Open to businesses, entrepreneurs and services in the halal space, Sharia compliance is authenticated by third-party advisors and lawyers.
London: A UK-based online marketplace, which will seek to promote, market and facilitate the trade of halal products and services is set to launch later this month.
Halal.co.uk, a privately owned platform based in Peterborough, plans to become an Amazon style marketplace for Islamic products and services by connecting sellers directly to targeted audiences.
“Our platform is not just for products, but will also seek to offer services such as accountants, financial, solicitors and even bespoke holidays,” said Aaron Henderson, co-owner and brand strategist at Halal.co.uk. “We will curate products from the following categories: food and drink, travel, professional services, books and education, home, electronics, modest clothing, health and beauty.”
In addition to halal, the marketplace also plans to be a space for ethical businesses as well as those that are underrepresented such as female entrepreneurs, Henderson said.
The platform does not hold any stock. It connects the customer with buyers or sellers and then the purchase is made via the seller’s digital shopfront within the platform. The platform collects a 5% commission on each transaction.
Halal.co.uk is open to local, regional and international businesses, entrepreneurs and services in the halal space. To ensure Sharia compliance, all products and or services are authenticated before appearing on the platform, Henderson said, adding that due diligence is done by third-party Sharia advisors and lawyers.
Growing UK halal e-commerce space
Halal.co.uk will join a growing business-to-consumer halal e-commerce scene in the UK. Among the players already in the market are Ummazing, Noor and Zafir, and Halal Street UK.
“We don’t see a main competitor in the UK, particularly in the Islamic economy space which remains fragmented,” said Henderson. “We have a complete solution which is built and maintained in-house so we are able to offer a complete digital strategy to other businesses who sell on our halal.co.uk marketplace to help them navigate to success.”
Shelina Janmohamed, Vice President, Islamic Marketing at Ogilvy said that start-up brands and businesses by Muslims for Muslims have grown, and that Muslim consumers are now far more discerning in their selections.
“The key will be creating trust in the platform and the vendors they support,” she said. “Alongside this will be ease of use in the customer interface, and strong customer service. I can see interest from Muslim consumers who wish to shop in an environment tailored for their needs and brand desires. Equally I can see the appeal for Muslim-oriented businesses finding a tailor-made target audience.”
Henderson believes that a key advantage for halal.co.uk will be in their website address or URL. “Our URL is the golden USP [Unique Selling Point],” he said. “The design and build of the marketplace are all in-house as we coded the marketplace to ensure we have all the IP [Intellectual Property].”
Adding to this, he said that the platform’s strategy for promoting business and products will help give it a further advantage.
“The platform is omni-channel and will have regular podcasts, social media content and blogs to communicate our brand, support other businesses and raise awareness within the community,” he said. “We will offer businesses brand exposure to capture customer attention.”
Halal.co.uk also plans to export the platform overseas and will look to enter different markets over the course of the year.
“We are looking to dynamically tailor our platform solution to expand into other markets including Spain, France, Russia, Italy and also the USA, although this will likely be more in the third or fourth quarter,” said Henderson.
To support this growth and development it is likely that the business will need external financing in the future. “We are looking to scale up both our platform and our team expansion. As such, we may consider external investment if it is needed,” he said.
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