With the goal of giving subscribers the latest technology in the “easiest, most pleasant and time-saving” manner possible, Georgian telecommunications company Cellfie Mobile is improving its network and introducing new digital products.
“We are already a market leader with our digital and internet offerings. 95% of our subscribers are internet users, compared to 60% to 80% of our competitors. The main thing we are going to improve is the network, both geographically and qualitatively. The demand for internet and digital services is growing so much that all improved channels are instantly absorbed by increased consumption. The first orders have already been placed with suppliers, so our customers should begin to feel the improvement by the end of this year,” Sopo Balavadze, Head of Public Relations at Cellfie Mobile, said.
Cellfie Mobile offers everything customers need in one place: the ability to communicate and share information, learn and develop personally, travel, be creative, have fun, and work.
Today Cellfie Mobile serves more than 1.3 million customers.
Cellfie has won its first Golden Brand award this year in the category of “favorite mobile provider”.
Golden Brand sat down with Balavadze to review the company’s operations in the country.
Q. What will Cellfie Mobile’s contribution to the market be and what new benefits will customers receive?
A. Our goal is to change and simplify people's lives by using modern technology. For example, each of us has dozens of bonus cards to accumulate points in various stores, pharmacies or other shopping networks. These cards are in some cases physical and need to be carried, sometimes digital but scattered across their own applications. In our updated app MyCellfie you can add all such cards at once, thus simplifying your daily routine.
Here is another example: do you want to exercise but can't go to the gym? Our fitness service will help you overcome this problem easily. Do you want to watch Khvicha Kvaratskhelia play? You don't need to look for a TV, you can instantly watch the match on any device through us.
In a word, we want to be with customers and make their everyday lives easier and more beautiful, and help create a better future. For example, in a little while our services will be able to help you learn a foreign language.
Q. What are some recent developments at the company?
A. Today's needs are significantly related to digitization, and require the development of an appropriate ecosystem on the part of the company. No company, no matter how big, can create hundreds and thousands of new digital products. In this world innovations happen every day and these innovations are spread across thousands of small and large companies. Of course, we also create important services and products ourselves, but we are not satisfied with this alone. We act as a platform for digital service providers to create national products, pave the way for startups, and provide access to 1.3 million customers again in order to make life easier for them.
Q. How would you assess the market in Georgia, how developed and ready is it to receive the innovative products that your company promises to customers?
A. As we mentioned before, our customers consume a lot of internet and digital products. The next step is the development of 5G technology. 5G offers virtually endless possibilities for the development of Internet speeds and cutting-edge digital services. This is a matter where the efforts of one company are not enough, because nowadays the number of devices that support 5G technologies in the country is very small. There is a balance to be found between licensing requirements and required investments and expected developments.
Q. Cellfie won the Golden Brand in the category of “favorite mobile internet provider”. How would you describe the brand’s abilities to provide best internet solutions to the customers
A. As you know, in the beginning, the function of mobile communication was actually only voice communication, then SMS was added to it, and later the internet. All three of these services still fit within standard telecommunications, but our company has moved beyond that, as alongside these standard services we help people with education and personal development (e.g. language learning apps), entertainment and cognition, in introducing a healthy lifestyle (fitness app) and, in making everyday life easier and more enjoyable. Today this is a digital reality, and talking only in terms of megabytes is already outdated. Of course, the level of coverage is important for the customer to receive quality service.
Autolpgas, a liquefied petroleum gas station network in Georgia, has been recognized as the most dynamic company in a survey by the most prestigious and influential business award ceremony, the Golden Brand.
Director of the company Nikoloz Khoperia shared his impressions of winning the company’s first Golden Brand award and reviewed the company’s operations in an interview.
Q. Autolpgas was named as the most dynamic and developed company. What led the company to this recognition, in your opinion?
