- Sunday, 28 May 2023
Carrefour is continuing to expand in Georgia with the Carrefour City franchise, bringing more smaller-sized convenience stores closer to customers throughout the country.
The new concept caters to smaller neighborhoods across Georgia and offers quick and easy shopping options, Jerome Akel, Country Manager of Carrefour Georgia, says, adding that the company is giving opportunity to small retailers and owners of mini-markets to develop their businesses and grow together with Carrefour under the brand of Carrefour City.
“The Carrefour City brand will be extended in 2023 by franchising it. Today we are welcoming entrepreneurs to become partners of Carrefour in Georgia and to run Carrefour City stores with us with the best purchasing conditions, having the best loyalty program in Georgia which is My Club and to cope with the needs of the population. We are on board entrepreneurs with us in franchise”, Akel said.
Carrefour City stores have up to 4,000 products on the shelves and are located in an area of 150 to 300 square meters.
Carrefour City stores have already been opened in Tbilisi, Zestaponi, Zugdidi, Batumi, and Kutaisi cities of Georgia while Carrefour plans to expand the concept across the country with at least 50 new stores per year.
“The Carrefour City concept is developed to answer the daily shopping needs of the customers with a focus on fresh food, beverages, groceries and dairy products. Our purpose is to help the customers buy their immediate needs, or weekly needs in a few minutes time and at the best price next their homes at Carrefour City stores”, Akel said.
Golden Brand sat down with Akel to find out more about the future plans of Carrefour in Georgia and discuss the retail market development in the country.
Q. Could you please tell us about Carrefour’s progress in Georgia?
A. Today Carrefour is operating in ten cities of Georgia with different kinds of stores. We have hypermarkets in Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, and Rustavi. We will be opening a hypermarket in Gori.
We also have supermarkets covering about 1,000-2,000 sq.m. where we sell approximately 15,000 items. We have supermarkets in Tbilisi, Poti, Telavi, Zugdidi, and Batumi.
Carrefour City is smaller than the supermarket where you can find all basic food, beauty, and hygiene products. On top of this we have a very rewarding loyalty program and promotions, and our teams are doing their best to treat customers with smiling faces and warm attitudes. All products under the Carrefour brand which are loved in Georgia will also be available at Carrefour City stores.
Q. You said Georgia is a “unique” country and also mentioned it is a “difficult market”. Overall, how would you evaluate the environment here for retailers?
A. During the pandemic we saw very strong involvement from our teams to keep the stores operating, while during the post-pandemic period we had to mobilize our people and purchasing teams on getting products, namely during the Ukraine conflict when many sources of products were coming from Ukraine and some parts of Russia. Last year was also challenging in getting new products with different origins.
What we have learned from the pandemic period is efficiency — we know how to work and make quicker decisions. We have seen the progress of e-commerce. I cannot say that many are astonished by the progress of e-commerce in Georgia; it represents less than 2% of the retail purchases. It’s not developing as fast as in other countries so far.
Q. Georgian customers have named Carrefour their favorite brand this year. What brought Carrefour this recognition, in your opinion?
A. One of the world’s largest hypermarket and supermarket brands, Carrefour — opened in Georgia by Majid Al Futtaim — has been a player in the Georgian market since 2012. Carrefour has provided Georgians with quality, variety and value; all contribute to making the difference for customers. Carrefour continues to innovate by combining price-competitiveness, convenience and enjoyment in order to provide an offering tailored to the expectations of each and every customer. Carrefour places customer satisfaction at the core of its business model.
Carrefour’s name is among the country’s largest investors and this is mostly due to the brand’s impressive contribution to the development of the Georgian economy and modern trade. Since its establishment the brand has brought a completely new, unbeatable trading experience to the country.
Carrefour brand food and non-food products and services fulfill the same criteria — a demand for quality and responsible products at a fair price. Carrefour’s ongoing efforts to support the growth and prosperity of communities they are part of is reflected through its contribution to the Georgian economy.
Before Carrefour came to Georgia there were few stores and especially hypermarkets. Carrefour’s entrance was a kind of “wake call” for local brands because we brought international experience to the country. Our employees have grown over the past ten years and offer their experience in the industry. We employ thousands of people in the country. As of today we have 4,500 direct employees, and 10,000 indirect employees. Every new store creates more jobs in the country.
We are raising the standard on the retail market of Georgia by meeting all international quality tests and standards. We even help some Georgian farmers involved in agro business to export food and vegetables, packed products, sometimes lamb, grapes, wine to other countries where Carrefour is operating.
Q. Golden Brand is given to the brands following the successful operations of the previous year. Please summarize the year 2022.
