The Australian – Catch to take on essential services

Supratim Adhikari

Catch Group has added personal loans to its product portfolio, with CEO Nati Harpaz saying the diversified online retailer wanted to expand its presence in the essential services market.

The secret sauce for Catch Group, according to Mr Harpaz, is the deep level of trust the company already enjoys from its established customer base.

“There is a lot of trust involved when consumers choose essential services like mobiles, insurance and utilities, and we have built a deep relationship with our customers over the last 12 years,” he told The Australian.

“They trust us with the quality of the product we give them and the fact that they get a good deal.

“We can now take this brand and trust and provide our customers with other services.”

With more than 1.2 million active customers and 100 million annual visits, Catch Group has access to significant data on what its user base is doing, which is an asset the company is leveraging to develop its products.

“This is the time of the year when people are thinking about house renovations, holidays and debt consolidation, so we can give our customer a good deal (on a loan product) with a good incentive plan.”

The personal loan product, developed in partnership with non-bank lender Now Finance, the consumer finance arm of private Melbourne investment house Wingate, offers individualised interest rates to customers, as well as up to $750 in vouchers to spend on, and a free membership to its Club Catch loyalty program, which has more than 95,000 members.

Regulation and compliance is being handled by Now Finance and company CEO Richard Blumberg said the partnership with Catch would help it reach a wider audience.

“Catch is well known for market-leading deals, as is Now Finance. This partnership is a great result for all Australians looking for a better deal on personal loans,” he said.

“Now Finance has a very good reputation with consumers and regulators. We know the team there well and we choose our partners really well,” Mr Harpaz said.

In February, Catch Group partnered with Optus to enter the mobile reseller market and with the personal loan product added to the mix, the company is also considering an entry into the insurance market.

“We are in negotiations on insurance products (life, general and health) and are also actively looking in the utilities (electricity and gas) space,” Mr Harpaz said.

“So we are building a portal for everyday essentials which will then be coupled with a loyalty plan that rewards customers for every transaction they do over Catch.”

According to Mr Harpaz, unlike traditional retailers such as Myer, which are continuing to struggle with sales, the online retail sector remained buoyant.

“We broke the all-time record for Catch sales on Friday, selling $5m in one day,” he said.

“We are not sharing the same pain as the general retail sector.

‘Those who are executing well are still growing well.”