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Remax: An Online Success Story

Brands of Maldives interviews the owner of Remax shops Mohamed Shameez, to know more about his online business success story.

Nafaahath Ibrahim
12 February 2020, MVT 09:20
Owner of Remax shop Mohamed Shameez giving speaking to Brands of Maldives. PHOTO: AHMED NISHAATH / MIHAARU
Nafaahath Ibrahim
12 February 2020, MVT 09:20

Times have changed. These days, building a start-up business no longer means one needs to acquire a large office space.

As the internet has connected the entire world, s it has connected the dispersed islands of Maldives and with that, online businesses are moving full steam ahead, growing at a much faster speed than ever before.

Perhaps the most ideal example of this happening lies with the story of Mohamed Shameez.

Since he began his small online shop with a mere MVR 50,000 only 10 years ago, the company has expanded its role to being a brand distributor reportedly worth a whooping MVR 2 million.

According to Shameez, starting a business with a small capital investment is the way to go, that is if one follows business regulations when establishing an online outlet.

“I bought branded items from places like Bangkok and did business ten years ago. Even then, I was someone who loved branded items a lot. I wanted customers to be satisfied with any of the product that I was selling.” said Shameez.

So, I brought brands like Sony, Remax and JBL. Since I have been around in the music industry a little bit, I know have some background on sound systems and things. So I bring items related to that even.”

Remax: an online success story. IMAGE: AHMED MAANIS / BRANDS OF MALDIVES

However, it all truly began when Shameez began putting up ads on Ibay. He then created a facebook page for Remax, which rose in popularity in a short frame of time, a success he credits to the quality of his products as well as competitive pricing.

Although the business was initially driven by retail purchases made from wholesalers located in commercial hubs like Bangkok. The company soon moved on to buying goods directly from factories. Remax is the first of Shameez’s soon-to-grow targeted brand focus’, produces over 3000 products. This includes electronics, shirts, bags and so much more.

The decision to specialize, in his words, was made because “it was making the most in sales, back when I was selling a variety of brands.”

Afterwards, the businessman attempted to open a showroom. He revealed that about MVR 400, 000 was spent on this, excluding the goods in the shop.

How were you conducting online business? On which platforms?

At first, I brought various goods and started selling them on Ibay. Just goods from different brands. For instance products such as school bags. Afterwards, once I realized that Remax was a good and authentic brand, I created a dedicated Facebook page, just to sell Remax products. That was just to sell Remax products. One and a half years later, I formed a partnership directly with the company. One thing I noticed is that it is not difficult to do business even if you do not have a physical shop.

So why did you open a shop after doing business online?

Online is a good way to start off. Nevertheless, business will improve once a shop is open. After all, a person that does not know of the Remax brand may perhaps wander into the shop. Customers will see other products in addition to the one they are buying. In contrast, those who shop online will only look at the item they specifically want.

We also sell humidifiers, mosquito killer and water bottles. Those who venture into the shop are likely to browse more products and possibly purchase more.

Do you think there are good opportunities for online businesses in Maldives?

At first, Remax was not the only brand I was selling. I also brought goods from brands like JBL. Marshall Boss and Sony. I was working to sell quality products at affordable prices with a small mark up. When I began selling online, the goal was not to receive any complaints about the products that I was putting out on the market.

That was what I was doing that when I came across Remax brand. As you noted, this started out online. That's how it expanded as well. We still market and sell products online despite not having a shop.

Are there any obstacles faced by online businesses in particular?

There are some obstacles. The biggest problem is the number of fake products that flood the market. However, having a shop allows customers to verify if the product is original. They can check the standard of the product. People can trust us because we have a shop. For example, even though its a relatively new brand to Maldives, once we started selling Remax products here, fake ones began to appear as well. The fake ones are sold at really low prices from places such as Bangkok’s Chinatown Market. These inauthentic products are of very low quality and have a tendency to break easily. This presents quite the challenge for online shops that sell electronics products in Maldives.

Would you say there are opportunities for an online business to thrive in the Maldives?

Those who pursue online businesses typically rely on goods that are delivered in a box. They purchase three to four boxes and escape having to pay taxes to Customs. Instead, I urge online businesses to register as any other retail businese and pay all applicable taxes. Otherwise, you may become liable for a lot of unpleasant consequences. I do not support any other kind of online businesses. People with shops pay import duty and freight fees to bring their goods into the country. They also pay GST. At present, those with online businesses are not required to pay any such fees.

Remax: an online success story. IMAGE: AHMED MAANIS / BRANDS OF MALDIVES

What is the advantage of owning and operating an online business?

Online business generates an excellent revenue system. I enjoyed it as I would a regular job. Some of the products sell very fast, others take a long time.

Are people sufficiently aware of online businesses?

Maldivians are not as aware of it. They always go for the price. Even though products purchases online are often cheaper, product quality can be very low and sometimes people end up purchasing fake products.

What steps can be taken to expand the progress of business in the immediate future?

I am working on expanding the availability of Remax to other islands in the Maldives. We are also considering opening up another showroom. Overall, the hope is to be able to bring quality products within the reach of all Maldivians, at affordable prices.

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