TBY talks to two CEOs in e-commerce on the sources of their success and their companies’ targets for the coming year.
How has Doğan Online maintained its position as Turkey’s market leader for e-commerce?
A. YENAL GÖKYILDIRIM We were one of the first in the market, and that is a big advantage. Another is that we are in almost all internet markets. If you look at our reach, we are almost everywhere, in every industry. Wherever we have entered the market we have become number one or two. From the scale point of view, we have no issues. Of course, there are some niches we need to enter. We have nine companies and 16 brands, so we do a bit of hedging, but we are also quite dominant in certain areas. For example, Hepsiburada.com is the largest e-commerce site in the country, and Messina.com is the number two betting site nationally. Media Net, for digital advertising, is the number one media company in the country with a 40% market share.
How has Yemeksepeti been so successful?
NEVZAT AYDIN Our break-even point was in 2005-2006 due to the enormous increase of internet users in Turkey. We found the right product at the right time for people in Turkey—especially in Istanbul. A lot of people are coming to Istanbul and Turkey, and this model works much better in metropolitan areas than rural places. When there are traffic jams, people only have two or three hours to themselves everyday. We work for eight or nine hours, we sleep for eight hours, and traffic takes two to three hours of our lives everyday. People don’t want to spend those valuable two or three hours preparing food or washing dishes. We will be talking more and more about delivery in the near future.
What trends in digital advertising can you identify?
AYG Technology is helping a lot. More personalized, customized approaches are being refined almost daily. Currently, our tools can support many brands to create an almost personalized advertising space. If we know you are interested in Rolex watches, we can show you Rolex watches next to the magazine you are reading on the internet. On your next visit we can show you where to get that Rolex. The systems are becoming very smart. We can see what you are looking for and direct you to where you can get it.
What makes the Turkish e-consumer unique?
NA Turkey is traditionally a very domesticated country, with the housewife cooking and taking care of the family, and the man of the house coming home to eat so the family can eat together. This is changing with more and more women working. Having a hot meal at home everyday is becoming more and more difficult. Eating out is one of the solutions, but so is delivery. When we started in 2001, there were 10 Domino’s restaurants in Istanbul, now there are 150. It’s not just the big brands like McDonald’s and Burger King that deliver any more—all restaurants deliver in Turkey. We do our business in the cross-section of e-commerce and food delivery, two concepts that are constantly growing. We are expecting growth rates of up to 60% in the coming years.
What are your most important targeted investments for 2012?
AYG There are a couple. First, Hepsiburada.com is the leading company, and we would like to grow the distance between it and its competitors, so we are investing heavily in those operations in terms of human resources, operations, new offices, and advertising. That is one of our biggest investments. Second, we are investing in new vertical areas to occupy the right fields. For example, this year we opened a home decoration site, Altıncadde.com, and we acquired a home decoration site. Third, we are investing in our technology teams and expanding them.
NA We will be everywhere in Turkey. We are in 38 cities already. We were in 23 a year ago, and we plan to be in more than 50 in a year’s time. We dominate Turkey—we don’t have any competition, so I’m sure that Yemeksepeti.com will be in every city in Turkey one day. Our model is not like Amazon or Turkish home shopping sites such as Markafoni or Hepsiburada. In order to get orders from a city, we have to operate there. We have to have restaurants subscribed there. Right now, when you say “delivery,” you hear Yemeksepeti.com. In a couple of years, when you say “food,” it will be Yemeksepeti.com.
© The Business Year