A. We achieved this recognition through hard work and determination. When you are focused on getting things right, have good foresight and a team that works hard, it makes it easier for the company to succeed. Overall it is very difficult to introduce a new product to Georgia and have it become a favorite of Georgian customers. But we were able to do it, as we have since 2016.
Q. What do you mean by “new product”? Does this mean that liquefied petroleum gas was introduced to Georgia by your company in 2016? If so, why did you decide to bring this product to Georgia?
A. Until 2016, before we started converting cars over to liquefied gas, it was not used in Georgia for automobiles. It was used only for commercial and industrial purposes.
Regarding your question of why we decided to bring this kind of product to Georgia, as you know the majority of imported cars in Georgia are used. Thirty percent of these cars have already been converted to LPG in Europe, and so it was already happening.
We then dismantled these liquefied gas devices and threw them away, because there were no liquefied gas stations in Georgia. That is, Georgians paid the cost of this device when buying a car in Europe and then paid for its removal. We noticed this trend and decided to build liquid gas stations and the possibility of keeping these devices if the customers wanted and run the car on liquid gas, which is much more economical than other types of fuel.
Apart from this, tourists from other countries came in cars that ran on LPG, and they had no way to fill up in our country.
Q. How many liquid gas stations do you operate currently and do you plan to expand?
A. We have about twenty stations. The demand is high, but managing the stations is logistically very difficult. Liquefied gas is a specific product that can have natural losses. It needs a temperature regimen because it is very sensitive to temperature and is not an easy-to-operate product.
Q. On the company website we read that your business started in 2011 with Georgian Gas Import that was engaged in the import of Italian liquefied gas systems, and in 2016 you expanded operations with new stations under the name of Autolpgas. Please review this history for our readers/
A. Since 2011, we have been importing systems for converting cars from gasoline to natural gas and its components. We still import these from Italy. We cooperate with AB Electronics and are their only distributor in Georgia.
In 2014 the price of natural gas and gasoline almost equaled, as the price of oil fell and the price of gasoline went down. But the price of natural gas did not decrease. Back then, approximately 350,000 vehicles were registered as running on natural gas in Georgia. Since the price of natural gas did not decrease, people stopped pumping natural gas and started using gasoline again.
Until 2016 service centers converting from gasoline to gas were out of business, because new devices were no longer being installed. When we started converting cars to LPG, it was very unusual for the market at the time because there was no product awareness and no trust. Liquid gas and natural gas transfer devices overlap. So we offered liquefied gas, which was much cheaper than natural gas and gasoline.
Georgian Gas Import imports gas conversion devices, which we import from Italy, while Autolpgas is a network of filling stations, where customers can fill their cars with liquid gas imported from Russia.
Q. You said that before 2016 LPG was not used in cars in Georgia. What is the situation today since you introduced this product?
A. Many have started the same business. Now there are many companies operating in the same direction and the competition is quite high, which we welcome of course. Our company has a considerable market share and we can say it is the market leader. However, we welcome the fact that many companies are entering this field. The more service stations there are in Georgia, the more convenient it will be for the customers.
Q. What is the reason for high demand in your opinion - the low price of LPG or its almost harmless effects on the environment or human health as a low-carbon fossil fuel?
A. Unfortunately, not many people care about the environment in Georgia. Eco-friendliness is a determining factor in Europe, but in Georgia they choose liquefied gas because of the lower price. LPG is 50% cheaper than gasoline and is also a good product for the car. This is its advantage over gasoline.
To compare, last year 1,300,000 tons of gasoline and diesel were imported to Georgia, while the import of liquified petroleum gas reached 50,000 tons, which is about 4% of the fuel imported.
Q. I guess your competitors also import LPG from Russia, so what makes your company stand out?
A. High quality of product and service is what makes us stand out on the market. There is a difference in everything, you know that. Any product has a qualitative difference. We can confidently say that we offer our customers a quality product.
Q. As you import LPG from Russia, what challenges do the international sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine create for your company?
