The Pet food industry in Qatar is going online and it's booming! To discuss that, today we sit for a chat with Dr. Idrees Arafath to find out more about Marmi and online pet food business in Qatar. Dr Idrees, who is a veterinary surgeon turned entrepreneur based in Doha, is the founder of Marmi Pet Food which is among Qatar’s leading pet food distributors. So, we begin by asking him from the very start.
Well, Marmi, in reality, is more than a pet food company even though in Qatar Marmi is synonymous as cheap pet food. However, Marmi is much bigger then it's perceived as it has five major Turkish brands under its umbrella from economical to premium pet food, namely Bonacibo, Micho, Mito, Kennel and Kucho.
In addition to these, Marmi has the Micho Cat Litter which has become a bestseller in Qatar. It, originally, brought Marmi fame and fast forward to the (COVID-19) outbreak in Qatar, Marmi now sells more than 40 tonnes of the Cat Litter monthly and is way ahead of its competitors.
Marmi has evolved in the last few years as a mature brand catering to all pet needs, as it has added more than 100 pet-related items including pet medicines, pet supplements and pet accessories into its inventory through acquiring distributorship of many more companies, namely Avicenna Labs from Turkey and Nektons from Germany, as a result of which, they have added many more quality pet items into the Marmi kitty.
Marmi began when I met my current Qatari sponsor and friend, Mr. Abdullah Fakhroo. Mr. Fakhroo being a lifelong animal lover himself and I, thus, shared a common vision of providing cheap, but quality pet food, to all pet owners and the pet rescue community in Qatar. Pet food companies in Qatar, traditionally, were selling pet food at premium prices, thus, discouraging pet culture and street animal colony feeding and some cheaper options which were in the market before Marmi were having bad reviews. Marmi brought a balance to the pet food market in terms of both quality and price.
This began with our partner app RIMADS, a Qatar based health care and technology start-up which is reimagining healthcare as well as pet care using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and advanced computer science techniques.
Our partnership with Rimads was yielding average sales until the coronavirus (COVID-19) came along and then things changed massively for the pet industry in Doha, with people mostly indoors, thronging to buy online and Marmi was already present in the market with Rimads from the inception of the virus. As the phrase goes 'in the right place, at the right time', and that’s how to sum up the J Curve post-coronavirus (COVID-19) with massive sales and record deliveries daily.
Well, there are many reasons for that:
Firstly, Rimads is delivering free that, too, in a record 120 minutes in all of Qatar unlike any of our competitors.
Secondly, the experience of using Rimads is bringing customers back again as it is highly satisfying and user-friendly unlike our competitors in the likes of the Lulu-Webstore or Carrefour Qatar which are more web-based than app-based.
Thirdly, Rimads offers them the option of buying over the counter pet medications along with pet food which none of our online competitors have. We have added nearly a dozen new items on the Rimads platform in the last few weeks, thus, making Rimads a one-stop-shop for pet lovers.
Regarding the future of online pet food, I feel we have just started. There is a long, long way ahead and a lot of hidden value in the pet sector for online platforms. It has a broader piece of pie to offer; now it depends on the appetite of the individual companies. Qatar is a very price-sensitive market when it comes to pet food. Any company who caters to that has a good future both online and offline.
Marmi is trying to acquire distributorship of more brands into Qatar for which we are in the final phases with some Holland and Spain based companies that are mainly into prescription pet foods. Other than that, Marmi is also looking to acquire more physical stores in Doha to have a presence on the ground as well.
Marmi is expanding into more and more supermarket chains as well. The final goal of mine for Marmi is to control 50% of the pet food market in the next three years.
For more details about Marmi, check out:
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