Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Gaza Tunnel eCommerce

You can get everything in Gaza, but often with great hassle, at great cost, after long delays, sometimes with the risk of advance payments, and goods not arriving.. This is due to the border regime of Israel, the border regime of Gaza authorities, as well as the obstacles that the Egyptian military puts on tunnel transits.

Imagine you would be sitting at home in Gaza, and you go on amazon.com, and order whatever rare scientific book, or special spare part, or diver propulsion vehicle for your commute to Ashtod, or whatever else, you pay online by credit card, and two weeks later you have it delivered to your home. It's a dream, but thinking about it, it appears even possible.

Using Forwarding Mailboxes

Aramex and several other postal providers are offering a very convenient service. You can have a PO Box address in USA, in UK, or other places with good eCommerce and mail order infrastructure, and once a packet arrives to your PO Box, it will be forwarded to your foreign destination address. The service provider will charge a fee per transaction.

Now this service would be most useful for Gaza, and given the restrictive regime of Israels border, it could employ transfer through Rafah tunnels.

Creating a Shopping Portal Using Web Services

Many eCommerce portals are offering Web Services, which is a machine-interface for their Websites. So you can open your own Web portal, let's say GazaShopping.com, and in the back-end you are connecting to the Web Services of major shopping portals.

If someone places an order on GazaShopping.com, your webserver will automatically order the item from Amazon.com or others, have it delivered to your forwarding mailbox in USA, which will transfer to Egypt, and from there you let your order be shipped through the tunnels to Gaza, and deliver it to people's homes.

Insurance of Shipments

Each order will have a long journey, part of which is exposed to some risks, i.e. if the local authorities find the product morally unacceptable, or if the Egyptian authorities intercept your shipment, or flood the tunnels with sewage.

Therefore, you should build trust with your customers by offering an insurance. If the packet does not arrive, or does not arrive in good condition, they don't pay.

The overall shipping cost including delivery in Gaza and insurance will be quite high, but given the scarcity of certain products, you will for sure find your customers.


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