Interview with the Marketing Manager of Veemo.ma – Rezki El Mokaddam – Episode #34
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Interview with the Marketing Manager of Veemo.ma – Rezki El Mokaddam – Episode #34


Welcome to episode 34 of the Business
in Morocco podcast I’m here with the marketing manager of Veemo Rezki El Mokaddam Welcome to the podcast Rezki, please tell us a little bit about yourself and where you grew up and what your education was like. Hello
Ryan thank you for having me I’m Rezki, I’m 29 years of age I come
from a small city in the northern region of Morocco Nador to be precise
and this is actually just my third year here in Casablanca so after high school
I took some I got enrolled in online school specializing in internet marketing
which gave me this unfair advantage of practicing what I always learn on day
to day basis so I was working and learning at the same time after that I have created
my own company it was a communications company Leopa media I closed it down a
couple years later and I started working as a marketing consultant for various
companies as soon as I got here in Casablanca I joined the startup named
Fenda, it’s a search engine for products and offers in Morocco then
a consulting agency and now I am the marketing manager of Veemo.ma
When did you start studying English okay so I have never formally started English
the English that I speak right now is completely self-taught, so I’ve been
fascinated by this language since I was really really young and I never stopped
watching all the series and movies in English so I can just get used to
hearing the language and differentiating all the accents and all the words in
English I also we are online gaming played a huge role in learning so I was
practicing the English that I acquired with so many players around the globe
and I also got to practice it with all the clients that I had since I was
working mainly with English speaking people from english-speaking countries
this is how I learned it that’s great that’s a that’s an encouragement to our
listeners I’m sure who are in the process of learning English can you
share some resources they use besides the the gaming was there anything
specific or that you found to be helpful learning English? It actually depends on each and everyone’s preferences I mean my learning style cannot be the same as
anyone elses so when it comes to resources I believe there are plenty
resources online can just go to Youtube and just start learning languages I just
speak many languages myself I’m quite convinced to that the best way to learn
a language is actually to practice it, so my advice to people wanting to learn
English or any other language is to practice I think that’s great advice and
I share that sentiment let’s talk a little bit about Veemo, can you give
us some of the background of the company talk to us about when it was
founded it’s located here in Morocco obviously but talk to us a little about
what the company is what value does it offer and what customers is it trying to
reach okay so Veemo is a brand belonging
to Rising Hightech which is the company that has the Vemmo brand and a couple of
other tech businesses Veemo is a marketplace it’s 100 percent
Moroccan marketplace we are just getting started, we did our first soft launch
in April and yeah the official like the company dates back to less than a year
of its of its actual creation now we do have a marketplace we have a payment
solution we are now partnering up with a major bank to release a wallet
a mobile wallet and they are going to help us with the payment terminal and
the payment solution we have so let’s just say that we are trying to get into
all the e-commerce and FinTech industries here in Morocco and this drops them in
power only. So if I go to the Veemo.ma what am I going to see what am I going
to be able to buy? For the moment when you go to the website you can browse all
the different categories and products that we have only say different
categories we have about 15 global categories and over 20,000 products
coming from 500 sellers across the whole country you can find anything to your
liking I mean you can find sports goods fashion technology equipment smartphones we have quite varied offering in the marketplace itself. So you aren’t
actually selling any products yourself you’re allowing other vendors to have a
virtual store on your platform and sell their products through Veemo.ma, is that right? That is indeed correct so we do give the opportunity to
people who cannot create a website online and cannot actually afford
creating it by giving them an access to the online world to the online world by
referencing all of their products on the website and we take a cut of their
earnings so do not make money until one of our partners does okay that’s great
what kinds of products have you seen to be the most popular on the website in
terms of the most often ordered items? First of all I would say fashion, fashion
it’s being ordered a lot really really close to that are mobile phones
these are the top two categories makeup as well is getting a lot of
traction traction these days yeah then these are the top three categories but
that that does not mean that other categories do not have as much of an
impact in online sales in Morocco so let’s say for example that I order a
pair of jeans on Veemo and they arrive at my house and I try them on that don’t fit
