Black Friday, the shopping holiday which originated from western countries has become a familiar concept in Asian and Middle Eastern countries including Iran. Today many Iranian online retailers have localized this holiday and offer irresistible and heavy discounted campaigns. Can a special shopping day in Iran help boost the country’s e-commerce scene?

 

In Iran, for years, retailers have been putting up campaigns during Nowruz (the Iranian new year), and other national holidays. However, none of these shopping festivals have been able to make a significant change in the country’s total revenue throughout the year. Main reason being the lack of an official national shopping in the country. But recently some retailers have been trying to implement shopping day concepts such as Black Friday in Iran.

 

Black Friday in Iran: Not official, but working

Aside from being a consuming market, Iranians are known for being bargain hunters. If you take a walk in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar you can see how shop owners lure in the customers when they strike a bargain. However, recently as the concept of Black Friday has spread to other regions, Iranians have also become familiar with this notion thanks to the online retailers. Today if you take a walk in some of Iran’s major shopping malls in December you can see the signs of Black Friday deals on window displays same as you would see in other Islamic cities such as Istanbul, Islamabad or Dubai.

 

Harajome: Black Friday with a bit of twist

In 2015, for the first time Bamilo introduced Iranians with the concept of promotional sales on Black Friday. This concept received many mixed reviews for not being fit with the Iranian culture. A year later in 2016, this e-commerce held Black Friday on the same day as other regions in the world but changed the name of the campaign from Black Friday to Harajome, a combination of the words Haraj and Jome in Farsi meaning sale and Friday respectively.

Bamilo invested big resources to create the strong awareness around Harajome including offline marketing activities and bus tours around the country. Among other things Harajome was also sponsored by Parsonline, Jiring and Persian Bank.. According to this e-retailer, in its first year, Black Friday campaign brought 15 times and in its second year 30 times more orders than any other ordinary day.

Despite criticisms, this e-retailer was successful in hyping up the Black Friday concept in Iran and invoked other online shopping websites in the country to take part in this campaign; in a market which lacked an effective holiday sale. If Harajome becomes accepted by Iran’s major e-commerce players, it could help with the growth of the overall market size in the country.

Black Friday was also introduced in India and Pakistan by e-commerce websites such as Flipkart and Daraz. Later, other retailers and online shopping websites also emulated the concept of Black Friday. In 2016, only a year after when Daraz introduced Black Friday, it became a momentous event in Pakistan’s offline and online retail. Overall this shopping festival was able to successfully bring massive growth to Pakistan’s e-commerce scene.

A shopping mall in Tehran - Even some retailers have been influenced by local online retailers and their shopping day campaigns such as Black Friday
A shopping mall in Tehran – Even some retailers have been influenced by local online retailers and their shopping day campaigns such as Black Friday

Iran’s e-commerce scene

According to Iranian officials, there are currently 25 thousand online shops in Iran which have the eNAMAD certificate and are operating officially. A recent report by Central Bank of Iran (CBI) shows that the electronic purchases over POS, internet and mobile phones in Iran have passed 1,383 trillion Tomans ($365B) in the past Persian year. A number which is 1.14 times more than the country’s liquidity until last year’s February and shows a 34% increase in online shopping in 2016 compared to the previous year. In other words, Iranians are spending online more than ever.

 

In conclusion, a national shopping day in Iran where all the major e-commerce players are involved with could expand the country’s online market size significantly. Could Harajome become this national shopping holiday?

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