A. In 2022 Carrefour celebrated ten years in Georgia. During those years we gave our customers what they expected — high-quality products at affordable prices and fantastic promotions. It has become a tradition in Georgia to celebrate Carrefour’s anniversary by treating customers with special surprises to express gratitude for their trust and loyalty.
We have also expanded our presence in the country by opening many new stores.
In 2022, Carrefour implemented innovative marketing strategies using complex approach and innovative communication tools to establish deeper connections with its customer base and deliver a more personalized shopping experience.
Furthermore, Carrefour Georgia has implemented various charity projects throughout the year to support single mothers, kids with special needs, socially vulnerable families etc. with the aim of giving back to the community and making a positive impact on society. We have partnered with local and international organizations to ensure long-term sustainable projects for the communities we serve.
Q. What is the main reason behind Carrefour’s success in Georgia, in your opinion?
A. Carrefour's success in Georgia can be attributed to several factors, including its extensive product range, competitive pricing, convenient store locations, and strong brand recognition. Carrefour's ability to tailor its offerings to local consumer preferences and adapt to the Georgian market has also played a role in its success. Additionally, the company's investment in modern technology and customer-centered initiatives, such as loyalty programs, self-checkouts, etc., has helped it to stay ahead of the curve and meet the evolving needs of Georgian shoppers.
- Sunday, 28 May 2023
The residents of Georgian cities, including Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Rustavi, Zugdidi and now already Gori can enjoy quick and convenient access to their favorite restaurant, retail store or grocery shop, thanks to the Finnish- app Wolt. The Finnish tech company has been operating in Georgia since 2018, and is now expanding their business even further in the Georgian Market.
In the meantime, over 7,000 courier partners continue to deliver from the over 1,500 partner restaurants and 2,000 partner stores across five cities, - all in 30 minutes or less.
The company also plans to offer a wider assortment of products to its customers by increasing the number of partner merchants in the app.
In an interview with Golden Brand, General Manager of Wolt in Georgia, Sergi Margania, gave a status on the company’s operations in Georgia.
Q. Let’s start our conversation by talking about the company’s win of the Golden Brand award. In your opinion, what led Wolt to this recognition?
A. Any recognition of the work we do is great and something that we are proud of - and receiving the Golden Brand award is just that. For us this is primarily a reward from our customers, and we are very grateful for their recognition of what we do.
We can safely say that 2022 was a year of significant growth and progress for our company, which of course made an impression on experts and consumers in Georgia. Last year the number of our customers increased, together with the number of our partner merchants, which also increased significantly, and as a result our product assortment has become much more diverse ranging far beyond take-away delivery and more into retail and groceries.
We also entered the western city of Zugdidi, and we launched the Wolt+ subscription program that our customers have been waiting for and has been received really well.
Finally, last year we undertook some important projects not only for us but also 100+ stores and businesses in Georgia. First, I have to mention the launch of Wolt Drive. This is Wolt’s B2B service, through which any online merchant can offer delivery to customers within 30 minutes without being on the Wolt platform. Wolt Drive already helps hundreds of big and small online stores provide quick and convenient delivery which can be a very deciding factor for customers in today's world. Customers want fast delivery - and now we can help with that whether you are on the Wolt platform or not.
The second major project we launched last year is the creation of a Wolt service center that provides remote customer service for Wolt's other European markets. That means that brilliant young people right here in Georgia support customers in other markets such as Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Greece, with Germany soon to be added.
A final new addition in 2022 that I would also highlight is cooperation with Mastercard and the Bank of Georgia, which is important for us as well as for our customers. This cooperation allows us to offer our customers extraordinary incentive promotions throughout the year.
Wolt continues to grow and develop different business lines in our country. Everything is available on Wolt — take-away, delivery of groceries, personal care, auto services, pharmacy and much more. As the range grows, so does the number of our customers and their orders. We’ve seen this already as customers and orders almost doubled from 2021 to 2022. This is also thanks to the exclusive partnerships we have with popular restaurants and stores such as KFC, Paul, Ronny’s Pizza, Picasso, Gastronome, MetroMart, Zghapari, Tursa and many more which you can only get delivered through Wolt.
Q. How many orders are delivered in a day and at what time of day does Wolt get the most orders?
A. Thousands of orders are delivered every day, and this number is constantly increasing. Though previously it was mostly restaurant orders, today they order everything - pharmacy, groceries, auto parts, toys, and much more.
Now that you can order goods, we see high demand practically throughout the whole day. But the number of orders increases dramatically during lunch time and weekends and holidays are also quite busy, because Wolt always has promotions.
