Decoding ElAbd's Playbook for Sweet Success

I have been an avid follower of Elabad's journey and their performance this Ramadan has inspired this article. Elabd, a name synonymous with delightful Egyptian treats, boasts a rich history dating back to 1974. Their story began with a single shop in Talat Harb Street in Downtown that had the reputation of making the best Basbousa in Egypt.

I have been an avid follower of Elabad's journey and their performance this Ramadan has inspired this article.

Elabd, a name synonymous with delightful Egyptian treats, boasts a rich history dating back to 1974. Their story began with a single shop in Talat Harb Street in Downtown that had the reputation of making the best Basbousa in Egypt.

To appreciate the fast-paced growth trajectory Elabd is on, consider this: it took them from 1974 to 1997 (23 years) to open their second location, and today, in 2024, they have over 100 outlets across Egypt. Their journey offers invaluable insights for local brands seeking to capture hearts and taste buds.  Let's delve into the secrets behind Elabd's success, exploring its multi-channel expansion mastery, strategic commercial planning, and brand-building brilliance.

From Humble Beginnings to Multi-Channel Domination

Elabd's impressive channel expansion model has helped it grow its revenue, brand recognition, and customer base compared to its relative peers with a network now boasting hundreds of touch points with its customers, each offering a welcoming space to savor their delectable treats. This strategic expansion goes beyond the traditional patisserie shop model:

  • Physical Stores: The cornerstone of their presence, Elabd's patisserie shops provide a delightful yet traditional experience of buying freshly made Egyptian sweets like Basbousa (which they are famous for), Konafa, and Baklava also offering some cakes and Gateau.
  • Cafe Concepts: Beyond traditional cafes, Elabd experimented with innovative concepts like the one that opened in Mall of Arabia in 2019 and another in City Stars Mall. This cafe caters to a wider audience, offering not just their signature sweets but also mini pizza, coffee, and ice cream ideal for the grab-and-go customer pacing the mall.
City Stars Cafe Concept
  • Online Retail Expansion: Elabd embraces the digital revolution. Their website, their mobile app and partnerships with online retailers like Amazon & Rabbit ensure convenient online ordering and delivery.
  • B2B Sales: Elabd catered to corporate clients, offering bulk gifting options and employee appreciation packages.
  • CPG Goods: Recognizing the power of convenience, Elabd developed a line of packaged goods for modern trade (hypermarkets) and regular trade (convenience stores). Their recent launch of a chocolate chip cookie line exemplifies their commitment to innovation in this category.
Elabd Packged Cookies line
  • White Labeling: I am also assuming that Elabd's expertise isn't limited to their own brand. They possibly venture into white labeling, producing sweets for other companies, and expanding their reach further.

This multi-channel approach ensures Elabd's products are readily available – from a quick bite on the go to a celebratory dessert for a special occasion.

Commercial Planning: Mastering the Art of Seasonal Delights

Elabd understands that sweets aren't just treats; they're threads woven into the fabric of Egyptian celebrations.  Extensive commercial planning goes into Elabd's product customization and campaign development for major events:

  • Ramadan: During the holy month, arguably the biggest sales season for deserts in Egypt, Elabd introduces a special Ramadan collection of traditional sweets and new yearly innovations. Social media campaigns with captivating visuals and heartwarming messages elevate the emotional connection with consumers.
  • Prophet's Birthday: Elabd creates unique sweet offerings specific to the Prophet's birthday, often incorporating symbolism or flavors associated with the occasion.
  • Eid: Elabd's Eid Kahk collections are a vibrant explosion of flavors. Eye-catching packaging and targeted marketing campaigns ensure their offerings become a staple for Eid celebrations.
  • Summer: Lighter treats and refreshing flavors take center stage during the summer months. Elabd's marketing campaigns might involve social media contests or influencer partnerships to promote their seasonal offerings.

