Interview – Okov.me

Okov.me

The influence of information and communication technologies in the field of trade, through digital marketing and e-commerce, especially in the Covid and post-Covid period, has the intention of taking precedence over the traditional way of trade. What is your experience so far, both as a seller and as a buyer?

According to our experience, the webshop and the traditional store achieve a synergistic effect and, for now, are not in competition with each other. In the last decade, the purchasing decision-making process of the average customer has changed significantly. Before the popularization of the Internet, buyers physically visited all the suppliers, asked relatives and friends for advice, or absorbed recommendations from advertisements broadcast on the mass media. Today, that process is significantly shorter, because by using the Internet, information on the best offers is quickly obtained, and the advice of friends is slowly being replaced by the ratings and comments of other users on websites or social networks. In our case, the interest in certain products on the webshop is to the greatest extent spilled over to purchases in retail stores, and for customers inclined to purchase from a distance, we have provided fast delivery to the home address. The importance of the webshop was particularly evident in the period when there were restrictions on movement and economic activities caused by the COVID virus pandemic. Back then, a large number of people were forced to shop online, and we were ready to offer it to them.

Evaluate the impact of social networks on bringing the offer closer to end users?

Social networks provide the possibility of less formal, two-way communication with users. In this way, they develop warmer emotions towards the brand because they understand that it is not only made up of facilities, products and prices, but that behind it are people who convey the purpose of the company’s existence.

That is why we believe that companies should cautiously develop their presence on social networks and present their offer in an indirect way.

What prompted you to start selling online and are you satisfied with how the “new paradigm of money” works?

Realizing the changes in the way customers get information, in 2014 we published the first site where products from our range were presented, but without the possibility of online shopping. Users increasingly used Internet search engines as support in the purchasing process, and we then managed to position ourselves highly for the largest number of inquiries from our assortment. Given that we offer over 600 different product categories and that it is not easy to present them all to customers through traditional promotion channels, this project was of great importance for us. That is why we believe that the growth in the number of Internet users has greatly helped the development of traditional trade. Following signals from the market, in the middle of 2018 we decided to enable online shopping on our website, and with the help of partner companies, we delivered the ordered goods to customers’ home addresses.

What is your proposal for the improvement of e-commerce business, in the sense that end users are more interested in this type of purchase? How to animate them, what to offer them (tie up with a bank, offer special cards for trade, improve logistics for delivery…)?

We believe that the institutions should strengthen the control of all providers on the market in the area of ​​compliance with the Law on Consumer Protection, especially the provisions related to distance shopping. This will certainly lead to an increase in consumer confidence in this way of shopping.

The process of delivering goods could be improved by introducing parcel machines where couriers could leave parcels.

Do you have plans to expand your business outside the borders of our country?

Since 2019, our company has been operating on the Serbian market. We currently offer our range in two large sales centers in Belgrade and Čačak, and in the coming years we plan to expand the retail network in other cities in this market.

In parallel with the opening of the first sales center outside the territory of our country, Internet sales were launched, and the delivery of ordered goods, with the help of courier services, is carried out throughout the territory of Serbia.

Delivery time is very important for the customer. How do you provide logistics for order delivery? Do you have contracts with the post office, transport or courier service, or have you developed your own delivery unit?

We deliver the ordered goods in cooperation with the local courier service, which delivers within a short time to the entire territory of Montenegro. We are satisfied with the cooperation achieved and do not think about organizing the delivery on our own.

Do you offer any benefits for online shoppers, e.g. discount if shopping is done online?

We regularly approve promotional prices that are only valid for online orders. With this, we want to encourage those customers who are not inclined to this type of purchase.

Did you know?

Montenegro has the lowest population of all CEFTA markets.

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Legal disclaimer: This geographical map is for informational purposes only and does not constitute recognition of international boundaries or regions; GIZ makes no claims concerning the validity, accuracy or completeness of the maps nor assumes any liability resulting from the use of the information therein.

North Macedonia

Population 2072531
Population ages 16-64 1434451
Internet use 84%
Internet shoppers 40%
Currency Macedonian denar
GDP per capita, PPP 17015.23

Albania

Population 2837743
Population ages 16-64 1931355
Internet use 70% (2019)
Internet shoppers 10% (2019)
Currency Albanian lek
GDP per capita, PPP 13899.93

Serbia

Population 6908224
Population ages 16-64 4530026
Internet use 79%
Internet shoppers 48%
Currency Serbian dinar
GDP per capita, PPP 19366.76

Kosovo

Population 1775378
Population ages 16-64 /
Internet use 97%
Internet shoppers 47%
Currency European euro
GDP per capita, PPP 11383.4

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Population 3280815
Population ages 16-64 2216576
Internet use 74%
Internet shoppers 38%
Currency Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark
GDP per capita, PPP 15732.84

Moldova

Population 2620495
Population ages 16-64 1876763
Internet use 76%
Internet shoppers 34%
Currency Moldovan leu
GDP per capita, PPP 12995.56

Montenegro

Population 621306
Population ages 16-64 411215
Internet use 79%
Internet shoppers 29%
Currency European euro
GDP per capita, PPP 20542.71

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* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

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