This post originally appeared on the JadoPado Blog and has been re-produced here to preserve the JadoPado historical record.

It’s been an incredible 2012 at JadoPado.

If you asked us a question, tweeted us, Facebooked us, posted on the JadoPado Forums, placed an order, were showered with a bit of customer service love, received your delivery with a smile, supplied us with product, stored product with us, turned up to meetings, helped us with media, posted nice stuff about us, interviewed us, visited us at Gitex or just turned up to eat some pizza — Thank you for all your support!

I’ve jumped into a few highlights and numbers for 2012:

To keep things in context, we run an April to March financial year. The data below represents year to date (YTD) data from Q1 through to Q3.

September 1st 2012 through to December 31st 2012, our visitor numbers grew to between 4500 to 5000 visitors per day, representing a significant improvement over the summer. 83.81% of traffic is currently from the UAE, with the balance from India, US and the UK. Returning versus new visitors is split almost evenly at 51.57% / 48.43%.

Total YTD Visitors: 894,577

Total YTD Pageviews: 3,562,653

5th January 2014 Edit: Unfortunately we made a mistake with the numbers above, they represent January through to December rather than April through to December. The correct numbers are:

Total YTD Visitors: 771,286

Total YTD Pageviews: 3,059,738

Order Numbers
Our monthly order volume continues to accumulate steadily from over the summer. During the holiday season we peaked at 90 orders in a given day. December was the first time we felt constrained by our ability to handle orders effectively including picking, packing and actual deliveries. We had to make adjustments both to our our delivery slots as well as their actual capacities in order to restrict the number of orders received per day to ensure that service levels were not affected.

Total YTD Average Orders Per Month: 679

Total YTD Orders: 6119

December 2012 marks the end of Q3. We remain on track to triple our business this year. With the imminent roll out of International Shipping we expect to be able to continue to push things along fairly quickly. If the support that we’ve received locally is anything to go by (and we’re hoping that it will be!), it’s definitely a mountain worth climbing.

YTD Revenues = AED 10,395,151

Marketing & Other Costs
Marketing costs have overtaken payroll as our dominant cost line. We expect this trend to continue, but with payroll potentially growing faster as we expand the JadoPado Team.

During the summer of 2012 we started to experiment with shifting our marketing budget from online to a variety of offline mechanisms. Two things were at play, one was to give the JadoPado brand more tangibility by accessing consumers where marketers have traditionally targeted them: Print, Radio & Outdoor. The second was the idea that the friction for a consumer to fire up a website on their smartphone was significantly less than the friction involved with asking them to physically get themselves to a store.

So far we’re pretty happy with the results. I’ll leave a more detailed discussion on offline advertising for another post.

Events — Gitex, Blogger Night

Gitex was probably one of the most fun “work” times that I’ve had in a while. We worked hard, we played hard, drank lots of coffee, had way too much cake, met lots of great people, took some fabulous pictures with JadoPado and had a blast. We expect to be totally serious at Gitex 2013

Blogger Night was an informal event that we put together on the 23rd of September 2012 at JPHQ as a follow up to a press event that took place earlier in the day. A bunch of people including customers, bloggers and pretty much anyone who wanted free pizza turned up! We had a quick presentation on our progress with a look at some of our numbers at the time (we’re getting pretty good at that!) and then broke up for discussions on e-commerce and other bits and pieces on entrepreneurship and life.

What’s up for 2013?
It feels like it’s going to be a very interesting year ahead. Here are some of the things we’re working on:

International Shipping
We’ve been speaking about this for a while without a definite timeframe. We’re at the tail end of a long development cycle with a number of areas having to be re-thought through and therefore re-written in order to meet our goal of a frictionless checkout process.

We expect to launch International Shipping inside the next 12 weeks. We remain undecided on where we’ll ship first or whether we should pull the global trigger right away. Sign up here, if you’d like to be alerted as soon as we’re ready!

Warehousing & Logistics
In order to meet increased order volumes, our current warehousing methods need to be overhauled and additional planning is required around goods flow in and out, pick types, standalone packing lines and so on. Getting warehousing right is a key challenge in the year ahead.

We’re also in the process of adding delivery capacity to meet increased local demand, and expect to continue to fine tune our dispatch management system for further throughput. In terms of routing deliveries, we’re exploring more efficient ways to do this including automated route optimisation as local addressing improves.

Warehousing and logistics remain a key growth and investment area in the years ahead.

Content providers continue to look at e-commerce as a potential opportunity for creating more value for their content. On the other side of the aisle, e-commerce firms are attempting to create better, higher quality content in order to drive product sales. Amazon understands this and it’s one of the reasons why they acquired sites like DP Review and IMDB. High quality content will alway be king.

It’s a juxtaposition that may play out via interesting consolidation plays in the local and regional space over the next few years.

We also started to experiment with community driven content earlier this year by launching the JadoPado Forums. It’s been very challenging to gain traction, however we’ll continue to plug away at it.

Advertising Sales
We’ve been debating this for a while and started experimenting with advertising on the site a few months ago. The feedback has been interesting so far, with a number of concerns over why an e-commerce entity (that’s what we’re perceived to be — for the moment at least!) would pay to take traffic away after potentially paying for it to get to the site on the first place.

My response is “Ready To Buy Traffic”. We feel that we have a unique, growing audience that is differentiated by being at the end of their product research cycle and are well on their way to making a purchasing decision. We consider advertising on JadoPado to be similar to advertising at point of sale. If for example, you’re looking for a smartphone and are on an iPhone 5 product page, could that not be an opportune time for a manufacturer to pitch you a few alternative choices?

Corporate, Government and Educational Sales
Over the past 12 months, we’ve executed a number of corporate product orders but in an ad hoc and unplanned manner. We’ve decided that the time is right to build out a dedicated function to handle large corporate, government and educational sales. This won’t include wholesale opportunities, for which we may add an alternative vertical in the future.

We initially expect transactions to take place offline, with the potential for a dedicated site in the near future to allow a given purchasing team to procure automatically.

Mobile & Other Devices
 We soft launched a mobile version of JadoPado earlier this year. While it’s too early to attribute a significant percentage of sales to mobile, we feel that mobile will continue to grow strongly as an information source in the year ahead. With the region somewhat behind the curve when we consider mobile e-commerce sales, we feel that mobile e-commerce may be a potential high growth area by 2014/2015.

I’m hopeful that we’ll continue to subscribe to the “open book” approach as we build out JadoPado. It’s an interesting, sometime gut wrenching, reality check on exactly where we are and what we’ve been doing.

E-Commerce continues to be a challenging but potentially rewarding opportunity in the region and beyond. It’s a long term play, and while sustaining in the short to medium term is extremely challenging, we’re confident about our model and overall approach.

Here’s to a great year ahead!