Mrs. Mateeva, you are the Managing Director of myWorld Bulgaria. In recent years, the company has seen significant growth and expansion. How do you achieve this?
myWorld Bulgaria is a subsidiary of myWorld International and part of the huge international holding myWorld, represented in over 55 countries on all continents. We are responsible for the development on our market of myWorld Benefit Program, which is a benefit-based shopping program. Do you think there is a customer who would refuse a discount on a purchase, moreover without any effort or extra cost? I do not believe so. We live in time of strong competition to increase the market share, in an open world of information and a free market. Taking that into consideration, is there a merchant who is not willing to provide a minimum allowable discount to attract new multinational customers and create loyalty? Hardly. This is our function – myWorld is the intermediary between the merchant and the customer. Our type of business will always develop and prosper because it is based on the fundamental customer-merchant relationship and brings benefits to both parties.
What distinguishes myWorld, its products and services from the competition?
Just few days ago, Newsweek announced our loyalty program as No. 1 in America, which makes us very proud and shows our global appreciation.
What we provide to the customer is completely free membership without any fees, easy and convenient shopping both online and offline plus the possibility of unlimited international shopping. Each of your daily purchases, which you make all the time anyway, is rewarded with benefits – Cashback and Shopping Points. You download the myWorld App and start shopping comfortably, no matter where you are! In it you have detailed information about our loyalty merchants, displayed by location, shopping method, discount, etc.
You want to book a holiday? Immediately, booking.com, travelWorld.com (a booking platform with unparalleled offers, also a subsidiary of our holding company) and many others are at your disposal. You want to buy food, fuel, clothes, and household goods? We have all sorts of attractive offers for you. You are planning a trip abroad and want to save some money – we are here for you again. All you need to do is open the application and immediately find a merchant according to the required industry in the country you are in.
You will be surprised by how quickly and easily you can imperceptibly accumulate benefits. You will probably ask how you will get them back. We have taken care of everything depending on your preferences – to a bank account of your choice in your personal account or you can use them for future purchases. Who would say NO to such an offer? This is how we got to a No. 1 loyalty program!
But let’s go back to the merchants. You know that advertising is the basis of gaining market share. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what the merchant is – online or offline, of a small/medium type or a large recognizable brand. Everyone wants to be popular and increase their turnover. What is unique about our concept is the following: the aforementioned discount for customers is paid deferred by the merchant to myWorld and only after turnover has been realized. I emphasize again – every customer pays 100% of the total amount at the time of purchase. Usually, we invoice the merchant once a month with the amount of the discount for all purchases made by our customers. You understand that this means deferred payment for more than 30 days, and moreover only on already realized turnover? Can you name a media or an ad agency with terms at least close to these? Definitely not. If you buy a billboard for advertising purposes, you have to pay in advance and expect some hypothetical outcome. It’s the opposite with us.
What are the trends in modern shopping and what strategy do you use to win the trust of customers and merchants?
Nowadays consumers are put on a pedestal. They are flooded with so many opportunities for actions, discounts, promotions, etc. Customers are so taken care of that sometimes they find it difficult to navigate in the sea of offers. The pandemic has dramatically increased the share of online shopping and contributed even further to remote consumer activity. Our company believes and continuously invests a huge amount of time and financial resource in new projects, updates, and developments with the aim of facilitated and transparent consumer behaviour. One of the latest and most up-to-date products, which came into use a few months ago, is Scan & Go. What is this? For example, you go to a restaurant, have dinner, pay, and scan your cash receipt in the app. Thus, you report your purchase yourself in the myWorld Benefit Program. Of course, we have also protected merchants to avoid speculation – there are many and different types of preventive measures in this regard. I would not like to bore you with explanations. Another very interesting project, this time with a focus on product search, is Search & Shop. We also offer Cashback Deals, which enable increased Cashback at many of our merchants. Let people have a look at our customer-focused website https://www.myworld.com/bg and go through the detailed information there. I’m sure they will find it useful. We will be happy, if they register and enjoy pleasant shopping experience with benefits, and in case of questions our contact details are indicated, and we are at their disposal.
We have also thought about our Loyalty Merchants, we have both standard and individual technical solutions for them. Our website for Loyalty Merchants https://partner.myworld.com/bg contains detailed information about the joining of new companies to our shopping platform. We will be happy to explain and arrange a meeting with any merchant, regardless of whether it is a small shop or a large chain. We care equally about all our Loyalty Merchants and each of them is valuable to us and we want to be mutually beneficial. myWorld is always interested in long-term cooperation in which all involved parties are satisfied. This is the moment to mention that there is an opportunity, if the merchant wishes, not only to increase his turnover with new customers brought by us, but also to earn from his participation in our program. If а merchant wants and registers customers in myWorld, he can also earn from every purchase the customers make at our merchants worldwide.
After all, this way he contributes to the development of our program.
How to create a good team of a successful company?