A. Sanctions create quite a lot of problems for us, but not in terms of the product, because liquefied gas is not sanctioned either in the world or in Georgia. Nothing comes into Georgia from the side of the sanctioned companies. If the product is not sanctioned, then it is allowed on the Georgian market. We face problems in financial operations, but we ensure uninterrupted product supplies in our market. Our customers will not feel these obstacles directly.
Q. What are the challenges you face in our country?
A. We hope that our government will fulfill its obligations under the Association Agreement signed with the European Union and lower the excise tax on LPG, which will make the product even cheaper for the customers. If we look at the percentage calculations, the excise tax on eco-friendly fuel should be four times less than on gasoline. Now, unfortunately, Georgia is the only country in the world where the excise tax on both types of fuel is almost the same. We hope this will be changed soon.
Betek Establishing Robust Distribution Network to Ensure Wide Availability of Its Products in GeorgiaWritten by Super User
Turkish company Betek is continuing to increase its brand awareness in Georgia by keeping marketing investments active, planning to establish a “robust” distribution network and “push our limits with confidence and dedication” this year, Kerem Yelsal, Export Marketing Manager, told Golden Brand.
“Our distribution network will continue to be our muscle by establishing a robust distribution network to ensure wide availability of our products across Georgia and involving partnerships with our local distributors to effectively reach customers in different regions”, he said, adding that “we also aim to increase our investment in marketing and advertising efforts to raise brand awareness and create a positive perception of the company and its products among Georgian consumers.”
Betek has two brands in Georgia, paint manufacturer Betek and cement-based tile and ceramic adhesive brand Betek Fayfiks. Betek has been in Georgia since 1995, and Betek Fayfiks since 2005.
Both brands have won Georgia’s prestigious and influential business award, the Golden Brand. Golden Brand interviewed Yelsal to find out the company’s plans for the Georgian market.
Q. In general, what would you say about the Georgian market, how healthy is the competition here and how fast is the Georgian market growing?
A. In terms of the speed of growth in the Georgian market, the construction industry is expected to experience a steady growth rate in the coming years.
As a Betek company, we are planning to increase our investments and push our limits with confidence and dedication in 2023. Additionally, the Georgian government has taken several measures to promote foreign investment in the country. We believe that this support further encourages the growth of the industry.
We will continue conducting thorough market research to understand the dynamics, trends, and demands of the Georgian market, including analyzing customer preferences, competitor analysis, and potential growth areas.
Q. How favorable is the business environment in Georgia in your opinion?
A. There are some critical points that highlight favorable aspects for businesses operating in Georgia. Georgia's geographical position as a bridge between Europe and Asia presents opportunities for businesses involved in logistics, transportation and trade.
Georgia has entered into free trade agreements, for example with Türkiye, which provide businesses with access to diverse markets and potential trade benefits.
These reforms include streamlining business registration processes, tax burden reduction, and strong property rights. We believe that these reforms have a healthy effect on our business.
Q. Georgian customers have named Betek their favorite brand in Georgia. What brought Betek this recognition?
A. Since we got here, we have steadily increased our activities in line with the country's dynamics. Through studies on product portfolio, market demands, nationwide availability, and service quality, we have established Betek in its current position.
Furthermore, we recently opened a new powder group – Fayfiks factory for our distributor, supported by Betek, in Tbilisi. With a spacious production floor and advanced quality control systems, the factory ensures that we maintain the highest standards of product excellence. Its strategic location in Tbilisi provides convenient access to transportation networks, enabling us to streamline distribution and reach our customers in a timely manner. This significant investment not only demonstrates our commitment to supporting our distributor's success but also reinforces our position as a leading provider of quality powder group products in the region.
In addition to these efforts, we have consistently invested in marketing activities to raise brand awareness in Georgia over the years. Our primary goal has always been to create a perception of quality among consumers when it comes to Betek, and we have achieved this through our continuous efforts.
