Aboubakr Zehouani: “We are working to strengthen the appetite for Internet payments”

Aboubakr Zehouani
Director of the Electronic Banking and Alternative Models BU, Société Générale Morocco

As part of its ambitious digital transformation strategy, Societe Generale Morocco has dedicated an important component to the development of electronic commerce. Aboubakr Zehouani details the bank’s strategy to ensure growth in this activity.

What is the role of e-commerce support in the bank’s strategy?

As one of the main players in the national market, Société Générale Morocco has been adopting an ambitious digital transformation strategy for several years, an important part of which aims to develop e-commerce. The Bank thus strengthened its involvement with economic agents, offering a set of solutions aimed at better supporting companies in terms of electronic payments.

Société Générale has also implemented several actions to support as many project leaders as possible, such as the “She’s Next” initiative aimed at promoting female entrepreneurship, which was launched for the first time in Morocco in April 2022, in partnership with Visa International.

This program has already made it possible to subsidize and support 10 start-up projects, almost the majority of which operate in the digital sector. In addition, several agreements with commercial partners have been established to offer our customers exclusive promotions. The Bank thus participates in the promotion of e-merchant sites, giving them greater visibility among our Société Générale Morocco customer portfolio and, more generally, among all bank card holders. Throughout the year, we also launched several campaigns to activate payment cards in e-commerce, offering “cash back” offers financed by the Bank in order to reinforce the appetite for online payments.

What changes have been made to online payment behavior?

The expectations of Moroccan consumers have undergone a radical change, namely in terms of services and the shopping experience, a finding that has worsened since the beginning of the pandemic. Until then, e-commerce was occasionally thought of as a problem-solving solution, or even a means of getting the best deals possible. Today, it asserts itself as one of the main purchase vectors, experiencing exponential growth. This is reflected in everyday usage, consumers are increasingly using e-commerce websites/applications to do their daily shopping instead of going to supermarkets. Another interesting observation is that the delivery sites had a vertiginous growth, allowing the exposure of establishments available exclusively on the Network, such as “dark kitchens”.

What is your understanding of the current dynamics of e-commerce in the country?

E-commerce has grown very quickly since the Covid-19 health crisis. What initially seemed to be a trend has clearly maintained itself over time, as evidenced by the growth registered by e-commerce at the end of September 2022, which is around 36.2% in number of transactions and 20.7% in volume over the same period. 2021. Activity also continues to be very strongly dominated by Moroccan cards, which represent 96% in number and almost 93% in volume. Societe Generale Morocco contributes significantly to this dynamic and, as such, we registered an increase of more than 26% in the volume of national e-commerce activity.

How can this activity be improved?

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transformations necessary for carrying out certain socio-economic activities at a distance: telecommuting, online education, telemedicine… So, last April, Société Générale Morocco migrated to version 2.0 of the “3D-Secure” protocol, which is more “intelligent” than the previous one, as it provides for rules that allow exemptions from authentication, limiting the risk of fraud. In addition, we are working on a “tokenization” project that, in the near future, will provide our cardholders with a new secure payment experience, allowing card details to be replaced by a random, secure, unique and wireless identifier. intrinsic value . This technology is even better suited for recurring payments such as subscriptions, as merchants will no longer need to store customer data.

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