YouTrip CEO On Pivot To E-Commerce

Covid-19 has affected businesses in different industries, although the travel industry is undoubtedly one of the hardest hit.

Singapore’s first multi-currency mobile wallet, YouTrip, was a huge hit with users for its “Truly No Fee” proposition.

However, having established itself as the The travel payment card has had a negative impact on the fintech start-up during this Covid-19 pandemic.

With the complete halt to travel around the world, YouTrip ran the risk of users completely forgetting about its existence.

The two-year-old company had to quickly refresh its business model to ensure it remains relevant despite the travel hiatus.

Reinventing the business model: an argument for e-commerce abroad

Image Credit: YouTrip via Instagram

In an interview with Vulcan Post, YouTrip co-founder and CEO, Caecilia Chu, said the company needs to think of a way to get users to remember how YouTrip could help them save money.

They focused all of their efforts on their ecommerce use case.

“We’ve always bought cheaper and paid with our own YouTrip card for a long time,” said the 37-year-old.

After all, YouTrip offers over 150 free currencies and the “best exchange rates”. This gives YouTrip the advantage of being the “cheapest way” to pay in foreign currency.

From the start, they knew it would make a “good suggestion” to share with users.

The team then curated online offers and buying guides to help users save money.

“We wanted to make the journey of finding cheaper alternatives online from abroad as easy as possible, and the satisfaction really comes when you learn how much you can save,” said Caecilia.

During this period, YouTrip also launched “YouTrip It Online,” a seasonal cashback promotion.

It offered a 2 percent cash rebate for online purchases abroad, which quickly became “instant hit among users.”

A successful pivot

After its record US $ 26 million funding before Series A in May 2019, YouTrip tripled its growth in app downloads and continued to be a hit with users.

According to Caecilia, almost all YouTrip users have used YouTrip online, with “three times more e-commerce transactions abroad than before.”

Some of the all-time favorite merchants for Singaporeans include Taobao, Alibaba, Amazon Japan, ASOS, and iHerb.

The savings are substantial too – even after factoring in shipping costs, popular items like the Apple Airpods and Kindle Paperwhite are S $ 40 and S $ 58 respectively.

To continue to keep the YouTrip community engaged, the company runs activities such as online virtual tours and quiz nights.

A virtual tour YouTrip South Korea / Video credit: YouTrip via Facebook

Rewards programs such as #YouTripPerks have also been rolled out to reward top YouTrip users.

This month, it offers a choice of either a 30% discount on the Netflix subscription or a one-time S $ 5 F&B discount for users who have made 20 or more transactions or $ 500 in total spend.

Prepare to meet travel demand

Image Credit: YouTrip via Facebook

Besides e-commerce, the YouTrip team is also focused on improving aspects of its products, “by improving the user experience down to the smallest detail”.

The company has introduced the latest three Domain-Secure 2.0 technologies for increased security and a seamless payment experience during online transactions.

Apart from this new feature, peer-to-peer transfers between YouTrip users will soon be available on the application.

While the peer-to-peer transfer feature will create more transparent financial management for group travel, it will place YouTrip as a competitor to other digital payment apps.

For example, the super app Grab launched peer-to-peer money transfers through Grabpay in 2017. Other apps like PayLah! and PayNow have also played an important role in the daily life of Singaporeans.

“All of these provide an even better overseas payment experience upon the return trip,” said Caecilia.

Even though travel has stalled, Caecilia believes “now is not the time to slow down”.

“Once the market rebounds, we will be an even stronger player to bring our truly cost-free proposition to the greater Southeast Asia region,” said the founder.

Featured Image Credit: YouTrip

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Jothi Venkat

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