Q. Golden Brand is given to the brands following the successful operations of the previous year. Please summarize 2022.
A. Despite the challenges of rising global political tension and tightening financial markets, we have built on our growth momentum and continued to invest in Betek. We have increased our communication excellence with our consumers in Georgia. Additionally, we believe that we have successfully met consumer expectations to the highest level through various sales campaigns throughout the year.
Q. How have Betek sales increased in Georgia over the past year?
A. We achieved remarkable success in our sales performance last year. Through strategic marketing initiatives, strong customer relationships, and innovative product offerings, we exceeded the sales targets, demonstrating impressive growth in our revenue. Our ability to adapt to changing market conditions, deliver value to their customers, and execute effective sales strategies contributed to our outstanding sales results and reaffirmed our position in industry.
Q. What are your expectations for 2023?
A. In 2022, we launched some new innovative products which feature advanced technology. Thanks to this, we increased our market share against competitors and built our brand awareness successfully. We have high expectations for our brand in 2023.
We are also closely monitoring changes in consumer habits and improving our new and advanced technology product line thanks to our strong R&D background. Our aim is to inspire end consumers and lead the market by meeting their evolving needs and preferences.
Q. Please tell us what makes Betek unique and why Georgian customers prefer it?
A. Since its start, Betek has been providing products that are known for their exceptional durability. Our production processes adhere to high standards, as evidenced by various certifications, making us a reliable choice. In addition, our wide product availability, reliable after-sales service, and competitive pricing are key factors that set Betek apart from its competitors, and keep us one step ahead in the market.
Georgia’s leading company in cargo transport throughout Georgia and CIS countries, Gianti Logistics, is celebrating eighteen years of operations in the country.
The company already has offices in Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Estonia, with the head office located in Tbilisi. Other offices in the country are located in Poti and Batumi.
“The success of the company is the success of the team! We are proud of our work and our team and we make it happen, no matter what”, General Manager of Gianti Logistics, Giorgi Makhatadze, said.
Gianti Logistics has been in Georgia since 2005, transporting all types of cargo – gauge, bulk, container load, full truck-load, less than-truckload, heavy, oversized hauling and rigging, specialized equipment, etc.
The company has participated in major regional projects, including the construction of the South Caucasus pipeline, the Shah Deniz project, and SOCAR Azerikimya.
Among these large projects was the delivery of a 640-ton tree from Buknari to Shekvetili and a cafe-restaurant in Anaklia, which is located at the mouth of the Enguri river, where the river meets the Black Sea.
Their fleet includes 100 vehicles of Euro 5 and Euro 6 standards, which are maintained in the company's own service center Gianti Motors.
With their own fleet the company transfers cargo to the South Caucasus, Central Asia and CIS countries, and carries out international transfers to any location in the world.
Golden Brand spoke with Makhatadze about the company and summarized its successful activities of 2022 that led the company to win another Golden Brand award in the category “favorite logistics and transport company”.
Q. Congratulations on winning the Golden Brand! Please tell us what the main success was that made an impression on the experts of the Golden Brand awards and the customers who participated in the survey.
A. It is probably due to the fact that our organization is multidisciplinary and does not have a single specific framework.
However, our team treats all areas with the same professionalism and responsibility.
We undertook a number of impressive and successful projects in 2022. Gianti Logistics shipped seven transformers and accessories: four units of 135 tons and three pieces of 91 tons. We received cargo in Poti and transported it to the town of Tskaltubo in the Imereti region. We placed transformers onto a foundation with the help of hydraulic jacking/sliding systems and turntables.
Q. What are your impressions of the first half of 2023?
A. Successful operations have continued this year as well. Recently Gianti has just finished an interesting transportation project for the oil industry, which included receiving two vessels loaded with heavy equipment and further transportation till final destination.
The longest unit was 47 meters and the heaviest 206 tons.
Starting with preparation of local permits, including mobilization of special hydraulic modular trailers and road construction/modification works all was carried out with our own resources.
