Singaporean

"Not The Time To Be Slowing Down": YouTrip CEO On Pivoting From Travel Spend To E-Commerce

Covid-19 has affected businesses of different industries, though the travel industry is undoubtedly one of the worst hit.

Singapore’s leading multi-currency mobile wallet, YouTrip, has been a huge hit with users for its “Truly No Fees” proposition.

However, having established themselves as the travel payment card has had some negative repercussions for the fintech startup during this Covid-19 pandemic.

With the complete halt in 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 that it remained relevant despite the pause in travel.

Reinventing The Business Model: A Case For Overseas E-Commerce

youtrip
Image Credit: YouTrip via Instagram

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

They focused all their efforts into their e-commerce use case.

“We’ve always been shopping for less and paying with our own YouTrip card for a long time before this,” said the 37-year-old.

After all, YouTrip offers more than 150 currencies at no fees, and the “best exchange rates”. This gives YouTrip an edge at being the “cheapest way” to pay in foreign currencies.

Right off the bat, they knew that it would make a “good proposition” to share with users.

The team went on to curate online deals and shopping guides to help users save money.

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

During this period, YouTrip also launched ‘YouTrip It Online’, a seasonal cashback promotion.

It offered 2 per cent in cash rebates for overseas e-commerce purchases, which quickly became an “instant hit among users”.

A Successful Pivot

Following its record-breaking pre-Series A funding of US$26 million in May 2019, YouTrip tripled its growth in app downloads and continued to be a hit among users.

According to Caecilia, almost all of YouTrip’s users have taken YouTrip online, with “three times more overseas e-commerce transactions than before”.

Some of the all-time favourite merchants for Singaporeans to shop at include Taobao, Alibaba, Amazon Japan, ASOS, and iHerb.

The savings are substantial too — even after factoring in delivery fees, popular items like the Apple Airpods and Kindle Paperwhite are S$40 and S$58 cheaper respectively.

To continue keeping the YouTrip community engaged, the company organises activities like online virtual tours and trivia game nights. 

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

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

This month, it is offering a choice of either 30 per cent cashback on Netflix subscription or a one-time S$5 F&B cashback for users who have made at least 20 transactions or $500 in total spend. 

Getting Ready To Serve The Pent-Up Demand For Travel

Image Credit: YouTrip via Facebook

Besides e-commerce, the YouTrip team is also focused on the enhancement of aspects of its products, “making improvements to the user experience even to the slightest detail.”

The company has introduced the latest three Domain-Secure 2.0 technology for added security and a seamless payment experience when transacting online.

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

While the peer-to-peer transfer feature will create a more seamless finance management for group travel, it will place YouTrip as a competitor of other digital payment applications.

For example, super app Grab launched peer-to-peer fund transfers via Grabpay back in 2017. Other applications like PayLah! and PayNow have also played a significant role in Singaporeans’ everyday lives.

Even though travel has come to a standstill, Caecilia is of the opinion that “now is not the time to be slowing down”.

“Once the market rebounds, we’ll be an even stronger player to bring our truly no fees proposition to the greater Southeast Asia region,” the founder said.

Featured Image Credit: YouTrip

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