what happens then? You can simply return them no questions asked
first of all we are obligated by the law to give you a seven-day retraction
delay so you have seven days to send over the product and you will be
reimbursed for it in full we also have a 15 day policy if you ever
change your mind about a product you can return it as well so yeah that’s great. Walk me through a little bit of the the ordering process and the supply chain
and logistics process if I’m on Veemo.ma and I press buy and I
get my email confirmation I’m buying what happens then? We receive your order
and the seller receives it as well what happens next is that you’re going to
receive a call from our call center to verify the order with you and to confirm
it then we call the seller to have the to make sure that he didn’t receive the
email notification and that your product is ready to be shipped one of our
delivery one of our delivery colleagues work is going to get the product from
the seller and deliver it to your door steps whether we were in Casablanca or
wherever you are in the whole country and for that we partnered up with many
logistics companies that pick up the products from the sellers and deliver it
to your door. In terms of growing the number of people but know about Veemo and that use it what is your customer acquisition strategy in the sense that
you’re the marketing manager so you’re in charge of promoting the brands and
promoting awareness and encouraging new users and new customers to
come to the platform what what is your strategy look like? For the moment we are
still experimenting with all the marketing strategies and all the
customer acquisition strategies our current strategy is to rely on organic
channels such as SEO word of mouth or even podcasts? Podcasts for instance in
the same time we are experimenting with different marketing campaigns and having
this growth hacking mindset of mine actually helps me in splitting the
budget on multiple campaigns I would say tens of campaigns in a week and test to
see which campaign performs better according to our KPIs and our main
metrics I would say that we are still in in the experiment and in testing stage but from the experience that I had until now and to just share a
piece of information obviously the organic channel does convert a lot a lot
more than paid channels yeah this is what we are actually taking in right now.
So for our listeners who may not know what a paid channel is or an organic
channel when you talk about paid channels you’re talking about things like
Facebook, Instagram, Google Ads, so in your experience those channels have not been
very effective could you expand a little bit? It’s not exactly that but I’m
talking about the conversion rate of each channel obviously the organic
conversion channel converts better they have a better conversion rates than the paid channels which is
quite obvious because the intention because there is an actual intention of
buying something online you go Google it you’re going to click the first organic
link that pops up if the product is to your liking you can just add it to your
cart and just order it later but when it comes to paid channels I am not saying
they are not effective I am not saying they are not converting but they do
convert less because you get bombarded with all the ads that you see every day
so we will just have to follow your intention to buy rather than just give
you all the ads and spam in your newsfeed or your mailbox with all the
ads as there you can see so when it comes to Veemo and we come in and we’re
talking about organic traffic what types of strategies are you using to make sure
that Veemo ranks high for certain keywords and what are those keywords that you
want to rank for? My personal approach is to bet on longtail keywords rather than
short keywords I mean if a keyword can get can get as many as much as a
thousand visits per month for instance try to find longtail keywords with fewer
traffic but combining all these keywords together you’ll end up receiving as much
traffic as a highly competitive short keyword this is one strategy to look at
and the SEO, the search engine strategies that we at Veemo use
vary from blog posting from back linking strategies to get
backing from from from reputed sources and yet to bet on on longtail keywords I
mean always take the world less traveled by you’ll end up with high results that
way in terms of the products that are available on Veemo can you talk a
little bit about the mixture of their source meaning what percentage of
products available on Veemo are sourced from Morocco and what percentage are
sourced from abroad? For the moment at 100% local when I say local, it’s Morocco we have sellers here in Casablanca and Rabat and in different cities across the kingdom but we are working on a partnership with one of the major
retailers in Europe and especially Spain and we are actually going to give them
the opportunity to sell their products in Morocco through Veemo we are in
negotiations with a Chinese company as well and we might have something new for
all of our customers later this year. Who is the competition and in your opinion
how are you going to differentiate yourself from the other e-commerce
platforms that are out there? Well generally speaking and in order for any
entrepreneur or any company to differentiate itself from
the competition there’s quality so their service needs to be of quality, they