Q. Last year Gianti Logistics rejoined the world's largest and most powerful network of independent freight forwarders, WCA World. What will this membership bring to your company?
A. Partnership is important to us. That's why, after a short break, we rejoined the WCA World global network and became part of a great team. Being part of the world's largest and most powerful forwarding team means more confidence, more responsibility, more motivation, professionalism, experience, more logistic possibilities and business opportunities.
We believe that the search for new ways of development and catching up with innovations and latest news will determine the success of the company.
Q. Gianti Logistics’ fleet is equipped with Euro 6 standard trailers. What is the role of "green logistics" in your company’s operations?
A. Seventy percent of cargo in international logistics is transported by trailers. Although road transport is efficient, the emissions produced by the trailers increase the risks of harming the environment.
"Green logistics" means eco-friendly concepts. Its main component is Euro 6 standard trailers. These vehicles are only inferior to electric trailers in terms of eco-community.
Q. In what direction and by what methods of transport are loads predominantly transported?
A. We are capable of transporting all types of cargo, be it gauge, bulk, containered load, full-truck-load, or less-than-truckload, heavy, oversized hauling and rigging, specialized equipment. The diversity of our fleet (such as tilt, containerized and flatbed trailers; low loaders; multi axle hydraulic modular trailers, hydraulic jacks, sliding system and other special equipment for out of gauge/heavy lift cargo) allows us to cope with all types of challenges on land.
As for where we haul, mainly Transcaucasia, Central Asia and Turkey. Recently we have added two more routes – European destinations and rail freight from China.
Q. What kind of cargo is transported for the most part?
A. All types of cargo, except live cattle, but mostly food products and heavy machinery.
Q. How favorable is business in Georgia today?
A. The business environment in the country is good, but when it comes to establishing a transport corridor and hub, a lot of work needs to be done in different directions because we are not logistically ready for this status.
This includes road and warehousing infrastructure, which need to be improved.
Our ports are small and not ready for a large amount of cargo. The capacity of the Caspian Sea ports and the lack of Georgian railway carriages are also a problem.
Herbalife, a global expert in balanced nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, has won its second Golden Brand award in the category ‘balanced nutrition’ at the eighteenth edition of the Golden Brand.
Founded in 1980, Herbalife came to Georgia in 2011.
We caught up with Nina Kandelaki, Regional Vice President of Herbalife, to find out how the company will broaden Herbalife's presence in Georgia.
Q. Georgian consumers have named Herbalife their favorite brand again this year. What brought Herbalife this recognition, in your opinion?
A. It’s a big honor for our company to be chosen the best brand in the category ‘balanced nutrition’ for the second time in the Golden Brand award history. We’re glad that our products were so highly appreciated by experts and consumers in Georgia, a country where Herbalife business has been present for twelve years now.
Globally we offer more than 2,000 quality nutritional products including our flagship Formula 1 protein shake, and many of our products have received world and European awards. Herbalife is about helping people live their best lives and we are very demanding about the quality of our products. Herbalife has its own scientific team, which helped us gain knowledge and unique expertise in the market.
Q. What are some recent developments at Herbalife as a brand in Georgia? Please share the brand's progress in Georgia.
A. The important step in 2023 is that we’ve already introduced the new Herbalife logo. So, we can say that the company is changing even from the visual side, and we continue changing in different directions.
Since its founding in 1980, the company has see an evolution from nutrition company with a focus on weight loss products*. Herbalife is not just a company with quality science-backed products, it’s a unique community where people can learn principles of balanced nutrition and adopt a healthy lifestyle, and develop their leadership and financial potential.
A good example is that some Independent Members are running about 70,000 nutrition clubs around the world where their clients gather, drink protein shakes, cook recipes with Herbalife products, exercise together etc. In Georgia such clubs exist too, you can find them in eight Georgian cities.
