On Focus: Interview with Goran Shtrbevski, Head of Sales at CatalystPay
We're delighted to introduce our new series On Focus. Here, we'll be getting up close and personal with the valuable team members of CatalystPay! In this interview, meet Goran Shtrbevski: Our newly appointed Head of Sales here at CatalystPay. He shares his expertise on eCommerce payments in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), emphasizing trust and knowledge as essential factors. Learn about some common issues that online merchants face – from high costs to long onboarding processes – plus get insider tips for streamlining payment infrastructure and improving checkout experiences. Keep reading for his unique insights on this ever changing environment.
Can you please briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Goran Shtrbevski. I’m originally from North Macedonia, but I have lived in Sofia, Bulgaria for almost 17 years now. I am interested in new technologies and everything related to digital business and e-commerce. Most of my professional career has been in the field of e-commerce. I was managing and developing the online store of one of the major fashion retail brands in Bulgaria. More recently, I have worked for two of the major SaaS companies developing software products for the e-commerce industry. What motivates me the most in my work is communicating with people and helping them to be more successful in their businesses. In my personal life, most of my interests are related to sports. Apart from actively watching sports on TV, I often play football, tennis, golf, basketball, and go swimming. And not to forget PlayStation :)
Why did you decide to join the CatalystPay team?
First of all, it was because of my personal desire to continue my professional development in the Fintech industry. I am fascinated by how Fintech is reshaping and reinventing the online businesses. While being in the eCommerce business, I’ve seen how online payments can bring additional value and revenue growth. Secondly, I was won over by the CatalystPay team with their attitude. After a few meetings with them, I understood their vision and mission and how dedicated and determined they are in developing the company. Plus I saw how knowledgeable and experienced they are in this industry, I felt I could really learn from them. Last but not least, it was the opportunity to develop in an international company, as so far my experience was only local and regional. The CatalystPay team is made of people from all over the world, plus the business is operating globally, so this is a great opportunity for me to further develop by cooperating with people from different nations and cultures.
Having solid experience in eCommerce in CEE, how would you evaluate the eCommerce merchants' maturity in Online Payments in this region?
The merchants always want to sell their goods, there’s no difference in this between regions. The difference comes from one of the key elements in business, which is Trust. Compared to Western and Central Europe, in Southeast Europe we have quite a problem with trust especially when it comes to shopping online and paying online. In my opinion, the merchants need first to mature in how they treat their customers across the whole value chain in order to overall increase the trust and confidence in customers' shopping behavior. I mean, what product is being sold, does it really correspond to what is described, in what packaging does it arrive, how long is the delivery time, the notifications at what stage is the delivery, follow-up emails about current campaigns, loyalty programs, feedback, etc. All these are prerequisites in order to see growth in the usage of digital payment methods, and leave behind the well known cash on delivery. People want to be sure that what they ordered will certainly arrive, and secondly, that it will be exactly what they ordered. Only then, they will feel more comfortable paying with credit and debit cards or alternative payment methods like GPay or Apple Pay. Another reason for the low maturity of online payments among merchants is the lack of knowledge and understanding of how it works and how to effectively leverage it to grow revenue. Thus, in my opinion, payment service providers like CatalystPay should also spend time educating the merchants and explaining the benefits of using online payments vs cash on delivery.
What are some common pain points that eCommerce merchants face when it comes to payments?
As I already mentioned, I think eCommerce merchants, at least in our region, still struggle with understanding and lack of knowledge of the online payment process and infrastructure in order to know how to leverage it in their favor. It’s fastly developing, many new payment methods are coming in and for a merchant it can sometimes be very frustrating which one to choose and integrate. They often stick to the traditional credit and debit cards (apart from the classic cash on delivery) and are either not aware of the alternative possibilities, like Apple Pay or GPay, or even cryptocurrencies, or do not know how to integrate them. They might find the process too overwhelming and are not prioritizing it. Thus the PSP should be very proactive and supportive in explaining the opportunities and helping the merchant into its integration. The other pain point would be for sure the cost. The traditional card processing fees could be way too expensive for some merchants, especially if compared to cash on delivery. And here, again, the role of the PSP is crucial. Experience and resourceful PSPs know how they can positively impact the transaction fees and optimize it for maximum ROI for the merchants. Last but not least, would be the merchant onboarding process. For some it might be too overwhelming and even impossible to complete. It covers a lot of regulatory and administrative checks and without experience and knowledgeable PSP, it might look like a nightmare to them.
What advice do you have for eCommerce merchants who are looking to optimize their payments infrastructure and improve their overall checkout experience?
First of all - choose a PSP that actually tries to tailor a solution to your business needs, not simply sell you all their fancy staff. Payment processing should work for you, not vice versa. You should have the trust in your PSP that they are doing all to ensure efficiency and effectiveness, while you focus on growing your business. Regarding the checkout experience - should follow the UX best practices - as few fields as possible in a one-step cart or if more information is required in a maximum of three steps. Customers should not be bored while shopping. And when it comes to paying online, if possible to keep the payment page on your website, the better. Redirecting could cause customers’ doubts and they get lost in the different interface where they were until a while ago.
On the other hand, knowing the eCommerce business well, what would you advise PSPs like us to do when approaching potential eCommerce merchants?
The most important thing, as I mentioned, is to pay attention to mechants’ needs. To explain how, show and help them with everything related to online payment. To know what they earn, how they can earn more, how they can grow using this solution. I know that everyone wants it fast, wants it now and as cheaply as possible and of the best quality. I am one of those, too. But if it is made known to the merchants that there is a partner in front of them they could trust, they will be more prone to work with you.
Finally, what would be the one thing you think you can contribute the most to CatalystPay with? What would be your superpower?
I would say, probably, my deep understanding of the whole value chain of the eCommerce business. Knowing it, helps me better shape the best solution for potential customers. And overall, my proactive communication and a good attitude :) Paired with a good product, which CatalystPay offers, I think is a super power in itself :)
Check out the latest On Focus interview with our Chief Compliance Officer on the importance of compliance in payments. And have a closer look at our team to get to know us better!