EMP Jordan in New E-commerce Push

Emerging Markets Payments Jordan (EMP) are set to roll out a new collection of products designed to boost the popularity of e-commerce in a country where cash is still king.

EMP Jordan, which serves more than 20 banks and 18,000 merchants in the Kingdom and the wider region, will soon release a digital wallet smartphone app and an online bill payment system.

The company will also continue with a marketing campaign it launched earlier in the year featuring its Mr. Cardy mascot that was designed to raise awareness about the benefits of using electronic payment cards.

Credit cards are currently used for little more than 5 percent of transactions in Jordan. EMP Jordan CEO Hassan Mayassi hopes the Mr. Cardy campaign will convince more Jordanians to switch to electronic payments. “We are building technology, launching new products, and deploying terminals all over. But at the same time, we created a new character, Mr. Cardy, to be displayed on billboards in shopping malls and supermarkets across the country,” he explained. “We want to move everything to plastic by trying to educate the market … The only way we can reach out to Jordanians and influence their payment methods is by a introducing a character they can identify with.”

Customers purchasing items via EMP Jordan’s point-of-sale terminals will receive gifts and other loyalty benefits. “Everything will be carried out automatically by a simple swipe of one’s credit card. The retailer’s system will automatically read the customer’s card and apply, let’s say, a discount. One card, one swipe, one benefit, without anyone noticing except the card holder,” Mayassi said.

Widely spread in developed consumer markets like Dubai, this culture of discounts and selling via a loyalty program has proven successful over the past decade in terms of the retention rates of banks and retailers. “This is a way to reward the cardholder, who, after having benefited from the discount or any other bonus, will be enticed to return to the shop and spend more money or just keep their bank account in the same financial institution,” Mayassi said.

Any bank card would be subject to the loyalty program and would not require the cardholder to register anywhere. However, studies show that high spenders are usually the ones making the most use of these programs, as discounts applied to expensive bills play a major role in luring customers to return and spend more.

According to Mayassi, Jordanian merchants are reluctant when they hear about the loyalty program and question why they should give discounts to customers. However, after learning of the benefits and improvements in other shops’ retention rates, they change their minds and join the program.