Q. How many products does Herbalife offer in Georgia and what are some recently introduced or upcoming products?
A. We offer about 30 products in Georgia. We look at nutrition holistically, so we offer not just products but also ready-made solutions to address specific customer needs ranging from weight loss and right snacks to balanced breakfast. All in all, ten tailor-made product programs.
Moreover, we regularly monitor nutritional trends and improve the composition of products, so they are now more and more harmonious, enriched with vitamins and minerals. A good example on the Georgian market is our reformulated Herbal Tea*.
Q. What is the top selling Herbalife product in Georgia?
A. Formula 1 protein shake is our true leader. In Georgia it’s available in five flavors. Formula 1 is a complete meal replacement in a glass, which takes just two-three min to prepare, and it lays the foundation for the Herbalife balanced breakfast.
Q. Is Herbalife involved in charity or corporate social responsibility activities in Georgia?
A. To support our efforts in promoting a sustainable future, we are reducing our use of plastic, using more recycled materials, and decreasing the amount of packaging for Herbalife products. We also gather plastic for recycling in our Sales Center in Tbilisi.
As for local sustainability events, for example, last year Herbalife Independent Members took part in a tree planting event near the Tbilisi Sea territory. It was a very meaningful day that reunited people after two years of online work.
Q. Please tell us how Herbalife is going to expand its presence in Georgia.
A. In previous years we focused more on promoting balanced nutrition with Herbalife products, coupled with the role of our Independent Members as nutrition consultants. We will surely continue doing this, but in addition, we will be talking more about the benefits of doing business with Herbalife. Actually, we provide people with an opportunity to build their own business. When people join the Herbalife community, they join an established global community with a strong brand that provides support and advice, such as expert training, access to quality products, special events, mentorship from other Herbalife leaders, and much more.
We have more than 100 unique video stories on our YouTube channel featuring the success stories of Herbalife Independent Members in different markets. These are inspiring and touching stories of how one can change their life all over, realize themselves, become successful and bring more meaning and purpose to their life as well as to the lives of those around them.
Disclaimer: *All references to weight management relate to the Herbalife Nutrition Weight Management Programme which includes, among other things, a balanced diet, regular exercise, an adequate daily fluid intake, nutritional supplementation where required and appropriate rest; individual results will vary.
Disclaimer*: 102g pack
The baked bread circles of Maretti Bruschette in various exquisite flavor combinations have become the favorite crispy snack of Georgian customers. Over 2,000 customers and 100 experts named Maretti Bruschette as their favorite, helping the Italian brand win the Golden Brand award this year.
The tastes of Italy under the brand of Maretti are brought to Georgia by the local distribution company Orbita, which was established in 2004, but has been operating on the Georgian
market since 1998 under different names.
General Director of Orbita, Giorgi Davitadze, said that despite limited resources, the company was able to achieve success and is now one of the leading distribution companies in Georgia.
Thanks to cooperation with its partners and steady development, Orbita has become an exclusive distributor of the following popular brands — Morozova; Maretti Bruschette; My Motto; Byond; Malbi; Progum; Naturella; Viva; Olive line; Ryaba/Astoria; Tadim; and Gemo.
We are very glad to be appreciated and to have been given this award. I think it comes down to the fact that our company has contributed significantly to market development as we started importing a variety of products when there was a lack of such products on the market. Thus we developed this culture and the snacks category in Georgia,” Davitadze said of his brand winning the award.
Q. Could you tell us what the goals and core values of Orbita are?
A. Orbita has been offering the highest quality products in Georgia since the very day of its
establishment. The company’s strategy is to offer customers a new and expanding range of
Products and to
establish new relations with the world’s leading brands.
The company’s goal is professionalism and discipline in all areas, and to provide
a constant upgrade of staff qualifications. We believe that the company’s success is determined by our staff.
We try to select qualified employees who share our values, as they represent the most important capital of the company. Today the company employs more than 150 highly qualified people, recruited for different departments — everything from sales and admin to warehouse.
