From LE1 million to LE4 million in four months: How PayMe quadrupled its transaction volume

About 70 percent of businesses are SMEs, Al Ashry says (Photo courtesy of PayMe Facebook page)

Online payment gateway PayMe facilitates online payment transactions – and although only launching in July 2017, the startup increased its transaction volume by 400 percent from April till July 2018. This is equivalent to transactions worth a total of LE4 million – which means that 8,000 customers paid 237 merchants through the platform.

How does it work?
Partnering with Al-Ahli Bank and Fawry, PayMe provides an online transactions tool for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that operate through Facebook or similar online channels. That means that small providers of goods and services can send their invoices to customers and receive their money through PayMe.

All the SME has to do is register itself on the PayMe platform and the money gets transferred to the owner’s bank account. Customers can pay through credit cards or Fawry.

How did it start?
Piloting in July 2017 and launching in January 2018, the pilot phase focused on testing the waters from a technical perspective and trying out different business development models, varying between phone calls, Facebook ads and directs sales, CEO of PayMe Mourad Al Ashry tells Business Forward.

About 70 percent of businesses are SMEs, Al Ashry says, adding that most payment gateways are targeting the big fish like Jumia and EgyptAir.

8,000 customers payed 237 merchants through the platform

“No one thought about the SMEs that have an income of about LE10,000 – LE15,000 a month. There is a huge market for that and we are the only ones serving them. There is a huge need. Their hassle is real,” he emphasizes. “They usually have to pick up the cash from the customer directly. Once they found what we provide, they jumped on it.”

The “right formula” – how did it quadruple?
“Once you understand the game, you’re good to go. In the pilot phase, we kept testing different approaches until we found the right formula,” Al Ashry explains.

The right formula was a mix between marketing and sales.

The startup started running Facebook ads, following up on each signup with phone calls until merchants were completely comfortable with the process, while optimizing the cost of customer acquisition.

“The Facebook ads were just the beginning. We had realized that people used to sign up without following through. So we had the lead, but nothing else,” the CEO with a background in banking and business development conveys.  

Accordingly, the sales team followed up with the merchants over the phone and kept talking to them until they were 100 percent comfortable with and understood everything about the process.

The optimization firstly happened through a revamp of the website. Making it more user-friendly and explanatory minimized the number of merchants that needed follow-up phone conversations for the registration process.

Additionally, the sales team was properly trained. “We did that by making a list with the most frequently asked questions and standardizing the answers to each. We also created a sales guide manual that everyone follows now. It is not haphazardly anymore. This eliminates waste,” Al Ashry says.

With 15 team members and a total transaction volume of LE 4.6 million as of August 2018, PayMe’s next aim is to stop pushing ads for a bit in order to optimize the process once again. “After that, we will start running again and double our targets. Our next milestone is to break the LE1 million transaction volume mark,” he concludes.

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