop shop for both merchants and suppliers, Taager is empowering people to become social sellers.

May El Habachi

The E-Commerce Platform Empowering Social Sellers Across MENA

Social e-commerce platform Taager is on a mission to empower people to become social sellers.

Launched in November 2019 in Egypt by Mohammed Elhorishy, Abdelrahman Sherief, Ahmed Ismail and Ismail Omar, Taager enables users to buy, sell and market their products entirely online, serving as a one-stop shop for both merchants and suppliers. Less than three years old, the startup has already served over 40,000 merchants in the MENA region.

Ismail Omar, an ex-Careem engineering manager turned entrepreneur, was first introduced to the idea of Taager by his friend and now co-founder, Mohammed Elhorishy, who experienced firsthand the struggles of selling online.

“Our co-founding team was a social seller himself and he faced all kinds of challenges,” Ismail Omar, Co-Founder and CTO of Taager, tells StartupScene. “So, he approached me with this idea of creating a one stop shop for social merchants, and how we can leverage the entire ecosystem to support them. The kind of value that I thought that this can bring to the region and to the social merchants was just huge. I joined the founding team in early 2020, and the rest is history.”

Today, Taager has expanded to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with plans to enter Kuwait, Oman and Qatar in the coming period to continue serving merchants in the Middle East.

RECOGNIZING A MARKET NEED

Social e-commerce is booming globally, and the Middle East is no exception. According to data by Research and Markets, social commerce in the Middle East and North Africa is expected to grow by 39.5% annually to reach $9638.6 million this year.

But while social commerce is growing with the likes of Facebook, Instagram and more recently TikTok, merchants still struggle with managing their e-commerce business offline. Issues like product fulfilment, financing, storage and delivery are just some of the challenges they struggle with.

Recognising this, Taager built a B2B platform to provide online merchants and suppliers with a comprehensive range of services, including operations, logistics and an online marketplace to host their products, enabling sellers and wholesalers to connect directly on the platform.

“Before Taager, the merchant had to go through suppliers, logistics partners, warehousing and fulfilment services for their end customers,” says Omar. “The merchant is a great seller and a great marketeer who knows what the end customer wants and what to sell, but not necessarily great at operations or the back-end side of running an e-commerce business. We understood this.”

Taager grew an estimated 15x in its first year of operations. Omar attributes this growth to increased interest in online selling.

“We have doctors, engineers, university students, and housewives all using the platform to look for ways to supplement their income,” he says. “What’s interesting is that after some time, some merchants see that the income they’re getting through working with Taager is becoming a primary income. As a result, some actually have left what they’re doing to focus solely on their e-commerce business.”


USING AI AND MACHINE LEARNING

But perhaps what makes Taager appealing is its ease in enabling users to become social sellers.

Besides providing access to inventory, shipping and logistics amongst other facilities, Taager is now relying on AI and Machine Learning (ML) to offer enhanced product selection to merchants. This way, merchants can help determine the best and most profitable products to sell online.

“Our Machine Learning model helps detect what is a winning product out of thousands or millions of products on the web,” explains Omar.

Taager recently introduced a recommended products section on its platform, powered by ML to provide unique suggestions to individual merchants based on their online behaviour. “Based on your actions, the kind of customers you sell to, and the kind of operation that you have, we recommend the best products that are going to work for you,” Omar adds.


ENTERING NEW MARKETS

With the platform experiencing significant growth in the last three years, the founders expanded to the UAE in late 2022, and shifted the company’s headquarters from Cairo to Saudi Arabia in early 2023. To date, the startup has invested an estimated SAR20 million in Saudi Arabia, and pledges more investments in the country in the coming period.But entering a new market can be challenging. Although Taager has grown almost 10x in the first nine months since entering The Kingdom, it still had to understand the market’s unique needs, particularly when it came to inventory management. 

“The main challenge with launching in any new country is the kind of inventory you need to hold and the kind of SKU (stock keeping unit) selection you need to have in order for the merchant to be able to scale and start in that country,” says Omar.

This is especially difficult when the startup is trying to become a light asset company, relying less on physical ownership and more on partnerships. One way Taager is attempting to address this challenge is by developing a pre-order feature to help share the cost of purchase with merchants.

“We allow our merchants to preorder stocks, SKUs, and we share with them the risk,” Omar explains. “So, tell us what you want us to buy for you and give us a downpayment. We’re also leveraging machine learning models to create a demand planning engine to really try to understand how much we need to get from the product selection that we have.”

For now though, Taager wants to continue being a vessel for people to become social sellers and earn additional income, particularly during times of economic uncertainty.

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