Our organization fully satisfies safety and environmental protection standards and norms. We
constantly work on developing our product portfolio and try to establish a better
business environment and provide more jobs.
Orbita realizes its responsibility in business relations with its partners by relying on the values of honesty, innovation, teamwork, responsibility, integrity, and professionalism.
What’s most important for us is our customers, and we truly believe that our success depends on the success of those who consume our products.
Q. Today the Georgian market is saturated with chips. How does Maretti Bruschette compete with them?
A. Maretti is the brand that brings you the taste of Italy in the form of bite-sized snacks. The secret to their irresistible Bruschette chips that are perfectly seasoned on one side lies in the original recipe — Italian traditions that have been passed down through generations with a modern twist.
Crispy and delicious oven baked bread circles made of carefully selected ingredients, offered in a variety of flavors, such as tomato, olives and oregano, sour cream and onion, Mediterranean vegetables, fine cheese selection, sweet basil pesto, mushrooms and cream, pizza, slow roasted garlic, salami pepperoni, spinach and cheese, sweet chilly, Mediterranean paprika and
Of these varieties we only import six flavors and among them tomatoes, oregano and olives are the most popular.
Demand for Maretti Bruschette products increases in Georgia year by year. For example, last year sales figures saw 95% increase compared to 2021. Our company also launched different promotional activities to make the brand more popular in Georgia, which resulted in increased sales volume as well as recognition from Golden Brand.
Q. How long has Maretti Bruschette been available on the Georgian market?
A. Maretti Bruschette has been available here since 2010. The first steps were quite difficult. The challenge was to convince customers how our brand differed from the types of crackers they were used to seeing, the price of which was at least twice cheaper than Maretti’s baked bread snacks.
Since 2019 the growth of sales has been doubling every year, which is due customer loyalty, the highest quality, and the right development strategy.
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.
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.
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!
Vitaferol, a premium quality, 100% pure and highly bioavailable vitamin D supplement available on the Georgian market since 2016, has won the Golden Brand award to become the top such supplement in the country.
Vitaferol is imported and distributed in Georgia by pharmaceutical company ArtPharma, which has been operating on the Georgian market since 2014 and has over 80 international brands in its portfolio.
In this interview with Golden Brand Lika Lobzhanidze, founder and director of ArtPharma, talked about the history and performance of the company in Georgia.
Q. Please tell us how ArtPharma has been developing on the Georgian market?
A. One of the main prerequisites for the creation of ArtPharma was to increase access to high-quality European medicines and food supplements in Georgia.
When I decided to establish a company, I wanted it to be an outstanding one, which would create a new niche and determine the quality standard.
Innovativeness, novelty, quality — these are the main values based on which ArtPharma was founded in 2014 and continues to operate to this day.
The focus of ArtPharma’s performance is on health and beauty.
One of the milestones in our initial success was the start of cooperation with Walmark, the leading and strongest international pharmaceutical company in Europe. With the help of our tireless work, today we have a lot of partners in Europe and America. Today our portfolio boasts over 80 brands.
Q. What was the first product that ArtPharma introduced to the Georgian market?
A. ArtPharma was the first company in Georgia to introduce nutricosmetics to the market and talk about the importance of taking care of one's health and beauty.
In 2015, we launched Viaderm, a very famous and globally in-demand brand of Walmark, which soon earned recognition in Georgia and gained the name of "Beauty Capsules". Viaderm is distinguished by its unique composition. It is a cosmetic in capsule form for healthy skin, hair and nails, and at the same time is an important food supplement for women's beauty and health. It contains furisula oil, zinc, copper and silicon. This combination is very rare, thanks to which Viaderm remains a unique product even after eight years. Viaderm is not only for improving external beauty, it is also good for metabolism, helping to regulate weight and having a positive effect on the activation of hormones in the female body, which they need to maintain their youth.
