Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 13th 2014 Contents FEBRUARY 2014 • WEEK TWO www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG7
Cengiz Ehliz, president of Ger-
company Flexkom Interna-
tional, is hoping its presence
in T&T will help businesses
move into mobile commerce
(m-commerce) which will help grow small
and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the econ-
omy in general.
"Our goal is to support businesses and the
economy of T&T. With Flexkom technology,
people from around the world can see what
is going on in local stores that are affiliated
with us regarding information about prices
and products. So the goods and services will
be promoted, your Carnival products will be
highlighted. We have an online store where
all the retailers affiliated with us can upload
their product there for free. So all the Flexkom
customers worldwide see these products. This
generates revenue for the country," he told
the Business Guardian on Monday.
Flexkom International has developed a new
loyalty card programme meant to operate at
stores across the globe, using what the com-
pany calls mobile commerce (m-commerce)
and geographically-targeted commerce (geo-
Geo-commerce is giving the retailer the
opportunity to geo-target his products to cus-
tomers in particular locations in real time.
People look for products and with the
Flexkom technology, the product would find
them. All customers need to do is key in the
product they are interested in, and anywhere
they go, the app will alert them to the nearest
location where the item is available, where it
is currently on discount.
Three years after the company first launched
its services in Turkey, T&T is now set to
become the newest location where consumers
can earn "Flex dollars" by using their Flexkom
loyalty card at affiliated stores.
Ehliz spoke to the Business Guardian on
Monday at the Hilton Trinidad Hotel and
Conference Centre, St Ann's.
Flexkom met with SME business owners
last Saturday at the Cascadia Hotel in St
Ehliz said the growth of this technology in
T&T will lead to more employment and stim-
ulate business activity.
The first phase of the launch was August
2013 where more than 500 business owners
"Business owners were amazed with the
technology and what the technology does for
the business and customers. It will provide
value to both business owners and customers.
The most important thing is to build up a big
network and have a system where we can
connect all the retailers together. We would
like to start that with 5,000 business owners,"
Business owners benefit in other ways, too.
If businesses sign up a new Flexkom cus-
tomer, they earn a commission each time that
person makes a purchase at another Flexkom
affiliate, whether in-person or online.
He said later this week they will be bringing
to T&T 150 of the Flexkom terminals to be
installed in stores and businesses.
"It would definitely revolutionise the busi-
ness industry as the smaller business usually
remain small, while the bigger companies
dominate the market. We have created a sys-
tem where the smaller stores will all be con-
nected so as to create the environment for
greater revenue. This will create a momentum
among the SMEs and will give them the ability
to expand as there are customers who travel.
There are 2,000 physical devices in stores
and 22,000 online devices. We want to con-
tinue expanding in Europe and worldwide."
He said they have already trained sales per-
sons to install the Flexkom machine in stores
and explained how the Flexkom technology
works. The cost of the terminal to be installed
in a business place is US$499.
"We have trained hundreds of sales people
who will be able to install the machines in
stores. We had the selection process for retail-
ers. There are flex cards and apps inside the
machines. These are given to customers and
the customers, in turn, use these apps and
cards to do the shopping. Every time the cus-
tomer uses a card or app, the store owner
earns extra commission on all the revenue
generated by the customers' purchases.
"In each of the terminals, there are 2,000
mobile apps and 100 flex cards. There is also
a calling system on the app and the customer
can actually use the app through the flex
money' inside the apps to make free calls.
Customers can use these for personal calls
and to call internationally as its free. Also,
when the customer gets discounts from affil-
iated businesses, they can put it into the app
which will generate credit for additional free
T&T and International Market
Ehliz said they look at T&T as the gateway
to the rest of the region as seek to expand in
"We started in T&T and in the United States
last weekend. T&T is the key for the Caribbean
region. Here is the centre of industry and
commerce for the region, so T&T opens the
door for the region and the rest of Latin Amer-
ican market. We just established the central
office for the whole of the Caribbean region
in Chaguanas. Over the last couple months,
we have done the development phases to get
started here," he said.
Elhiz said integrating businesses in T&T
and other markets is important.
"The major work is to integrate all the small
and medium enterprises. The SMEs are the
ones that get the customers and with this
technology, you can build thousands and
thousands of customers. There are huge ben-
efits for them to actually buy into the system
and use it to build customers.
"One of the major advantage is the retail
shop can actually earn passive income. Even
if the store is being closed down, it is still
earning money on all the online and offline
purchases of each customers."
He said over the next few months, they
will be launching 20,000 to 30,000 of these
terminals into the European market.
"Last year, we invested 11 million euros so
now we are rolling out into the European and
Flexkom is the brainchild of the founder
and president Cengiz Ehliz who launched the
company in Turkey mainly because IT costs
are lower in Turkey.
It started in 2010 with the idea and started
putting it into action, with the system up and
running in 2011.
The system is now fully operational in
Turkey with about 40,000 partners there and
continues to grow with around 13,000 point
of sale systems or terminals for shops.
In recent weeks thousands of people have
attended the special events in Slovenia, in
Hungary, in the Czech Republic, in Romania,
in T&T and in Las Vegas.
German m-commerce company
hopes to help T&T's SMEs
Cengiz Ehliz, president
of the German-based
PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
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