The SME Story: Nour Sleiman, co-founder and CMO of Cartlow
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The SME Story: Nour Sleiman, co-founder and CMO of Cartlow

The SME Story: Nour Sleiman, co-founder and CMO of Cartlow

Cartlow is a re-commerce initiative that offers like-new pre-owned, refurbished, open-box and clearance products, tested and certified by experts

Nour Sleiman, co-founder and CMO of Cartlow

What is Cartlow’s core business model?
Cartlow is a re-commerce initiative that offers like-new pre-owned, refurbished, open-box and clearance products which have been tested and certified by quality and grading experts, and then sold at lower prices with a warranty tag. Under Cartlow’s B2B model, we have recently launched VASCART with a mission to make retail more sustainable by eliminating waste generated from product returns and by offering a reverse logistics solution, in addition to providing retailers and distributors with different programmes such as return management, buyback, trade-in and recycling.

What were you doing before you started Cartlow?
Before Cartlow, I was working at a startup hub that offered online learning and personal development programmes, where I was in charge of quality control, content creation and translation.

What gap did you see in the market that necessitated the need for Cartlow?
The main channel for consumers to buy and sell pre-owned products is the “classifieds’ channel. We decided to offer high-quality refurbished products with a warranty, which are sold at affordable prices, in addition to many other value propositions such as payment options and logistics.

As for businesses, another gap lies in the fact that retailers and distributors are unable to get rid of their returned and overstocked products at good retrieval rates, lacking the processing capabilities to resell them. As a result, we focused on building a mature after-sales and liquidation operation. The refurbished and used market is very unstructured in this region – today there are thousands of secondary market traders in the UAE alone that don’t have access to a well-stretched digital reach. Our aim, therefore, was to restructure the market through a defined re-commerce ecosystem and automation platform. At Cartlow, we wanted to redirect some of this e-waste from ending up in landfills by introducing the ‘reduce, re-use, refurbish and recycle’ approach, and also align with the UAE Vision 2021 on diverting 75 per cent of municipal solid waste away from landfills.

How mature is the GCC market compared to Western markets with regards to re-commerce?
The market in this region is still untapped through digital channels. There are very few segmented players who are focusing on providing consumers with their pre-loved products through a solid B2C or “classifieds” platform. What we are building is an end-to-end re-commerce model where we focus on introducing a full reverse logistics solution, passing it on to various sales channels.

Does focusing on re-commerce (as opposed to general e-commerce) make good long-term business sense?
While the e-commerce market share is growing year-over-year, re-commerce is also on the rise. Re-commerce provides a solution to many retailers including major e-commerce players. For customers, it is cost-effective, sustainable, and all about making the old new again. Many factors are contributing to this growth, as we become more cautious of prices and conscious about the environment.

What are your expansion plans?
We are targeting a vast segment of people across the MENAP region. While we are currently operating in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, we plan on expanding to two other countries this year.

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