What have been the company's main achievements since its inception?
ABDULAZIZ ALSABBAGH Since our launch in 2019, we have made great strides in offering vendors and customers a wide variety of services that is beneficial to both sides. Our entire team and partners all bring in their unique assets from different experiences they have been through. From there, we started creating an in-house software developed 100% in Qatar. We started the whole procedure in December 2018 and launched just three months later. It was difficult in the beginning, and we were surprised to have signed with more than 600 vendors in just three or four months, which is an amazing number for a start-up. We met our expectations by becoming a market leader in the first year of operation.
HAMAD MUBARK AL-HAJRI We had two ambitions. First was how to reach maximum satisfaction for customers through constant innovation and high-quality services, and second was how to make life easier for business owners who face challenges to incorporate new technologies into their business models. While the key to customer satisfaction is being able to deliver products anywhere within a competitive timeframe, business owners seek cost reduction. At the end of the day, both stakeholders are looking for efficiency, whether it is cost- or time-efficiency; our greatest success is being able to provide it. We solve two problems with one solution. Snoonu offers a complete solution for merchants and customers at a low cost. We also provide data storage and logistic solutions.
What gap in the market did Rafeeq fill?
AA Not all delivery services and platforms delivered to all areas in Qatar, and we were inspired to set this as our main vision and slogan: “We Deliver Everywhere." We continuously work on expanding furthermore to different areas. During the brainstorming and planning phase, the blockade imposed on Qatar was still new, and many individuals and companies shared their extreme desire and need for a 100% Qatar service application. From there, individuals began to spread the word that a Qatari company was entering the market. We capitalized on the existing excellent digital infrastructure in the country and the sound and supportive entrepreneurial environment to fill this gap created both by internal and external reasons.
What are the main reasons behind Qatar's healthy and thriving start-up environment?
HMAH Qatar has the world's best incubation and acceleration centers and access to talent programs, as well as excellent universities with specific courses and degrees in entrepreneurship. Then, when it comes to financing, we have Qatar Development Bank, which is always there to support every new and small project with business potential. At present, we have five offers for business loans from five giants, so opportunities to grow in Qatar are infinite. If you look at the global competitiveness index, we are number one when it comes to connectivity and digital infrastructure. The only thing not available in Qatar is a big market. That is why Snoonu is moving vertically in the supply chain.
How are you implementing disruptive technologies to improve your business model and go digital, especially during COVID-19?
AA We are working daily on improving our services daily with any new technology that we have access to. We are also finding new solutions and ideas to improve our services by listening to all complaints and suggestions made by either our customers, employees or partners and taking everything into consideration. We have added popup screens to our applications to remind people about hygiene and sanitary practices, to always be safe and wash their hands, for example. Through our application, our marketing team uses digital strategies to reinforce how we deliver and what we can do to protect everyone's health. Such strategies taken will prove to our own customers and society how much we care.
What will be the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on retail and distribution
HMAH Digital marketplaces will grow in the long term. Our sales have increased almost seven-fold since the beginning of the outbreak, and we are set to witness further growth. Traditional business support service providers, such as travel operators, have been badly affected while business support IT companies are experiencing growth. Any business process involving direct human interactions will suffer because of the virus. Human activity will shift to the digital world. Undoubtedly, digitalization is beneficial for Qatar, at least when applied to doing businesses.