My opinion is that the foundation for building a prosperous business is a clear concept combined with a sustainable team. I have always been interested in topics related to leadership, teamwork, trust in work relationships, and motivation. In my professional experience, I have had exceptional examples and people from the business world whom I have admired and learned from. I would not want to be perceived only as a strict mentor who inspires only fear and respect. I’d like to always be aware of all everyday aspects of our business and strive to motivate. I truly love and enjoy my job and I work with a small but united team that also shares my vision for success and my understanding of teamwork. I never ask them to do anything that I couldn’t do myself. At the same time, I am always open to other people’s opinions, I strive to continuously develop, and together with my team we share a single and clear aspiration regarding short-term and long-term development plans.
I can assure you that all goals set so far have been met.
As a lady at the helm of a tough business that is largely led by men, do you find it easy?
You know, I have a very serious education in the field of international business and over 20 years of professional experience in this field. Every day I meet a lot of interesting people and I have attended all kinds of negotiations all over the world. Indeed, women managers at key positions are far fewer in number than men. However, as a Leo cowardice is not inherent in me, giving up in the face of a problem is not an option for me. I do not take into consideration neither gender nor race. I even find diversity in this sense an advantage. A woman’s intuition and quick thinking are not to be underestimated, and I have never felt that men in business treated me as less important, even on the contrary. My self-esteem is justifiably high, and, to my delight, I have always met the same in return.
What are your key qualities as a responsible business leader?
I consider myself a reasonable and tolerant person. I don’t like hasty and rash decisions, but I have also learned to work under pressure and take risks when necessary. The interest of the company that I manage in Bulgaria, as I would manage my personal company, is a top priority to me. I know how to hold people responsible and require, but I always stand behind my team when the right decision has been made in a certain situation. I don’t like to act as a supervisor. I share responsibility and I always keep my word. I am a supporter of direct communication, and I am always ready to stand my ground when I am convinced that I am right, regardless of whether against me I have a subordinate of mine or someone higher than me in the corporate hierarchy.
What is the hardest decision that you’ve ever had to make in your career?
Every decision has consequences and I am fully aware of that. I wouldn’t be able to rank them by complexity and difficulty. Every day I need to make a series of decisions, which translates to gained experience. We always have many different types of projects that we are constantly working on. Currently, we are also working on interesting collaborations in the pilot phase, which we are going to introduce very soon. Challenges, mostly of a technical nature, are solved collaboratively with the support of teams from our headquarters. Let’s not forget that myWorld is a large holding, in whose ecosystem, in addition to the subsidiaries in many countries, there are also a lot of other companies with different focus – software solutions, innovative projects, even charitable foundations. I speak about companies like @mediaBox, travelWorld.com (which I already mentioned), 360 Code Lab, mediaWorld, Child and Family Foundation, Greenfinity Foundation.
We can always find a solution. Expanding our ecosystem and portfolio of products and services that customers can access through myWorld is a priority for us.
By the way, the motto of our company is “Together we are strong” and this is the very reality!
What is the long-term mission that you would like to realize in Bulgaria?
My long-term mission for the Bulgarian market is related to the recognition of our brand. I would like as many people as possible to take advantage of the benefits we offer them in their daily shopping. Our company currently has nearly 500 Loyalty Merchants in Bulgaria and over 400 000 shopping locations worldwide. This is a very small part of what can be achieved, because there is no limit, and we are working every minute in this direction. I strive for a sustainable local development of the myWorld Benefit Program with many diverse and successful Loyalty Merchants, where many satisfied customers shop.
What is success to you?
A wonderful question. To me, success is a relative sense of accomplishment. It does not have only a material dimension. I consider myself a successful person and I will tell you why. I have wonderful children and a husband, a great family who always support me and I support them. My everyday work gives me joy and I go to work happily and not because I have to. My efforts are appreciated, and I am part of an innovative international company with incredible potential. I guess you are aware of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Well, I remember it from my school days, I was so impressed with it. At the top of the pyramid is self-improvement and I continue to learn every day. All of my needs, however, as an individual are met, and I live with a sense of constant gratitude and consider myself a successful person. I always say that you learn to be happy all your life. It is the ability to live in the present and experience success and its manifestations.
Do you like to travel and do you have time to rest?
For me, one of the most interesting and relieving experiences is traveling and shared moments with people I love. I am always open to travel and experience, I like new emotions when you get to know different places. The taste of life in all its aspects is extremely interesting to me. Luxury has never been an end goal and I could relax both in the Rhodope Mountains and on an amazing beach.
What is valuable for me is the sharing of the moment and the opportunity to harmonize my energy while resting. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough time for this, but I find my ways and moments to compensate daily. I am an avid reader and I prefer personal development books. I have a lot of favourite contemporary authors. I adore British TV series, I listen to podcasts and audio books. I enjoy meditating and clearing my mind, although I admit that sometimes it is absolutely impossible for me to get a hold of my racing thoughts. Modern people have too much information and available resources at their disposal. I am trying to learn to perceive the world by being a part of it. I let the processes happen and know that I could influence some and not others. Because the flap of butterfly’s wings in Brazil can actually set off a tornado in Texas, you’ve heard of the butterfly effect.
I like living among other people and celebrate life in its wonderful diversity – a matter of self-perception.