Tailoring Online Fashion To Mideast’s Consumers

A wave of e-commerce has been sweeping the Middle East, and Jordanian-American computer engineer Ahmed Alkhatib is one of its leading lights. Mr. Alkhatib reasoned that, with a youthful, fashion-conscious population that loves online convenience, the region would be an excellent location in which to start an online retailer.

In November 2010, he left Silicon Valley to launch the online flash-sales shopping club MarkaVIP in Jordan, and in March opened centers in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. Shopping clubs require membership and offer sales at discounted prices for a limited period; flash sales are bargain offers that are available for a very limited time, sometimes only hours. By working with clothing companies that need to get rid of excess inventory, MarkaVIP offers thousands of designer-label fashions at bargain-basement prices.

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