Dubai's Start-up Charitable Efforts Making a Difference in Children's Lives
United Arab Emirates - March 04, 2021: The e-commerce industry has come a considerably long way from its simple buy-sell model. In 1991 the World Wide Web was created and just 5 years later, over 40 million people had access to the internet with global online sales surpassing $1 billion for the year. This jump gave clear signals of the industry’s later growth but even so, no one could have predicted the $25 billion in online sales reported in 2000.
Today, over 4 billion people are connected to the internet and almost half of them can attest to the convenience of online transactions. By 2040, around 95% of all purchases are expected to be via e-commerce. With this, it’s no wonder that this mega $3.5 trillion industry continues to attract retailers from around the world, both established in-store players and startups. E-commerce startups have witnessed approximately 30% annual growth in investments across the last five years globally.
This leaves us to contemplate how will e-commerce continue to add value to the lives of the devout online shopper? Better pricing? Fast deliveries? Broader access to products? All of these are true but all of these have also become a common standard. Is there an e-commerce store that provides greater incentive than just faster delivery or wider product variety? How about a big chance to win a luxury watch, or a brand new sports car when you make a purchase? This is where we stands out.
Founded in 2016 on the idea of rewarding online shoppers, Idealz has reimagined the online shopping experience. Buy any of their merchandise and you will get the chance to win a wide range of luxury prizes. All their products can be found within any of their five campaign categories: cars, watches, cash, electronics and lifestyle. Once a customer purchases a product, he or she will receive a complimentary ticket into a specified prize draw. All products within a campaign are limited to a set quantity and therefore the complimentary tickets are also limited. Once all the products within a campaign are sold-out and all the complimentary tickets have been awarded, the draw takes place and a winner is selected at random. Idealz Co-Founder and CEO, Jad Toubayly, explains; “E-commerce has and hasn’t come a long way since its debut in the 90’s. While it has spread to almost all corners of the earth creating a very connected economy, the general modus operandi of buying online has changed very little.” He continues; “My partner and I wanted to create something a bit different, something untraditional, something that was a win-win-win for all involved parties, those being; us as business, customer and most importantly, those less fortunate around the world.”
Idealz has taken a different approach with regards to integrating CSR into its business model. CSR is generally less prioritized by private companies in this part of the world and even less so with startups. When we launched Idealz, we wanted to make sure that giving back was at the forefront of our business model and that we find a way to proactively and innovatively fulfill our CSR goals. Idealz provides customers with the option, and not the obligation, to donate the products (or the cost of such products) they have purchased to charity. If they opt to do so, the customer will be given an additional complimentary ticket for every product purchased and donated, thus potentially doubling their chance to win the prize. Through this mechanism, we managed to expand retail contributions to charity beyond depending on only kindness and goodwill.
The uniqueness of the business model coupled with the power of the incentive has generated substantial contributions to Dubai Cares. Since launching in 2017, contributions have grown exponentially and Idealz has most recently has supported the construction and operation of a school in Nepal in partnership with Dubai Cares, the UAE based global philanthropic organization that provides quality education to children and youth around the world. We have chosen Dubai Cares because of their global footprint and impact which has so far reached more than 20 million children and youth across 60 developing countries. As part of our CSR approach, we are also planning to build three more schools this year and we are continuously looking at various CSR activities that have a positive impact on the community.
With society moving more and more into the digital economy, the e-commerce industry will continue to enjoy healthy growth rates in the short and medium term. “I would expect to see more disruption in the way people interact and shop online with more use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and AR (Augmented Reality). These are definitely a sector that are yet to dominate the e-commerce landscape in the future. It is recommended that CSR is embedded into the start-ups’ business model early on rather than when they are more mature and capable.
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