need to assess all the details that the other competitor may have missed in our
case our major competitor for obvious reasons is Jumia and there is another
major player in the Middle East that is going to join the market as well so the
competition is going to be a bit tougher how do we differentiate ourselves from
all the competition let’s just say that we do have better logistics we have good
prices great products and we’re trying to disrupt each and every step of the
customer journey follow we’re focusing right now in the online user experience
to have it to end up with what we hope to be the best user experience here in
Morocco and we’re going to tackle that one thing at a time? When it comes to
this technology to the websites and the platform how was that built the software
the front end in the back end was that sourced locally here Morocco or was the
development of the platform outsourced to some other country? As I stated in my
introduction we are a 100 percent Moroccan e-commerce company so everything including the development is made here locally in Morocco we developed platform
we did get a license, we did purchase a license of one of a major content
management system and we reworked it from the ground up it has nothing like the
actual version we have now has is completely different from the
original version that we have purchased the mobile apps were developed from
scratch iOS and Android and everything that is
in between so yeah all the development is done here in Morocco and to be more
specific in Casablanca. That means you did some recruiting here Morocco can you
talk a little bit about the process of searching for candidates searching for
employees finding qualified candidates and talk a little bit about that process
and what Veemo, the type of person Veemo is looking for to be a part of their
company? When it comes to recruitment I believe that we are quite different from
the other startups and companies at least the ones that I have to worked for
or the ones that I personally know since we do not take this traditional approach
in recruiting talent like we do not have anything to post online on LinkedIn for
instance or on the classifieds websites etc what we did what we always do for
recruitment is that we post we post about it in our blog, we sponsor it and we
have the the candidate take a form, they are going to fill it up, the form has
many questions regarding their experience etc it is notable to say that
we do not focus on education as as much as we focus on experience and the added value
that this particular person is going to bring us. When it comes to the requirements of the
company the types of positions that need to be filled have you found that there is
an adequate number of candidates qualified candidates out there are there
certain types of jobs that are harder to fill than others? Morocco is filled with
talent let me say that we’ve never had any issue in recruiting talent here I
mean is it you just needed to find the right person and pay what they deserve
obviously let me just focus on the development side for instance we have
great developers here in Morocco when I say great a little early I mean it and
they are and they invoice their services and a fraction of the price of what it’s
being invoiced in Europe and overseas so you get the best quality of what you are
wishing to have for a fraction of the price and this is one of the many
advantages of having your business here in Morocco This episode is brought to you
by London Academy. London Academy Casablanca is a trilingual smart school
that provides an enhanced education through the Moroccan and international
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advanced information technology, sports, critical thinking, together with the
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Academy says we are the future and these aren’t just words painted on a wall.
I’ve seen their students learning to program building robots developing
problem-solving skills there’s a definite focus on IT and
preparing students to succeed in the information age. London Academy the first
smart school in Morocco where learning is serious fun. Now back to the show We talk about the future of e-commerce here Morocco what do you think it’s
going to look like because still a very large percentage of payments are done in
cash in this economy, technology has not been fully adopted for example my
experience with a lot of delivery drivers here in Casablanca is that they
they don’t have smartphones and so when you talk about that last half kilometer
of the delivery process sometimes it can be quite painful because they don’t on
gps and they don’t have Google Maps and they have a hard time finding my house
so when you look at the future of e-commerce what are you seeing what are
the trends? In short it’s going to be great it’s going to be big it’s going to
be huge literally why because more and more people tend to get stuff they want
online rather than visiting an actual store to get it from there. This is quite
understandable especially when when all the deciding factors for buying a
certain products are in line such as the product quality the price the delivery
terms etc but on the other hand there are some companies and some individuals
who do not respect everything that needs to be put in place before actually
starting to sell something online I mean you could buy something you could buy a
