Meet Mona Ataya, Founder and CEO of Mumzworld and the visionary leading the future of e-commerce in the Middle East.
I sat down with Mona in Dubai at Seamless Middle East to discuss the next generation of retail. Mona’s accomplishments speak for themselves. Voted Forbes Top 10 Innovators 2018, 100 Most Powerful Arabs 2018, SME Leader of the Year 2018, Forbes #2 business woman in the region, and 1 of the 30 most influential women in the Arab world, she is a force shaping a movement. Mona is from the region, and operates for the region. Her drive is to create positive regional impact and jobs while delivering superior customer satisfaction, all while empowering mothers by equipping them with choices in a seamless, transparent way. By partnering with local and global businesses on her platform, she is helping bridge the gap from the traditional to the digital experience.
Mumzworld is the pioneer and leading e-commerce shopping destination for mothers in the MENA region. The #1 site for mother, baby and child services for over 2.5 million mothers and is the largest vertical with over 250,000 authentic products of which 25,000 are exclusive.
Mumzworld’s vision is to be an indispensable online extension of a mother’s life through an e-commerce gold standard that challenges the traditional ways e-commerce has been managed regionally that empowers mothers to make informed decisions. It is a brand built with social impact at its core, and with a philosophy that when you empower a mother to make informed choices, you empower her to raise great kids, which leads to changing the region, one mum at a time.
How/why did you get into your space?
Seven years ago, we identified key customer gaps amongst the mother and child target that were not being met. Access to quality choice of product was limited, prices were very high for this product category, information about these products to make informed decisions was limited, and Arabic information was non-existent.
Furthermore, the ecosystem was fragmented which meant finding the right product at the right time was challenging. There was no central community that this information hungry, risk averse customer could tap into and share and contribute ideas to. Mumzworld set out to solve these problems and give mothers access to the single largest choice of highest quality products to chose from with comprehensive bilingual information at everyday low prices delivered quickly and seamlessly to their door. In addition, we have created a large community of mothers who engage, share and contribute to each others success and growth as parents.
What role do you play in the tech ecosystem and why is that role important?
I have been in the regional tech space for 19 years. My first successful venture was the launch of Bayt.com in 2000 which pioneered and revolutionized recruitment in the Arab World. This was at the time of the digital regional bust, and online consumption was at its infancy. It was also the time when recruitment in the Arab World was very basic and great talent was leaving the region due to information and communication flow challenges between employers and job seekers.
Bayt.com challenged the status quo and created the first online jobs board that connected employers and job seekers faster, more effectively and more cost effectively. Bayt today has served over 50,000 regional employers, millions of job seekers, employed over 600 staff and was profitable from the first year of operation. It was one of the digital pioneers and 19 years later continues to be a regional success story.
Mumzworld also challenged the status quo and launched with minimal funding in an underdeveloped ecosystem. Today, Mumzworld has a staff of 180, operates in 20 countries, is the platform of choice for over 2000 local, regional and global brands, holds 250,000 products, and serves over 2.5 million mothers – the largest community of mothers under one umbrella. We have shaped the vertical regional commerce play by paving the way for a customer obsessed business model.
How has technology impacted your industry and why is this important?
First and foremost, we are a digital play using innovative and disruptive technology to create unique and important customer solutions. Technology allows us to disrupt faster and more efficiently, ultimately serving the customer better.
What do you believe is the most exciting tech trend for 2019 (as it relates to your industry)?
Brands that put the customer first AUTHENTICALLY and are customer obsessed and build true consumer value, will come out on top.
The retail ecosystem is fast changing with e-commerce paving the way to disruption. Today, e-commerce is a $1.6 Trillion industry with a 29% CAGR. Customers have become more discerning and time constrained, demanding better, faster and more cost-effective solutions. Brands that put the customer at the forefront and understand these changing dynamics will come up on top.
Brick and mortar entities are fast discovering that they need to change their operational DNA to compete in this online space. There will be a lot of consolidation between brick and mortars and pure play online players to create holistic solutions for the customer. Pure players like Mumzworld will be able to serve customers better by offering deeper, wider choice at transparent competitive pricing and unique relevant solutions that are personalized and cater to that particular audience’s demographics and psychographics. Brands that put the customer first AUTHENTICALLY and are customer obsessed and build true consumer value, will come out on top.
Who is a person that inspires you?
Mothers who raise happy contributing adults inspire me.
Anyone who operates towards a common social good inspires me.
Mothers who raise happy contributing adults inspire me.
What advice would you give for someone who wants to get into tech?
The e-commerce space is very difficult and capital intensive. That’s why globally there are typically only two large dominant horizontal plays per market and only one dominant vertical specialized play. Mumzworld is the dominant vertical play in the mother and child segment in the Middle East and drives both breadth and depth in this segment and the widest selection and offerings for this target.
Success in e-commerce goes far beyond just building a website and hoping customers will come and convert. It requires smart, seamless technology that is difficult to build, superior supply chain, and over 20 customer touch points that have to be perfected and flawless. But more than that, and as with all businesses, for e-commerce to be successful it must address unmet, important pain points and set out to solve them uniquely. Too many brands are a mere cut and paste and follow a copy cat strategy of the leaders, trying to compete on deep price discounts to gain market share. This is a short lived strategy and brands that do this don’t survive long as they are merely building short term deceptive benefits for the customer.
Due to the complexity and high cost of building successful e-commerce, most brick and mortars regionally and internationally opt to partner up with the leading vertical players through their marketplace offering and enter the online playing field faster and more cost effectively. Today Mumzworld is the home of over 2000 brands and brick and mortar stores that have chosen Mumzworld as the cost effective, high converting, trusted gateway to the Mother consumer across the entire Middle East and North Africa market and have seen their sales multiply across borders very quickly as a result.