Interview with Cengiz Ehliz

More Quality of Life Worldwide through Revolutionary Cash Back System

„42 Million Euros and Passion – Sustainable Investment in Our Cash Back Project wee“

What is your vision?

„wee is going to revolutionise the future of shopping worldwide and will strengthen retail trade in all affiliated countries. For the individual retailers we acquire customers and promote customer loyalty and – if that is not already the case – we get them connected online. And then they benefit with their own e-commerce without any additional costs or effort. That is a real booster! We are going to connect the stationary and the virtual trade within a global marketplace – in a way that allows the local retailer, the baker, the butcher, the hairdresser, the restaurant or the boutique to benefit – together with their customers. Online and offline. As a last consequence, and this is an almost philosophical approach, I would like to give people worldwide more quality of life. I would like to revitalise retail trade – the motor of any given economy – with a ready to use innovation boost.“

What is your task within the wee project?

„I myself am a passionate entrepreneur. 12 years ago the baby was born as an idea, in 2011 it started walking. Today, five years later, our vision from back then has already been positioned on a transnational level. At the core of my vision stands the introduction and implementation of wee as a shining global brand that comprises the most various sub-brands standing for attractive products and services.

As president, I am the initiator to our global project. In this function I define the goals. And controll. When it comes to operative implementation I rely on a highly professional management team within the project wee, which is integrated into the weeCONOMY AG.“

How much has been invested in this project so far?

„We started out with an equity capital of about 3 million Euros. In total, there has been an investment of about 42 million Euros over the past six years to successfully get to the point where we are today.“

How important is innovation capacity within the cash back market?
„In our current test phase we have affiliated about 10,000 retailers and more than 1,000 renowned online shops in 19 countries, in and far beyond Europe. This is only the beginning. In this regard, we have to continue to deliver and to convince.
Developing innovations is the prerequisite for securing the necessary unique position within a highly competitive market. However, this alone is not enough. The unique selling proposition has to prove itself in a sustainable way and it relies on the customers’ acceptance. To us this means: we inform thoroughly, communicate in a trustworthy manner… Here, promptness is key! However, to me personally, this would still not be enough. I would like for the wee card to become an integral part of everyday life for retailers and consumers. Because with the wee card everyday life becomes easier and more convenient – and most importantly: more affordable – and at the end of the day everyone can benefit financially from their active use of the wee card. And they can also see it in their bank accounts, to which the wee, i.e. discounts on purchases, can be paid out. In Europe one wee is equivalent with one Euro.
As opposed to many of our fellow market participants, our approach is comprehensive and extensive. We do not concentrate on online or offline, on big trade chains or segmented markets. We open markets locally – and in the process we integrate retail trade in a comprehensive way: from pizza baker over car dealer to online shop. When the consumer makes a purchase at a pizza place, his wee get set off against the purchase and he pays less. The system also includes a wee terminal at the retailer’s POS, a tool that is directly connected to our database. This means the retailer hardly has any extra work because with our integrated back office system we are doing it for him.“
How would you describe the development over the past 12 months?
„The past year of the test phase in most various countries was still characterised by market opening. Here, our affiliated retailers made turnovers in Euros within the 7-figure range with online shops, and the same goes for stationary trade.

Simultaneously, we have been working hard on the sustainable development of our wee team. I estimate that by now it comprises about 8,000 people worldwide who are at the service of wee. Apart from our work on technical tasks, we are in the process of finalising an international partner concept. The sales partners invest in wee and in return, they receive the opportunity to acquire trade partners in their regions. Based on the turnover of those trade partners they then receive appropriate commissions.
The roll-out is connected to our integrated communication and marketing campaign that we have been implementing in nine European countries since 18th December 2016. At the heart of it there is a really funny TV commercial, which we are airing more than 20,000 times on wide-coverage, popular TV channels. In Germany that includes RTL and ZDF, for example.“You act internationally, even beyond European borders: are there any differences or particularities about the German market and if so, what are they?„Every country is more or less different when it comes to retail trade. Take for example the partially still well-functioning urban retail trade structures in Italy, Greece or Spain. Or have a look at the current changes in Poland’s or the Czech Republic’s retail trade, the Europewide expansion of e-commerce. Our system is built in a way that on the one hand functions transnationally, i.e. across country borders and on the other hand also works within the market of every individual country on different continents, with the most various trade structures or currencies. The wee that are collected worldwide can be redeemed at every partner location around the globe.“
What percentage of the overall business of wee does the German market currently have?„Germany is the most important national economy in Europe, it has a distinct purchasing power… And the Germans trust in retail trade. For this reason, Germany is very important! Currently, Germany contributes 8% of our turnover – with an upward tendency.“
As a last point, you are member of the European Economic Senate. Do you have a special task within it and how can weeCONOMY benefit from your function within the senate?„For me as an entrepreneur, the recent appointment as a senator of the European Economic Senate is as much an award as it is an honour. For that matter, the same goes for my friend and wee co-founder Michael Scheibe, who has also been appointed senator. This is about strengthening the reputation of „Made in Germany“ within Europe, about bringing skills and know-how into exciting tasks on a pro-bono basis. And of course, synergies emerge from this, which we both can use for the wee project in terms of the senate’s philosophy and the European idea.“Last, personal question: for quite some time you have been treated with anonymous hostility over the world wide web. What is going on there?

„I really find this rather scary and I am actually taking legal action against this and therefore cannot go into detail. Just this much: those people are really professionals in the way they are discrediting me. At the core of it is a US-based server that hosts a blog, anonymously spreading those defamations. And then all of this goes viral…“

About the author: Cengiz Ehliz

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  1. Garry Stratford - January 23, 2017 at 3:08 pm Reply

    Than you for a very informative insight into you and your Company.
    I am currently a Wee partner based in the United Kingdom, and I can speak for many of us and say we are very excited about tapping into the potential that we know the UK market place has to offer all of us.
    I give thanks to two people Stuart Murray and Francois Van Kan for their tireless effort in motivating us all. I personally look forward to meeting you in the UK very soon.
    Kind Regards
    Garry Stratford

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