#Asia Go-Jek boss: We’ve the secret to converting users from cash payments to digital



Nadiem Makarim on stage at Tech in Asia Jakarta 2016.

“Go-Jek never saw itself as a ride-hailing app. Maybe in the beginning, but we’re so beyond that now,” says Nadiem Makarim.

Within a few days, there will be more Go-Pay than non-Go-Pay transactions.

The CEO of Indonesia’s first official startup unicorn says his company is entering a new level of maturity. He was interviewed today by Tech in Asia’s David Corbin at TIA Jakarta 2016.

GoPay is the game-changer

It’s been adding new services to its on-demand empire. Go-Med lets you have medicine delivered to you within an hour, Go-Pulsa is for topping up phone minutes.

The one new feature Nadiem is most excited about, however, is GoPay – Go-Jek’s electronic payment system.

It’s been available for a while, but a recent campaign successfully drove usage to a tipping point: “In a few days there will be more Go-Pay than non-Go-Pay transactions,” Nadiem says.

“I can’t think of any platform that moved everyone from cash to digital money so fast.”

What’s the secret?

“Obviously, we’re giving you great discounts,” Nadiem grins. But what really made the difference, he says, was coming up with a process that makes it as smooth as possible for newcomers.

This is how it works. Whenever you pay for a ride or service in cash, the Go-Jek driver will ask you if you want to store the change in the form of Go-Pay for future use. If you agree, the driver gets a bonus and you get discounts on your upcoming rides.

“We call this little thing ‘cash top-up on driver.’ We have hundreds of thousands of drivers who become our points of sale,” Nadiem says. “Once you’ve done it, you never wanna go back to cash.”

He didn’t share the current active user base for Go-Pay, but said the startup currently counts 100 million cumulative transactions. “And these are completed, paid orders.”

An edge over Uber and Grab

Photo credit: Go-Jek.

Go-Jek has over 200,000 drivers who can help the platform introduce new features. Photo credit: Go-Jek.

If all of Go-Jek’s services, like transportation, ordering food, or booking a massage, are the parts, Go-Pay is the glue that holds it all together, Nadiem says. In the long term, he sees Go-Pay playing a greater role when it comes to buying things online, getting loans, or transferring funds to family and friends.

We are a new animal now.

Now that the startup’s figured out a promising onboarding channel – one that locks users into the Go-Jek platform and its e-payments system – Nadiem’s newly confident about Go-Jek holding its own.

“It would be a lie to say competition is not on the top of your mind if you’re up against giants. We used to always look behind: oh my god, they’re coming, until we realized, hey, we’re the leader here. Looking back will slow us down. We stumbled upon something not even our competition has figured out yet.”

Go-Jek’s main rival in Indonesia is Malaysia’s Grab, which also has a range of transportation services as well as food delivery. It’s also working on an e-payments system, GrabPay, but doesn’t yet offer a simple cash-to-e-money conversion through its drivers. Uber, of course, has cashless payments, but it requires users to link a credit card.

“We’re in an all-out war, we know that. But how we channel promotions, how we move into payments, how we look at user behavior, all that is coming together. We are a new animal now.”

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