let’s say Nike sneakers thinking that it’s an original one but finding out
that it’s a fake one only after receiving it I personally receive a
lot of complaints from our customers before they even buy there are they they
need to make sure that the product they are buying is indeed an authentic
product so I get asked this question all the time is this product authentic and
when I have one whenever I ask but what are the backgrounds of this particular
question they just go and say that they have been scammed in the past
buying a original product and paying it’s full price my advice to everyone who
wants to get into e-commerce you need to have a product of quality, I’m
talking about product I am indeed talking about the final product that you
are going to deliver to the customer and your business as a whole as a product
itself it needs to be very well studied it needs to be tested and approved etc
before you go to market and advertise for your product. So knowing that that
the products on Veemo are sold by 500 subcontractors so to speak meaning
partners partners yeah 500 partners and they all had they all have their own
levels of inventory and their own sources of products how does Vemmo make sure that everything that’s being sold on the site is legitimate is real? First
of all we need to take a personal physical look, take a sample of our partners’ product if they do not go with our terms and our chart we end up declining the
application also do our own quality check before sending that product to the
final customer and the customer himself as I have stated earlier it does have a
period of time in which he can send back the product and be reimbursed for it we
want to have a win-win sort of relationship between our partners and
our clients where everyone is happy and yeah this is the key to business
development. And so if I order something on Veemo, how long am I going to have to wait on average to receive my package? If you’re
within Casablanca it’s not gonna take you more than two days at the most if
you’re outside it’s less than five days so in less than a week in less than a
week and again that’s great. What would you say the biggest challenge is in this
business in this industry? What’s the thing that keeps
everyone up at night what worries you about the business? Many many things
since we’re talking about partners finding reliable partners that’s one
challenged traction is a major challenge as well I would say those are the two
most challenges everyone is faced with here Morocco
especially that now rules and regulations for creating your own
company as an entrepreneur are becoming easier year after year but there is
still indeed some time to improve in that aspect. For our listeners, can you talk to them about the process of applying to be a partner at Vemmo what does that look
like? You do have the choice either contacting us online there is a form
that you will need to fill up we’re going to receive it and call you back in
less than 24 hours you can get in touch with one of our business developers who
is going to assist you in creating your own account with us or you can just call
us and we can help you and walk you through it. And what should I do in preparation meaning what are you looking for in a
good partner in terms of quantity of items variety of items quality and the
different categories in your mind what is a good partner look like? A good
partner is someone who has enough stock enough quantities of that of that all of
those products a good partners should be someone who is specialized in a certain
category or niche meaning that this person is already knowledgeable of that
industry or that category of products or something I mean I wouldn’t go selling
makeup today and decided that I’m going to sell dishwashers the next day I need
to pick myself a specialization a good partner is someone who is reactive and always tends to improve their store
in Veemo and yeah those are basically the qualities of a good partner. So each
partner has their own branded store or if I’m on do I know which partner I’m
buying from? In Veemo you get 100 percent transparency you can see the
logo and the name of that particular store, this means that aside from giving you
the opportunity to sell you products online
you also get visibility and all of our clients whenever they click on a product
they will see your logo on your name on the right hand of the same page. When it
comes to commission structure can you give the audience an idea what does that look
like are you taking 25 percent of the sale or 10 percent or 50 percent does it
vary by item what does that look like it? It actually varies by category and it’s
much much less less than 25 percent I mean in most cases we take 10 percent so
yeah it actually depends on the category because we cannot for instance we cannot
get more than that say 3 or 5 percent on electronics because the margin and
electronics is itself quite quite little so we’re not going to take any profit
from our partners pocket that he has been working for we try to keep our
commissions as fair and as as convenient as possible and who pays for
shipment? The customer pays for shipment the shipping that the customer pays for
covers everything from picking up from sending out our own courrier, to the
partner packing up the merchandise, sending it to their home so and the
prices are quite fair comparing to the market. Alright let’s transition a little bit and talk about another initiative here
