Wysada.com Founder Mohammad Musleh tells us how Wysada.com is changing the home interiors and lifestyle retail market across the Arab World.
Wysada.com is an online private sales club that offers members fast and easy access to irresistible luxury interior design and high-quality home wares at exceptional value. Just like its brand messenger, the hopoe bird, which searched the world for precious resources for King Solomon and his queen, Wysada.com finds and curates the best of the world’s interior treasures for its members in the Middle East.
Founded by seasoned entrepreneur Mohammad Musleh, together with his long-term friends and business colleagues Fadi Alsabbagh and Azzam Jarad, Wysada.com features everything from exquisite designer furniture to stylish bathroom and kitchen accessories, decorative objects and sleek appliances and gadgets.
In this exclusive interview with Arabian Gazette, Mohammad Musleh tells us how his team scour the globe to offer the best from around the world, to make Wysada.com a go-to resource for home and lifestyle inspiration. Mohamed also shares his insights into what it takes for an e-commerce venture to be successful in the Middle East, MENA funding ventures, and what we can expect soon on Wysada.com.
What is Wysada’s business philosophy?
Wysada.com is the Middle East’s first e-commerce platform for luxury home interiors offering members access to exclusive, high-quality homeware at exceptional value.
We created Wysada to share our passion for luxury home interiors with others through an inspirational and accessible e-commerce platform. We believe shopping for home interiors is an all- encompassing experience and aim to provide our design-conscious customers with a refined experience across everything we do – from product selection to content and user experience to packaging, delivery and customer service.
What are Wysada’s key selling points that set it apart from the competition?
Wysada.com’s buying teams scour the globe to offer its members hand-picked products that are desirable, unique and do not compromise on quality. The site offers home owners and interior design aficionados an unrivalled range of interior décor treasures, most of which are unavailable locally. Members also enjoy free shipping across the Arab region.
In the five months since the website launched, Wysada has become a go-to resource for home and lifestyle inspiration for its design-conscious consumers. In addition to providing members access to great design, the site offers home styling ideas through art-directed content and editorials curated by experts.
Why has Wysada chosen to launch itself first in Jordan, the UAE and Saudi Arabia?
Wysada first launched in Jordan, the UAE and KSA in January 2013 as these are among the fastest growing markets for e-commerce adoption. Our customers in these markets also appreciate quality interior design. Having a presence in these markets will help Wysada to expand our operations across the Arab world, as is planned in our ambitious roll-out programme for the year ahead.
How has Wysada changed the way people in MENA shop for lifestyle brands and home decor?
Wysada.com makes shopping for luxury home décor accessible and convenient. With a depth and breadth of product offering, the site caters to a wide variety of consumer tastes. Wysada.com also brings to the region products that are not available elsewhere with our buying team sourcing high-quality products from all over the world, some of them bespoke. We are the exclusive online retail partner in the Middle East for more than 140 premium interior brands. Our curated editorials and art-directed content also provide our customers with design inspiration and creative direction.
The convenience of on-time product delivery to the consumer’s doorstep is an added benefit of shopping through Wysada. We operate an effective and efficient inventory and supply chain management system that ensures members receive their orders within four days if it is stock from inventory, or are informed of the accurate delivery time, if it is a consignment purchase.
The MENA region has an increasingly high internet penetration rate as well as a discerning audience that appreciates good design. We recognise that there is an untapped market of consumers online that will benefit through Wysada.com’s extraordinary product selection and design expertise.
In your opinion, what are some of the main areas that an e-commerce business needs to focus on to be successful in MENA?
While the e-commerce landscape in the MENA region has excellent growth potential, it is also a highly competitive industry. Entrepreneurs venturing into e-commerce businesses need to have a clear business strategy to avoid getting lost in the digital start-up clutter, attract external investment and, ensure their long term viability.
In addition to offering real value on products or services, it is extremely important for e-commerce businesses to provide shoppers with a smooth and seamless user experience.
Many e-commerce businesses are regional adaptations of models that have been successful in the West. In this case, entrepreneurs need to mindful of local market requirements and culture as this is very different compared to other developed markets.
The region’s high smartphone penetration rates also mean that all businesses, not only those operating online, should have a strong mobile strategy in place even before its launch.
Wysada’s business model was tried and tested in the West and in other developed markets. Why do you think it has clicked in the MENA region as well?
Wysada.com was born to provide homeowners in the Arab world with a destination where they could find little luxuries and interior treasures to help them create their dream homes. The site combines Arabic and Western influences to feature products that reflect modern, contemporary design with a regional twist.
Wysada.com is also the only flash sales site in the region to focus exclusively on the luxury home interiors vertical. The founders of Wysada have a depth of design, retail and e-commerce expertise in the region that ensures they have the market knowledge and experience to lead the business to success.
With global headquarters in Amman, procurement and sourcing offices in London, Istanbul and Hong Kong and distribution and warehousing hubs in Dubai, Wysada.com is able to have both a regional and international presence in key design and business capitals of the world. This arrangement allows seamless integration between our buying, creative and distribution teams around the world to provide members with an unparalleled product selection and shopping experience.
Has Wysada’s Arabic image helped in its marketing campaign?
As a Jordanian-based company servicing the entire Middle East, we are proud of our Arabian heritage. It was essential that our brand identity reflected our cultural roots and target audience.
We in the Arab world love our homes and dream of a life cushioned with little luxuries. ‘Wysada’ meaning ‘cushion’ in Arabic, was created to help home owners in the region find these little comforts and provide them with design inspiration that will help them to create their dream homes.
Having both a regional brand identity and an Arabic-enabled website has definitely benefited Wysada’s marketing outreach and business performance.
Wysada has recently entered into a strategic partnership with MENA Venture Investments. Can you share more details on the deal?
As part of the strategic partnership, MENA Venture Investments has provided Wysada with early-stage investment to enable expansion of the company’s business operations across the Arab world as well as enhance its business infrastructure. The partnership also allows Wysada.com to benefit from consultancy and support provided by the fund’s team of experts.
What doors of opportunities will this open up for your business?
MENA Ventures is an important partner to us. They have an exceptional track record of working with start-ups in the region. Their expertise and support is helping us to achieve our strategic goals such as market segmentation, increasing our customer base and connecting with regional opinion leaders.
What has been your biggest learning experience so far in the Wysada journey?
Retail is detail, and our business is all about detail. All decisions in Wysada are based on this scientific and proven analysis. We spend a lot of time and effort in refining every detail of our offering to consumers in order to make Wysada a beautiful destination for beautiful things.
We have also learned that diversity is important in order to reach different markets. Offering a wide range of interior products allows us to test consumer spending and purchase behaviours of different age groups. That’s why at Wysada, we have something for the whole family. But while there is breadth and depth of products, Wysada is purely focused on the interiors vertical.
What next can we expect from Wysada?
Wysada.com is a well-funded start-up with strong initial performance and a rapid expansion plan. Since its launch in January 2013, Wysada.com has attracted hundreds of thousands of members. The site has enjoyed a first quarter sales conversion rate of 3 percent, double the industry average and more than 30 percent of members make repeat purchases through the site.
With these strong growth statistics, Wysada.com is confident of continued success and we hope to establish a presence in every Gulf country by the end of 2013.
Currently, Wysada.com is working on a multi-platform compatible website for smartphones and tablets.