Spider man

The Marketing Platform with an Ecommerce Business Model Made in Kuwait

Amr Massry, Co-Founder and CEO at VINCO
Written by Publishing team

Interview with Amr Massry, Co-Founder and CEO at VINCO

What is VINCO’s business model?

We came up with the name VINCO from the Latin word which means “the victorious” or “the victory” and in Italian it means “I win”. Our main business model is that with everything you purchase, you get a chance to win. We are selling the dream. We are going to reshape the future of ecommerce and the ecommerce experience and focus on winning prizes. We are going to change the perspective of buying online because there is no unique selling proposition now in any of the ecommerce platforms available here in Kuwait. The client is only price oriented and he is checking here and there in order to make a decision. We created this platform to provide our vendor marketing support. We like to consider the platform as a marketing platform where vendors can create promotions online and the customers can buy the same product that they are checking online for already for the same price and get the chance to win big. We are starting with Rolex watches, Chanel bags, cash prizes, iPhone, Samsung, and a lot of things coming down the line. We are introducing cars and jewelry as well. Our business model is unique, especially in Kuwait and even in the region. In Dubai, there are a lot of direct gambling platforms. From our end, we are Islamic compliant and this is a main point that we focus on in Kuwait. We are licensed by the Ministry of Commerce and all of our draws are conducted by the Ministry of Commerce. The idea of ​​draws in general in the country has been around for a long time and banks and companies all do draws. But the unique thing on VINCO is that you can know your exact odds. For example, if there are 100 products and you are 1 out of 100, you know for a fact that your chance if you bought one product is 1%, if you bought five products it is 5%. This is how you calculate your odds. In other places, you do not know the ratio or how many people you are competing against. On VINCO, it is placed on the main screen, the client can check it, the draw date is shown, and everything is transparent.

What kind of products do you offer at VINCO?

We are the first promotion-based platform available in the GCC. Our business model is unique. We are affiliated with legit, quality products.

We mainly do hand-picked products because we want to give value to our customers. Before assigning the products to the platform, we test them, see the quality of the products, see how relevant they are to the platform, as well as how they are going to look on the user interface and the user experience. Then, we proceed with it. For instance, we have an exclusive edition from Constantin Nautics of bracelets and key chains. These are exclusively made for VINCO. We collaborated with Constantin Nautics, the Romanian brand, for 1,600 bracelets and 500 key chains. Our main focus is that we pick the products. 50% of these products are exclusive on our platform. We want to make sure they are useful to our client or that they are fun. We also have Monopoly and Risk. We are introducing Marvel mugs like Spider-Man, Superman, things that are funky and close to the Millennials and Gen Z who are our target audience.

How do you pick these specific products that you are curating?

This process is not easy, especially because we are a new platform. Being new and picky is not a good combination, especially when dealing with vendors. However, 90% of the vendors that we approach are interested in the idea. From our end, we are trying to promote their brand and we are also investing in the marketing campaign for the product, for the promotion itself, and across other advertising channels. This is how vendors are accepting us. For instance, we have a promotion with Bella Lenses which is the most famous lens brand in the region. Bella Lenses was one of the best seller lenses and one of the lucky winners will get a Chanel bag. The Chanel bag itself costs $7,000. So, we are promoting Bella and Chanel at the same time, and the buyer gets a relevant gift as well.

What challenges are you facing with this business model and with the competition?

The model itself is helping us a lot. There is a high risk for both us and the vendor himself. But, we are targeting adventurous people who take risks. At the end of the day, I am telling people that you get a chance to win. We are selling the dream. We want people to buy something with a hope that they will win something bigger in a month or three. This is what is making it easy, especially with high end brands like Altissimo, Bella, and more. Now, people are starting to trust us. Cozmo is the largest entertainment center available in Kuwait and they are also investing with us in advertising, in the locations, in the screens, etc. People like anything new that has good potential and good management. The same is true for vendors and marketeers. When I first started, I hired regular salespeople, but we are not a regular ecommerce. Our main contact in other companies is not the sales department, it is always marketing. So, even my sales process shifted to media personas. We are a marketing platform with an e-commerce business model. In the past two months, we managed to get 14 new vendors. This is only a month and a half after launching our platform. We are also creating five private label brands with items focused on apparel, tech, and more.

What are your competitive advantages?

We are the first promotion-based platform available in the GCC. Our business model is unique. We are affiliated with legit, quality products. We are giving the chance to our clients to achieve their dreams and to win. Everybody loves to win. Our slogan is “Let’s Shop and Win. Let’s Vinco”. We are focused on winning, we want people to win, we want the vendors to win, and eventually this will make us win as well.

What is your vision for the company in the medium term?

In the next three to five years, we will definitely be present regionally. We will penetrate saudi arabia by 2023 at the latest. We are already working on the licensing of the company in Dubai, but it is not a crucial step for us in the time being because there is a lot of competition, although with a different business model. In terms of population, money, and more, KSA is booming.

What drives you to do what you do?

COVID is the main reason that my co-founder and I decided to start this company. I managed an outdoor advertising company. I have been working in the media sector for the past 10-15 years. After the pandemic, everything was shut down. It was a wakeup call because everything was moving online and I was still working in a very traditional form of advertising outdoors. I love outdoor advertising; however, during that phase, people were not going out to see our ads. So, we did not generate any money for almost four months. During that phase, I was always at home and I did not have anything to do. It was the first time in almost 20 years that I was semi-unemployed. I was always thinking about how to overcome this pandemic and there was no certainty in the future of any industry. So, I started to think about going online. I started with an app called Kootmart which was a directory for everything related to online shopping, bookings, etc. While I was working on it, I started getting ideas regarding ecommerce. Then, the idea popped into my head. I called my partner because we had been discussing opening a company. We could open a company and create a platform for ecommerce with a loyalty program, promotional-based, and more. We made a decision on the same day that we were going to do this platform. Every day from August 2020 on, we were discussing how to implement the idea, how to do the UI, the UX, and we put everything into place. We were so picky on everything related to VINCO, from the name, to the color of the app, to the functionalities, to the product, to the coding, to our staff, etc. We are a team of 21 people today and everything is running smoothly.

For more information, please visit: www.letsvinco.com.

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