Origami seduces big brands who don't want to be on Rakuten or Amazon

The social shopping app of this Japanese nugget is essential in the face of e-commerce giants and is betting from online to offline and its payment system to continue growing.

JDN. Origami was launched in April 2013 and has since raised $ 22 million, making it one of the best-funded Japanese startups. What exactly do you offer?
Origami is a mobile and social e-commerce application that allows you to access a marketplace with 1,500 partner brands. We connect, see what our friends like, follow the brands, explore their stores, receive advice based on its history and buy in one click. Brands have their own flow and push products towards those who follow them. The experience is therefore very different from Amazon. The repurchase rate is excellent for e-commerce as it amounts to 40%. And we are extremely efficient when it comes to social networks. Our brands get 2 to 10 times more followers on Origami than all their social networks.

What is the barrier to entry for a service like yours? Pinterest and The Fancy haven't been able to evolve into a market but aren't you afraid that a Rakuten will blow you away in an instant?

The barrier to entry is not technological. We talked to governments, merchants and various partners for three years to set up the service. It is a significant advance over potential new competitors.

As for Rakuten, he tried to launch an app like ours but the mayonnaise did not take. He works mainly with small brands and small merchants. On the contrary, on Origami, you find big names that want to check their brand ... and above all not to be on Rakuten or Amazon. It is also our brands that make Origami successful, much more than our social side or our flow operations. If we decide not to build a classic market, it is simply because we think that scroll is superior to research. For example, in Ginza (the luxury shopping district in Tokyo, the editor's note), you enter a shop because it inspires trust and the district inspires trust, but you would not have found the same chair if you had looked for it online. We reproduce it.

You just launched offline with an in-store payment solution. Because ?

The Japanese e-commerce market, which will weigh around 100 billion euros in 2016, will double by 2020. But above all, online-to-offline is finally accelerating and will allow access to a market that is more than ten times larger, that of retail sales. This is what interests us. At the moment, the merchant who receives a cash payment does not know who his customer is, what he is buying or how to encourage him to return. Unless the customer pays with his mobile phone. This is the reason why we have just launched Origami Pay, which allows users of our app to pay in the store with their smartphone simply by bringing it closer to the merchant's tablet.

During a classic in-store purchase, the brand collects on average only 10% of customer information, and when it restarts it via email, it affects only 10%. With Origami Pay, we direct customers to shops, allow them to pay, acquire all the receipt data, provide them to the merchant and be able to send targeted offers and personal messages to buyers. We reach 30% to 40% of customers rather than 1% in the first case and more effectively.

How is Origami Pay integrated with merchants?

It's very simple. Unlike Square, which requires the modification of the entire checkout system, to accept Origami Pay all you need is the Internet and a tablet. It is for this reason that Square is chosen only by small merchants and that we sign large brands, which would never change the entire payment system to add a new payment method.

How do you position yourself with respect to Apple Pay?

Our value proposition is different. If you pay in store with Apple Pay, the brand will not be able to follow you, for example on social networks. If you pay with Origami Pay, we create data, monetize it with advertising, which in turn allows us to finance the offers. It is beneficial for everyone.
At 3.25% of the amount of transactions. It is less than or equal to the commissions that the merchant has to pay to credit card issuers but we provide them with customer data, ensure that consumers pay with Origami Pay to be able to follow them, offer them promotions and introduce repeated activities. Visa and Mastercard also hold all this information, but do not use it, except for their loyalty program.

Even with a different value proposition, how are you going to make a place among all the new mobile and contactless payment methods already very present in Japan?

We already have a large user base, which has entered their payment information in the app. And to launch Origami Pay, we offer them a 5% discount on purchases. It may seem like a lot, but it's still far below the marketing budgets that Visa and Mastercard simply spend on choosing their card.

What's the next step for Origami?

From the beginning, I wanted to start a payment business. But it had to start somewhere. We therefore concentrated on selling the main fashion and lifestyle brands on mobile devices. From now on, we will build our payment business by relying on these brands, which hold the best positions in the retail sector.

In concrete terms, we will develop the number of Origami Pay partner brands in Japan (about a hundred today, ed.), Including large retailers, department stores, large grocery stores, fashion brands, etc. This will concentrate most of our efforts for the next two years. We also expand the services of Origami Pay. A pleasant announcement in terms of money transfer is planned in particular within six months or a year. Finally, we will carry out a new round of financing and then launch the international one.