We play the role of mediator between the world's leading manufacturers and Georgian consumers, we create and establish a modern model of healthcare, we ensure that European, high-quality medicines and food supplements are available to all citizens throughout the country, which we achieve in cooperation with all pharmacy chains in Georgia.
Q. What is ArtPharma’s contribution to the development of the Georgian pharmaceutical market?
A. Our main task is to promote a culture of care for health among the population, so we introduce brands that will help them to prevent various diseases and make treatment easier. We are empowering the pharmaceutical industry with brands that bring benefit to society.
For example, in 2023 we introduced Viruprotect, a preventative oral spray against colds and viruses, which acts quite fast on seasonal colds. This Swedish brand, with 12 years of experience, is represented in more than 30 countries on three continents, and bringing it to Georgia was an important step for us.
As for the introduction of Vitaferol, now the Golden Brand winner from the Artpharma portfolio, we actively promoted this critical vitamin to raise awareness. For this purpose we’ve had the strong support of partnering physicians and KOL. Finally, it can be said that collectively we were the first to lay the foundation for awareness of vitamin D deficiency in society.
Since 2021, international companies such as STADA group have joined the list of our partners. Currently, we cooperate with ten large manufacturers and represent more than eighty name brands.
Q. Please share some future plans of the company.
A. Next year ArtPharma will celebrate its tenth anniversary in Georgia, and we plan to introduce couple of new projects. The negotiations are already underway. We think that by the end of 2024 we will significantly increase and diversify our portfolio. ArtPharma aims to become an international brand, so we are planning to open branches in neighboring countries in the nearest future.
Lela Sikharulidze, Marketing Manager of the pharmaceutical company ArtParma, continued the interview by sharing her thoughts on Vitaferol’s win at Golden Brand
LELA SIKHARULIDZE, Marketing Manager of the pharmaceutical company ArtParma
Q. Vitaferol has become Georgian customers’ favorite D vitamin supplement. How did the brand achieve this recognition in our country?
A. First of all, on behalf of the ArtPharma team, I would like to express my gratitude to the residents of our country, representatives of the medical field and industry experts, people who have been choosing Vitaferol as the most reliable vitamin D supplement for years.
This recognition is due to the European quality of Vitaferol, innovativeness, and the highest profile of effectiveness and safety. The ArtPharma team has also contributed to the prevention of vitamin D deficiency in Georgia while establishing international standards in the field.
Q. When was Vitaferol first introduced to the Georgian market?
A. Vitaferol was introduced to Georgia for the first time in December 2016 by the pharmaceutical company ArtPharma. In 2021, taking into account the high interest and activity of consumers, and on the basis of competitive market research, we introduced a new, innovative form of Vitaferol to Georgia — Vitaferol Mega D3, in the form of a new soft capsule. The new form of emulsified, pure vitamin D is gastro-resistant, which means that it is completely absorbed by the body very quickly and without loss.
Today Vitaferol is one of the most loved and in-demand vitamin D supplements in Georgia because of its reliability, safety and convenience — these are the qualities that connect consumers with the brand.
Q. What are other advantages of Vitaferol?
A. Other important advantages of Vitaferol is that our products are suitable for all members of a family, and considering that it is pure vitamin D without additives, it is recommended for long-term use.
Vitaferol Emulsion is the first European brand containing vitamin D in Georgia, offered by a certified dispenser, which allows accurate, individual determination of dose and protects from overdosing, which is especially important for infants.
To date, the Global Health Research Foundation has identified more than 1,000 chemical additives that pose serious health risks. Because vitamin D is recommended for long-term use, and harmful supplements have the ability to accumulate in the body, it is especially important to make sure there are no impurities in a vitamin D supplement.
Vitaferol is a brand containing 100% pure vitamin D, which does not contain sugar, gluten, flavorings or additives, making it safe for all demographics. Vitaferol is the only vitamin D supplement in Georgia recommended by the Neonatologists Association of Georgia.