Desktop grocery clicks big time

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Desktop grocery clicks big time
By Dina Aboul Hosn, Staff writer/GULF NEWS Published: August 15, 2007, 23:36

Dubai: Residents of new Dubai areas can now order their daily groceries online, thanks to an innovative project of two young Emirati men.

Supported by the Mohammad Bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders, Khalil Al Mansouri and Nasser Hussain joined efforts to set up eMart, the UAE’s first online supermarket.

“We cater to the residents of the new developments in Dubai, who have no supermarkets or groceries nearby, and want to save the time and effort they spend shopping for groceries,” Al Mansouri, managing partner of eMart.

“Many people want to avoid the hassle of leaving home, driving and queuing in the very few hours they get to spend with their families or rest, and this is where the idea came from,” he said.

Al Mansouri said he does not like to think of his project purely in business terms.

“Instead of solid sales figures, I like to say that I have more than 3,750 loyal and satisfied customers since we started eight months ago. Some of our customers order their freshly squeezed orange juice, bread, cheese and their daily newspaper to be delivered to their doorsteps at 6am, on a regular basis. And they get it,” Al Mansouri said.

He added that the products are not only fresh and of the highest quality, but eMart also promises buyers lower prices than most other supermarkets and conventional stores, besides delivery in less than an hour.

“Some people say that online shopping lacks the personal touch, so we thought about it and came up with Viva, our icon. The cute Viva is your helper when you go shopping online. Through a live chat support, shoppers can ask Viva about products and where to find them, and make any suggestions,” Al Mansouri said.

“Most of our customers are women, who find it convenient to shop online without leaving their houses and getting stuck in traffic to buy a few items. We receive an average of 150-200 orders daily, out of which an estimated 75 per cent are made by women, and this is why we created Viva, a female icon, to be closer to them,” he added.

The 18 delivery motorcycles are equipped with custom-made cool boxes that have separate compartments for frozen, refrigerated and room temperature foods, and orders are delivered by seven similarly equipped cars. Customers are not charged for delivery or service.

“We also play the role of middleman between suppliers and customers. Suppliers can display their products on our pages, and we do the delivery.

Environmental angle

“Our prices are the cheapest, and our warehouses are kept in pristine conditions, hygienic and air conditioned. We also do our bit for the environment by working in a paperless environment and reducing the number of cars on the roads,” Al Mansouri said.

“We even bill our customers through their emails, and they can electronically sign their invoices.

“They can log on to and make orders round the clock, but we currently deliver from 6am to 1am. By next month we will be delivering orders round the clock,” he added.

“Our slogan is future shopping today, because soon most people will be shopping online for all their needs to save time and effort,” Al Mansouri said.

Fast facts:

Offers 2,200+ items
Orders can be made round the clock
Live chat support
Deliveries from 6am to 1am, and round the clock from September
Frozen, refrigerated and room temperature items can be delivered at the right temperature in custom-made cool boxes.

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