Apple Sales & Distribution Launch in Iraq

Client context

A regional IT distributor in the UAE was awarded one of the first sales, retail and distribution rights across Iraq from Apple Inc. With no prior experience in establishing a mobility business, they had engaged Playtorium on a BOT model from recruitment, training as well as implementing commercial policies.

The Partnership

Iraq is a complicated market split between two ethnic lines, i.e. Arabs and Kurds. Playtorium assessed the market by engaging with the Network Operators based in Sulaymaniyah and Erbil, running a distribution and retail market study in Baghdad, Basra and Kurdistan and finally mapped the competitor landscape as major influx of Apple products at that time used to be through the gray market. The Playtorium team then went on a recruitment drive hiring professionals from a market that was just coming out of a civil war with some areas still under the influence of militants. We traveled across the country and selected key locations for our retail and service operations in addition to the critical warehousing points ensuring the security of the staff members as well as customers. Apple Inc had strict guidelines for the fittings and furniture that had to be compiled and material had to be procured from Dubai in order to fulfill these requirements. Technical and retail training programmes were arranged in coordination with Apple to ensure that the consumers received the same experience as anywhere else in the world. A special Gold Service & Warranty card was introduced to differentiate the legally imported products from the parallel ones. Finally a retailer awareness program was launched through road shows briefing them on the benefits of selling devices with official warranty. Iraq wide dealer incentive program was introduced with prizes ranging from international trips to consumer electronics. 

The Impact

The Gold Warranty Card became a reference for quality in the country within six months that was copied by other companies as well. The official Apple products gained a sixty percent market share ensuring satisfied customers who valued the experience promised by the brand. The first year turnover of the company had been 65 million$ with a healthy margin and most of all a brand name of the company that had created the brand Apple in Iraq. 

The Results

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Market Entry for European Phone Brand

Playtorium achieved great success by introducing and selling more than 300,000 units, worth 60 million dollars of a niche product into a market that was dominated by big brands like Apple, Samsung, and other android phones.

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