New Groupon SA boss eyes e-commerce, mobile

2014-07-11 10:06 - Lameez Omarjee
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emilian popa, groupon sa ceo



Cape Town - E-commerce is an important strategy businesses are moving towards, with “huge potential for growth in South Africa”, entrepreneur Emilian Popa told Fin24 after his appointment on Thursday as new CEO of Groupon South Africa.

Popa has extensive experience in the industry, being one of the co-founders of Twangoo before it was bought by Groupon in 2011.  Some of the pioneering online retail companies he was involved in include Wimdu and Airizu in China, Jumia in Nigeria and Rocket Internet and Zando in South Africa.  

He previously held the position of CEO at Kinderelo, 5rooms and Style36, all online retail platforms based in South Africa.  

Contrary to belief, Popa emphasised that e-commerce was extremely consumer-centric. “In retail the customer comes first,” he told Fin24.  

“Groupon is a total e-commerce company with so much potential” and as new CEO he aims to continue this growth pattern in all the areas it covers - products, services and travel.  

As for trying new things, he said: “I am an entrepreneur so I will always want to try new things.”  But in his new position he plans to “apply the global strategy which Groupon has perfected and localise it to the needs of South African consumers”.  

'They have phones'

Important to price-sensitive consumers in the South African market is that Groupon "offers products and services at good prices to also reach consumers in lower LSMs and who require basic products and services ", he said.

“They have phones. Mobile is part of the Groupon strategy," he said.

On whether e-commerce is the future of entrepreneurship, he said “everything is moving towards online”.

However, “you cannot sell everything to everyone”, he said highlighting the importance of focusing categories of products and services necessary for optimal targeting.  

Groupon South Africa is delighted to have acquired his expertise. In a statement, Roy Blanga, International Vice President for Northern Europe at Groupon, said Popa is "an innovative and passionate leader who greatly understands the needs of both merchants and consumers”.  

There are hopes that Popa will be instrumental in transitioning Groupon South Africa from “a daily deal site to a true online marketplace”.

Meanwhile, Groupon South Africa co-founders, Daniel Guasco and Wayne Gosling, have stepped down with no word on their new business ventures, according to spokesperson Sarah Mackenzie.

groupon founders Daniel Guasco and Wayne Gosling
Groupon founders Daniel Guasco and Wayne Gosling. (Supplied)

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