Five Minutes With…Debbie Baertschi, CEO, MOXiT.com

E-commerce in the Middle East has tremendous potential to grow, says Baertschi.

What is your company focusing on this year?

MOX iT’s main focus in 2014 is to become the leading e-commerce company through a mix of geographical expansion and the continuation of our great shopping experiences. We will be entering the KSA market in 2014, and will continue offering unique shopping experiences to our customers through our site.

How was your company’s performance last year?

2013 saw MOX iT achieve phenomenal growth in site traffic as well as turnover. That has resulted in an incredible 1,819 per cent growth since we started in May 2013. Our online traffic has jumped from 10,000 a month in Many 2013 to 420,000 today. MOX iT’s growth and monthly targets reflect its commitment to German quality and efficiency; we’re the first among e-commerce start-ups to achieve results so rapidly, and with such consistency.

What are the growth areas currently for your industry?

Augmented reality looks to be the next big thing on the horizon, and we’re looking into how we can use that to further enhance our customer experience. At the same time, there is a move to more sophisticated mobile applications. Organisations in this space are realising the importance of strong data collection and customer profiling and relationship building, leading to highly targeted and customised offerings that add genuine value. We also see retail sales moving to the online sphere with increased rapidity.

Is the Middle East’s e-commerce industry competitive?

While e-commerce in the Middle East still lags behind more mature markets such as EU and USA in complexity and sophistication, there is tremendous growth and no lack of competition. The last couple of years have been very active and competitive. But there is still a lot of room for improving the customer shopping and service experience, and satisfying the high expectations that Middle Eastern customers have from the online shopping experience.

What new products/services will MOX iT launch this year?

We will be introducing innovative offerings that have not been seen in the Middle East, or to our knowledge even the rest of the world. We want to expand our site to include customers’ desire most as well as what they might not yet know. We want to reflect the region’s ambition by being premium, fast and knowing no limits.

Will you be expanding into new territory?

We are driving right now a marketing test in KSA to prepare for our next big move into KSA, very soon (in 2014). We will then be targeting other GCC markets.

What are the biggest challenges for UAE businesses in e-commerce?

The UAE consumer has a trust issue with e-commerce due to well known experiences in the online world. We came into a market where we had to win trust first hand, convince consumers of the benefits and safety of e-commerce.

Consumers in the region are still cautious about online payments and sometimes prefer cash on delivery. In our case, however, we’ve successfully managed to gain customer trust and credit card is our biggest payment method. This is a very healthy sign for the entire market.

Will you be hiring this year?

Yes, we are planning a 30 per cent team expansion by the end of 2014

What’s your leadership style?

Well, I lead by clear objectives as figures never lie. That adds clarity to proceedings. I find it best to be honest, straight and clear; praising team members who deserve it, and motivating those who might need to grow. I know that I have high expectations and can be demanding, but on the flip side am also giving my time to support and coach my team. I empower my employees, and inspire them daily.

What makes the perfect employee?

There are some attributes that make employees a good fit with the MOX iT ethos. We want our employees to be responsible, and be willing to come up with a solution no matter how big the issue is. We like effective communicators, and lateral thinkers. But most important is a great attitude and a willingness to learn – leave your ego at the door.

Define success in five words…

Achieve ambitious goals faster together.

Three tips for becoming the boss…

The first step is to master your business and understand it inside out. It’s important to be able to deliver sustainable performance. A clear and calm mind is essential, no matter what challenges you face. You have a responsibility to your team, and to your company. You must be the best ambassador possible.

When I’m not at work I like to…

I’ve been addicted to sports since childhood, so put in some exercise time five days a week. I’m also a passionate traveller, and continuously travelling to Brazil, South East Asia, Greece, New York and other amazing destinations. Sometimes, I enjoy a little downtime at the spa. Then of course, there’s spending a bit of time socialising, and coming up with magical ideas. You know, that moment of inspiration, that aha moment.