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How To Plot A (Better) Business Strategy For When The Region Travels Worried about a summer slowdown in your e-commerce business? Sprii's Sarah Jones shares some tips.

By Sarah Jones

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You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Summer in the Middle East can be aptly described as stepping into a hot oven. This season brings unique challenges to every dweller in the region. With the hottest temperature reaching over 50 degrees, residents see this season as the best opportunity to leave the country and cool down somewhere else in the world, making it even more challenging to forecast the demands of our consumers and service them too. So, how do we at Sprii gear up to prepare for this season, keeping in mind that we have targets to hit, and growth to deliver? Here's an explainer:


We're in hyper-growth mode at the moment, so, planning in our business is key. Summer isn't easy as consumers demand change– whether that be the products they're shopping, or the hours they're ordering or wanting to speak to us. Summer is the peak season for travelling, so we need to ensure inventory is plentiful across all our travelling categories, whether that be basic necessities like feeding bottles and strollers, or last-minute sunscreens and soothers. Aside from the travel focus, demand in other categories changes dramatically as well.

One example of this is toys- no one would want to be jumping around on a trampoline in their garden under the scorching heat of the sun, right? So instead we're fully focused on pushing our range of indoor toy wonders for excitement instead. Therefore, from a sales perspective, this season can be considered slightly bipolar. Sales skyrocket, because consumers shop their travel essentials, and at the same time, plummet because consumers are off travelling. This makes daily sales forecasting, staffing, and planning much more challenging than other times of the year.


Brands and business partners going on vacation is another challenge during the summer. Large percentages of all workforces in this country tend to take the summer months as an opportunity to leave, recharge, replenish, and gear up for the next busy season. E-commerce, however, sees none of this slowdown, so proper planning is the key to survive. At Sprii, we are still shipping 24 hours a day, seven days a week; however, when you're dependent on third parties to process your orders, or logistics to deliver your packages, smaller workforces test us in all areas as we never want to let the service levels drop or the delivery times extend.


Shorter working hours during the month of Ramadan brings with it additional challenges. Hiring in new staff to create shift patterns to cover our 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. customer service hours that are still running seven days a week is a must. The hours people are ordering with us also takes a real turn– orders scale up late in the evenings and overnight, and we always want to be replying and processing within a few minutes of receiving every order. So, what's the solution? We quite simply need to get more creative and more efficient and plan well weeks in advance.

Related: Facing A Slowdown? Step Up Your PR, Don't Scale It Back

Sarah Jones

Founder and CEO, Sprii

Sarah Jones founded Sprii at the start of 2014. Previously, she had a successful career in finance, spending four years at Deloitte in Mergers & Acquisitions advisory, first in London and then in Dubai. After two years in the Gulf, Jones left the finance world, recognizing the potential of the early-stage e-commerce market and the Sprii business model. Sprii is today the online destination for everything mums and kids in the Middle East, with over 800 brands and 40,000 products, all available at the click of a button.
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