Credit cards are the way forward for e-commerce
GoNabit CEO says company has done UAE’s biggest group buying deals on credit card
GoNabit is sticking to its policy of championing credit cards for transactions on their websites and limiting other forms of payment following successes in its current markets, which include Lebanon, Egypt and the UAE, according to Dan Stuart, CEO and co-founder of GoNabit.
"We are the only business in Lebanon doing pure credit cards and we are the clear market leader in the country. It is a bad analogy, but I like to say, if I sit down now and only offer you water, the only way I am going to know if you drink water is if I only offer you water. If I offer you a bunch of things and you don't choose water, how am I going to know if you like water? It is a bit like that with credit card usage online, if I offer you a bunch of ways to pay, how do I know if you will use credit card? So we go into every market, pure credit card. You either use it or you don't and then we adjust from there," said Stuart.
In markets like the UAE, Stuart says that they will not accept any other payment method than credit card, as they have so far run some of the biggest group buying deals ever recorded in the country.
"In markets like the UAE, we did credit cards, we won't do anything else. We have seen deals with credit card only and have run the biggest deals in the UAE. $360,000 in gross revenue for the Banyan Tree deal, $220,000 for our Ferrari World deal. Two weeks ago we did $160,000 Habtoor Grand deal, pure credit cards," he said.
The beauty of using credit cards, according to Stuart, is that it is far more efficient from the business and buyers perspective than any other form of payment and now that the company is part of LivingSocial, which has the ability to allow transactions via smartphone apps, credit cards will become the only form of payment available to transact via these apps.
With credit card facilities already set up, it makes it much easier to plug the GoNabit structure into the existing apps technology.
"If you look at markets such as Saudi, Egypt etc, people talk about excellent mobile phone penetration, which is fantastic for a business like ours. As long as there is that other side of the ecosystem, of being able to transact to that mobile phone, otherwise it is just information and we are not a news site, we are an e-commerce site. So if we can try to grow and build and nurture that credit card usage then the fun of those mobile applications for purchasing vouchers becomes much more possible," said Stuart. "You kind of have to be stubborn on the credit card thing to get everything else to work."
Following the political situation that plagued Egypt earlier this year, Stuart says that the country is now a very interesting market for the company and he has plans to expand further in the region.
"I think in the long and medium term Egypt is a much better market in the sense that it is probably going to be a better place to do business two years from now than two years ago. I think that people are a bit more aware of [group buying] and are looking for better ways to promote themselves. I think it is a market that is coming up on the radar. It is a place we will look to grow. I mean the UAE is a great market, but ultimately Egypt has 14 times the population. The demographics are very different, but it is a much larger market," said Stuart.
Stuart also said that GoNabit's focus is not to gather as many members as possible, but to provide both businesses and consumers with a rich experience and building a diverse user base.
"We tend to be focused on building a rich user base in all the countries we are in. It is not so much a numbers game from an audience perspective; we are a performance-based marketing business so we look at how we perform in a market. How do our deals perform and what are we able to sell and bring to businesses, whether it is in markets like Egypt or Lebanon," he said.
There has been a lot of speculation around the development of Egypt's internet usage following the political crisis, with many businesses saying that the political turmoil made the population more aware of the internet and social networking, however Stuart says this may be the case, but it does not necessarily impact e-commerce in the country.
"People will say that in Egypt people are more aware of social media and the internet or whatever, which is great if you are targeting consumers, we could have 80,000 17 year-olds who know about our website, but are those 17-year-olds going to be consumers on our website? Probably not," said Stuart.