at Veemo called Veemo Pay, for our listeners who can’t see I’m holding in
my hands a device which looks very much like a credit card processing machine
tell us a little bit more about this initiative it looks more like a
smartphone don’t you think? No you’re right it does
it does look like a smart phone, there is a touch screen and a slot for sliding a
credit card and it looks like a receipt printer as well yeah that is indeed so
the device that you’re holding right now called Veemo Pay, it’s a payment solution
for companies to accept credit card payment and contactless payment mobile
payments as well by scanning a QR code there so the principle is that we wanted
to create we wanted to actually offer to business owners, a more convenient and easy way to take cash online and we created this product that also
aside from the payment capabilities it is equipped with Bluetooth with 4G with
GPS we are also going to equip our delivery personnel with the same device
to accept credit card payment and mobile payment and especially to follow them
through their journey from picking up the
product that you have ordered until you are receiving it since it is equipped with
GPS you can see the delivery guy moving throughout the map until he
reaches your house so done with all your problems that you were facing before. So
this is also a solution that will help delivery drivers exactly not only taking
credit card payments and other forms of payment but it actually enables
them to position on a map so it can say their exact location where they are and
just guide them if they ever need to and the driver
themselves are going to see the end location where the product needs to be
delivered. So I’m a small business owner and I have clients that I give
invoices to every month I bill them every month is this something that I can
use with my customers? Yeah you can use it for any form of taking payment I mean
even if it if it’s a recurring or a one-time payment you can use it for all
forms of payment. What do I need as a business in order to set up my business
with with Vemmo Pay? Your willingness to take credit card payments and the new
payment forms there are there are now existing there isn’t much needed from
you aside from your Registre Commerce and bank account? you do not even in fact need a bank
account because we can supply you with one of our debit cards that are
rechargeable for up to 25,000 Dirhams, so it’s either that or an existing bank
account. And if I charge a customer 100 Dirhams how many Dirhams are going to be deposited in my account? We take a percentage on each and every transaction
it depends and it varies depending on your, on the industry you’re operating
in I mean retailers, I mean snacks do not get charged as
much as retailers for instance. Fashion is not does not have the same percentage
as a restaurant or as a simple retailer or as a how we say Morocco
Hanoot for instance because even if you have a small shop you can use
this device to capture payment and what I can say is that the percentage is
actually the lowest on the market right now so we’re quite competitive when it
comes to percentages is there a minimum charge meaning if I have a Hanoot, and I
sell a candy bar for 10 Dirhams or 5 Dirhams is there a minimum transaction?
There isn’t we take a percentage of yourself that we do not have any fixed
fee plus a percentage so yeah it’s a percentage basis only and the other
costs to anticipate is acquiring the device itself we’re working on the
pricing right now too bring anything lower or to give you the
opportunity to split those payments on monthly payments to acquire the
device obviously or even to rent it so let’s just say that you need it on that
you only need it for a couple of months you can have it for a couple months and
just return when you finish working. So today what what is the device cost? For
the moment it costs about three thousand five hundred Dirhams we’re trying to
bring that low that cost down to one thousand five hundred and eventually try
our best to give it up free if we ever manage to. Is it on the market right now
is it in use or is it still in development? We do have a couple of them deployed and development is a never-ending process and we are
adding features and capabilities day by day the beauty of it is that there are
going to be new improvements and new capabilities delivered to you every once
in a while because it updates itself throughout the cloud and you do not need
to actually relocate to get to the latest features. It sounds like a great
solution something that small business owners can use or even auto
entrepreneurs who are involved in sales or services so it sounds
like a great solution I’m excited to see the future of this maybe maybe I’ll use
it myself. Why not? Well thank you Rezki for your time thank you for introducing
us to Veemo and explaining to our audience the exciting opportunities and the
future e-commerce here Morocco we appreciate your time. The pleasure is all mine Ryan and thank you once again for having me, best of luck to Business in Morocco Podcast, thank you. You’ve been listening to the
Business in Morocco podcast my name is Ryan Kirk here with my co-host Ryan
Maimone, if you enjoyed this episode be sure to subscribe and leave us a 5-star
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in Morocco we’ll see you next time

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