Q. Wolt faced a difficult challenge this year when hundreds of courier partners went on strike to demand a pay increase. Tell us about the company's attitude and response to this request and, in general, what is the company's policy towards its couriers?
A. First, let me clarify that this was a protest by a small group of partner couriers. We have more than 7000 couriers in Georgia, so while we listen to the criticism from this group, we also have to consider the feedback we get from the thousands of other couriers who have different views than this group. We've always expressed our willingness to engage in constructive talks if any of our partners are dissatisfied with the partnership, and our approach remains unchanged.
Q. The Georgia office was one of the first among Wolt’s 25 country offices to add delivery service from supermarkets. The Georgia office also occupies a top spot in the international office roster.
A. As I mentioned above, Wolt created a service center for other countries in Georgia. The company made this decision because our support service is one of the best and fastest in the world. Many of the young people who work with us are fluent in several foreign languages, among other skills, so the company saw a great potential for development in this direction. We can safely say that Georgia has become a talent pool for Wolt - and we’re quite proud of that.
- Sunday, 28 May 2023
After strengthening its position as Georgia’s leading outbound tour operator, Voyager 365 is now entering the inbound tourism market.
Starting in September 2023, those seeking an unforgettable experience in Georgia will enjoy a complete range of holiday and travel services created by the experienced and professional team of Voyager 365.
CEO of Voyager 365 Gvantsa Gotsiridze told us that the initial plan was to offer both inbound and outbound services to the travelers, but “first I wanted to make the company a leader in outbound tourism”.
“I believe that at the moment Voyager 365 is the market leader in outbound tourism and that's why we started to work on the inbound tourism project. Also, interest in Georgia has been increasing in recent years. After being a host country of the ITB Berlin tourism exhibition, interest in Georgia will increase. So I believe travel within Georgia will be in demand,” Gotsiridze said, adding that “the European tourist market is the most interesting to us.”
During three years of operations Voyager 365 has received two Golden Brand awards, the second one for successful activities in 2022.
Q. Please summarize 2022.
A. It was quite a successful year for Voyager 365. Georgia’s tourism sector has fully recovered from the pandemic. Demand in 2022 increased by 100% compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019.
In spite of very increased demand, we think we maintained a high quality service. The number of employees doubled and an increase is projected for this year as well.
Also, marketing activities carried out in 2022 played an important role in winning the favor of experts and customers. The second Golden Brand award is a double responsibility for us, and it should be emphasized that the victory in 2021 further strengthened our positions in the corporate segment.
Q. What are the latest offers from Voyager 365?
A. Voyager 365 has added a new tourist package that includes sports and entertainment activities, such as concerts by famous artists in different locations, and fully planned tours of sporting events.
Our company was the first in Georgia to plan a group tour for fans of Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, winger of Italian club Napoli at the Napoli-Roma football match. The group consisted of 45 people.
We had an Amsterdam tour which included a Beyonce concert. We will try to offer all current events to Georgian travelers.
We think that Voyager 365 is distinguished by its well-defined, niche destinations.
Q. Which destinations were most in-demand last year among Georgian travelers?
A. Paris is the top destination, followed by Portugal and Indonesia.
Q. What were Voyager’s CSR activities in 2022?
A. The events in Ukraine were quite sensitive for us, so we were involved in the subsidy process.
We also helped several families living in Georgia’s border villages.
Voyager 365 became the main sponsor of the football club Sfera.
In 2022 we mainly responded to the demands of society and spontaneously funded individuals in need.
Q. Does Voyager 365 participate in international tourism exhibitions?
A. Last year the company participated in the tourist exhibition BIT MILANO in Milan, IFTM Top Resa in Paris and Travel Turkey izmir 2022 in Izmir. In 2023, we have already taken part in the aforementioned exhibition in Milan and in the tourist exhibition of ITB Berlin, where Georgia was the host country.
The company's participation in various international exhibitions allows us to offer Georgian consumers a variety of interesting tourist products and to sign agreements with new partners who will provide reliable, high-quality services to Georgian vacationers.
Q. What is the competitive advantage of Voyager 365?
A. There is high competition on the market, and our advantage is high quality of service, and of course new and exciting destinations.
The main strength of our company is a high sense of responsibility and credibility, reflected in the fact that the company takes full responsibility for services provided from the beginning of the trip to its end. Tour managers are in contact with our tourists 24 hours a day and provide all additional services remotely upon request.
All of the above, the love of the work among our team, and commitment to the idea of creating a positive impression in the Georgian market, constitute the advantage of Voyager 365. I would also like to thank our customers for their trust and loyalty!Read more