Beyond Seasonal Delights: Building Year-Round Brand Strength

Elabd understands that brand loyalty goes beyond seasonal spikes in sweet cravings. They invest heavily in building year-round brand recognition and strength. This is evident in:

  • Elevating the Brand Experience: Elabd has gone above and beyond in elevating its brand image. Stunning visuals, captivating photography, and artistic packaging grace their products and stores. This meticulous attention to detail ensures their offerings stand out on crowded shelves, grab attention, and communicate a sense of quality and care that resonates with customers. Their store merchandising is equally impressive, creating a delightful and inviting atmosphere that entices customers to explore their wide range of treats.
  • Year-Round Campaigns: Elabd doesn't limit captivating campaigns to major holidays. They consistently engage customers, promoting new offerings and keeping the brand at the forefront of consumers' minds.
  • Ubiquitous Presence: Elabd maintains a strong presence across many consumer touch points – from physical stores and online platforms to social media and influencer collaborations. This holistic approach fosters brand familiarity and trust.

A Recipe for Continued Domination: The Future is Sweet

Elabd's impressive journey holds valuable lessons for future success. Here's how they can further solidify their dominance:

  • Expanding the CPG Product Range: Taking inspiration from brands like Abo Auf, Elabd could explore expanding their CPG offerings beyond cookies. This could include other types of cakes, savory pastries, and even healthier snack options, catering to a wider consumer base.
  • Distribution Network Growth: Investing more in distribution within modern and regular trade will amplify their reach. A wider product catalog will also give them greater leverage in negotiating shelf space and securing prime locations within supermarkets and convenience stores.
  • Brand Strength – The Key to Adoption: Continued investment in brand strength through impactful campaigns and strategic collaborations with influencers and celebrities will ensure positive customer reception towards new product offerings.
  • E-commerce Evolution: Elevating its e-commerce presence will enable Elabd to further expand its customer base and scale its digital marketing efforts. A robust online platform with efficient ordering and delivery systems will help them maintain a strong return on ad spend while reaching a wider audience.
  • Expanding their cafe concept: The cafe concept offers Elbad an opportunity to grow its physical store footprint in a much more modular/small-scale manner possibly also through franchising and triggers new buying opportunities with its customers across their daily lives for example becoming a morning staple for commuters ..etc
  • Going international: I would not be surprised if we hear of an imminent Elbad expansion in a GCC market like Saudi or UAE. Already Exprot of their CPG goods is happening and I feel the brand is very well positioned for such an expansion.

By following this recipe, Elabd can continue to be a national sweetheart, ensuring their delectable treats remain a staple in Egyptian households for generations to come it also offers a great learning experience and roadmap for similar brands like La Poire, Patchi, El Malki, and perhaps even Abo Laban to follow for growth and expansion.

Let us know your thoughts

Latest Articles

View All

From Tables to Shelves: The Rise of Restaurant-to-Retail Movement in Egypt

The COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses around the world to adapt, and the restaurant industry in Egypt was no exception. One trend that emerged, initially driven by necessity, has blossomed into a full-fledged market opportunity: the rise of restaurant-to-retail or consumer packaged goods (CPGs). This resourceful pivot highlighted the potential of the restaurant to thrive on the shelves of supermarkets, and it's here to stay.

March 24, 2023

7 ways (with examples) MENA Ecommerce brands can use Whatsapp automation to increase sales

WhatsApp Business API presents immense opportunities for Middle East e-commerce stores to maximize their sales potential. By adopting these seven strategies, businesses can effectively leverage WhatsApp's features to retarget cart abandonment, provide efficient order tracking, enhance customer service through chatbots, offer product-specific WhatsApp buttons, automate customer feedback and reviews, and drive retention through broadcasts and announcements.

March 24, 2023

Maximizing E-commerce Sales: The Importance of Marketing Attribution and Choosing the Right Agency in Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt

In today's fast-paced e-commerce industry, businesses must maximize their marketing efforts to drive sales and revenue. Marketing attribution is a process that helps businesses understand which marketing channels and tactics are most effective in driving sales and revenue. By using the right attribution models, businesses can optimize their marketing spend and improve ROI.

March 24, 2023