A Day In The Life Of: Marius Ciavola, CEO at Tradeling

Tell Us About Your Background.

Born and raised in Malta,  moved to Dubai in 2010 to join Sukar.com, a tech start up company which eventually was acquired by Souq.com. I hold a Diploma in e-commerce. At Souq.com, I grew the operations from the ground up and set up 3 generations of fulfilment centres in 5 different countries. Eventually, when Amazon acquired Souq.com, I moved to build and expand the logistics network of Amazon MENA to deliver millions of packages across UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

What Made You Get Into Entrepreneurship?

When I started out in business, I joined my father’s 30 year old printing company and that’s when I realised  that you can only deliver true value to customers when you adopt a mindset of continuous improvement. I grew a passion for operations and learned Lean methods to reduce “waste” in every process to deliver better quality products and services which customers would be willing to pay for. But this couldn’t be achieved alone, so I needed to learn to become a leader and took every opportunity to pay forward with the people I had an influence on as I learned. This led me to become a operational leader at Souq and Amazon. My long tenure at Souq exposed me to entrepreneurship as I was given the autonomy and space to truly own a part of the business that had direct impact on millions of customers.

What Current Business Trends Do You See?

There are a lot of new business trends, however the digital transformation we see across many industries is unprecedented. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we do things. From education, healthcare, finance to retail, logistics, social engagement and of course trade. Another heavily grown trend we see is the use of data. Data volumes have grown massively and the businesses that leveraged this data to better understand their customers and to improve their decision-making are clearly the ones that are outperforming everyone else.

What Interesting Projects have You Implemented?    

I am on a very ambitious mission, that of bringing the likes of the B2C online experience into the B2B digital world. B2B e-commerce is truly the next biggest thing in e-commerce and we can already see many companies making the shift  to conducting their business online. However, the customer experience in B2B e-commerce is lagging behind compared to B2C and that’s because of the complexities and challenges that it comes along with. Every business is different and their needs are different, but what we know for sure is that the people in B2B have already experienced what B2C is like and they expect to receive the same kind of experience when buying for their businesses. At Tradeling, my team and I keep  innovating on behalf of the customer to bring a frictionless experience with the  peace of  mind that you would expect whe n purchasing for yourself. Take for example Logistics. We launched Tradeling Smart Freight, where one can instantly obtain and compare freight rates and book online as easy as buying an airline ticket in 3 simple steps. This offering has removed the need of endless emails and phones calls t  multiple freight forwarders and to follow up on the  status of the shipments. 

Take Us Through Your Typical Work Day

I have a very simple approach to how I spend my days at work. I split my time into four main activities. I connect, I teach, I think and I deliver. Depending on the needs of the business, I allocate time accordingly but I make sure that I do all four activities day in day out.

How can readers find out more about you?

They can visit our website. I suggest to watch the space of B2B e-commerce in MENA region. We are continuously launching new products and services and incrementally shaping the way B2B e-commerce takes place in the MENA region and I have the privilege to be in the forefront. We recently launched the region’s first authoritative study on the Middle East’s B2B- e-commerce landscape.  Pivoting to Digital: The Transformation of Middle East’s B2B Commerce, provides insight to trends and perception of the B2B eCommerce sector in the Middle East, focusing on its two largest markets, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. It shows how the challenges and opportunities brought on by the global pandemic and how COVID-19 necessitates the drive to a new model of retail, one that is driven online.  It is available free to download: https://www.tradeling.com/ae-en/page/tradeling-white-paper

Editor-In-Chief of Bizpreneur Middle East