The FINANCIAL -- The number of Georgian businesses that have switched to the e-commerce system is hitting new records. Tenders and auctions, utility payments, telephone bills, courier services, as well as discount coupons - are the top services that have the largest number of transactions. Currently e-commerce development in Georgia equals world standards.
There is more business in Georgia with a store that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, without a sales person who needs breaks or holidays. All such companies have simply switched to an e-commerce system. In response, the worth of payments made by Georgians via the internet doubles from year to year. According to NBG, the number of transactions made via the internet amounted to 1,391,111, worth GEL 82,506,000 as of June 2015. The total value of transactions has more than doubled this year, in comparison with the previous year. 1,057,231 transactions were made via the internet in Georgia, worth GEL 35,989,000, as of June 2014.
Established in 1996, Cartu is the first Georgian bank to have VISA and MasterCard service licenses in e-commerce. There are currently over 430 companies involved in the e-commerce system of JSC Cartu Bank.
The FINANCIAL asked Natalia Kokrashvili, Head of the Ecommerce Group at JSC Cartu Bank, to provide information on e-commerce development in Georgia.
“The list of leaders by largest number of transactions includes the following services: tenders and auctions; utility payments; telephone; courier services; as well as discount coupons. In addition to the above-mentioned services, e-commerce has been quite successfully adopted by charity organizations, as well as online credit services,” said Kokrashvili.
The popularity of the services offered by these companies is the main reason contributing to the large volume of transactions made via the e-commerce system. “Consumers have got used to the added convenience of not having to leave their home,” Kokrashvili added.
In Kokrashvili’s words, today Georgia is actually catching up with developed countries in terms of e-commerce standards. As she said, the population have become assured of the security and mobility of e-commerce services.
The awareness of Georgian companies towards the importance of e-commerce has increased significantly. The market’s advanced companies, as well as start-ups, consider the importance of the implementation of e-commerce in line with launching websites. Such companies try to satisfy consumer demands this way. When contacting Ecommerce at Cartu Bank, the team provides professional assistance, in both technical and organizational terms.
Kokrashvili believes that under proper management any type of company can succeed with an e-commerce platform. However, as their practice of many years has shown, consumers mostly avoid purchasing very expensive products via electronic commerce. As Kokrashvili explained, in this case, consumers prefer to be sure of the actual quality of a product which they plan to purchase for a large amount of money.
“Successful e-commerce business requires an innovative idea, registered company, a streamlined website and programmer,” Kokrashvili suggested.
While switching to the e-commerce system of Cartu Bank, the Bank does not require any investment at the starting point. Moreover, the team provides the opening of an account and technical assistance to the companies that plan to integrate their e-commerce service, free of charge. The Bank only accepts the fee as stipulated by the contract after the transaction has been completed successfully.
“Companies are not allowed to sell those products online which are prohibited by the regulations of international payment systems,” said Kokrashvili.
At the starting point of the development of online purchase in Georgia, consumers were more linked to international websites. Consumers’ activity started earlier, then local companies got involved in it. “I think this delay was related to the quality of technological development in the country at the time. Over time, technology has improved and companies have started to have more confidence in banks. Companies conciliated banks with the development of their businesses through e-commerce systems. As we see, they were not mistaken,” Kokrashvili told The FINANCIAL.