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Online Luxury Retailers’ Middle East Ambition

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There was a time when you would think twice before clicking on the “purchase” button while shopping online—factors such as lengthy waiting periods for delivery and additional customs charges took some of the fun out of the virtual experience, while the language barrier with customer care representatives only served to make the process more complicated. Fortunately, a number of e-shopping sites are now tailoring their services in order to make online shopping a breeze for fashion-savvy Middle Eastern women.

Their reason for doing so is simple: the Middle East is one of the fastest growing markets for e-commerce, valued at US $4.6 billion, with the UAE in the lead as the highest spending market, according to Zawya. Understandably, powerhouse online retailers, such as Mytheresa.com, Net-A-Porter, and Moda Operandi, are seizing this growth and offering personalized services that cater to the region.

A year ago, German luxury e-commerce site Mytheresa.com launched a full Arabic version of its website for its Arabic speaking customers. It also started providing quick deliveries to the region within 1-4 business days with customs charges already accounted for in the price of the item. On the site, customer care representatives who are fluent in Arabic answer questions and offer styling tips. As part of its initiative to cater to customers in the Middle East, the online retailer is introducing regional talents to its roster of designers. Lebanese accessories designer Nathalie Trad recently made her debut on the website with an exclusive seven-piece capsule collection of her handcrafted clutches.

Renowned luxury e-tailor Net-A-Porter also offers its Middle East clientele special treats, such as the holiday shopping edits for Ramadan and Eid, alongside speedy deliveries and easy returns. The site has collaborated with some of the region’s most popular style influencers, such as Ascia AKF and Confashions, by inviting customers to shop the Kuwaiti bloggers’ personal picks on the website. Similarly, Moda Operandi, the luxury online retailer that lets customers shop straight from the runway through pre-orders, launches seasonal edits curated for Middle Eastern women, such as caftan trunk shows, and also features regional designers like UAE-based Madiyah Al Sharqi.

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