By Mohammad Alaa El-Din
Egyptians are so attracted to buying things online that some new siteshave transformed into a new type of service that allows customers to buy products from anywhere in the world. Such services purchase products from foreign websites for Egyptians and undertake shipping the items in exchange for a commission. One such site is Edfa3ly.com, Arabic for “Pay for me.” The founder and CEO of Edfa3ly. com, Mohammad Ateya, said that he started his company two years ago with only EGP 150,000 and that the company is now worth EGP 15m. He said that he has three branches in the United States located in New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. He said “Egyptians suffer from several obstacles that arise from the difficulty in buying products over the internet from foreign websites. These websites require that buyers use a credit card or PayPal.” He added that Edfa3ly.com allows buyers to order products from US websites and that the company then purchases and ships the items to Egypt in exchange for a 5% commission on the value of the purchase. Ateya said that buyers can calculate the total cost of the purchase with a tool on the website. After the buyer orders a product, they pay the item’s value as listed on the US website as a deposit. Edfa3ly.com then orders and ships the product to Egypt. According to Ateya, shipping usually takes about two or three weeks. He said “we couldn’t believe it when someone ordered a car wheel for EGP 45,000 pounds, but we started to understand when another customer ordered a handbag for EGP 4,000, and another customer got a Segway and paid EGP 60,000.” He said that the most expensive items purchased through the website reached $10,000. Edfa3ly.com plans to expand in the Saudi Arabian and Lebanese markets in the coming months. It hopes to increase its customers from 3,000 to 20,000 by the end of next year, according to statements made by Ateya. According to Ateya, clothing is the most ordered product through the website, accounting for 25% of monthly shipments. Customers even order international brands that have branches in Egypt because the price is cheaper outside of the country. After clothing, the most demanded items are electronic devices and computers, also accounting for about 25% of orders. Spare car parts come in third, accounting for another quarter of orders, with other various items making up the last 25%.