Zain launches e-commerce platform in Iraq
Zain recently launched an online platform allowing anyone to create an e-commerce site in Iraq, the service is Chanbar. The website provides a free service allowing merchants to create online stores within 24 hours, users can start to sell products online immediately after registration. The website is currently only available in Arabic, however we have been informed they are working on launching a Kurdish and English version in the near future.
In an interview with Yazen Al-Timimi, CEO of Iraq Wallet, he explained that Chanbar is designed to meet the needs of e-commerce in Iraq. “At some point we realized that e-commerce is minimal in Iraq in the traditional form; majority of entrepreneurs and small businesses in Iraq sell products through social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, etc., which is an inefficient and not a scalable way for selling. Merchants did not know how to sell online, did not have the tools to open websites, and the likes of Shopify and BigCommerce did not exist in Iraq. So we came up with the idea to support merchants by offering an easy and quick way to create an online store, and by also adding our payment solution, ZainCash”.
How can merchants register a store on Chanbar
Registration to the website requires users having a Zain mobile line in order to activate their accounts.
Setting up a Chanbar account is short and simple, making it easy for anyone to register. There are currently over one hundred active merchants on Chanbar.
How can you buy items from Chanbar store?
Users who wish to shop through Chanbar are not required to have a Zain line. The website offers two payment solutions, ZainCash and cash upon delivery.
ZainCash is an e-payment service available to all Zain users; users must physically deposit money into their wallets through any ZainCash agent.
Once the wallet has been setup, customers can begin using it to make purchases through Chanbar by entering their mobile numbers and PIN numbers in the Checkout page on the website. Once the payment has been made Zain will automatically transfer the money into the merchant’s wallet.
Upon receiving the payment, merchants can either withdraw funds from any ZainCash agent, or transfer the funds into their local bank accounts.
Future plans for Chanbar
The team at Chanbar is working on integrating their website with Facebook. This function will allow merchants to link their Chanbar accounts to their business pages on Facebook. This will in turn allow the customers to shop, and communicate with the merchants through their Facebook accounts directly.
What impact do you wish for Chanbar to have on e-commerce in Iraq? “We’re hoping to see ecommerce flourish in the coming months, and to have the public experience true online shopping where they can search and pay for products from home,”
Lara Saeed is a graduate of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. She holds a BA degree in English Literature. During her four years in university, she was a staff writer for AUIS Voice, the first independent on campus newsletter in Iraq. When she is not busy reading, writing, or editing Lara likes to… read.