When gourmet food is your business, and your produce is in high demand across the UAE, you must ensure that supply and service quality match customer expectations. Naturally, efficient payments are a vital part of the mix; like the quality of your food, if the buying experience isn't to customers' tastes, they won't return.
This is certainly not the case with Maison Duffour, which enjoys a thriving trade across the UAE and is looking to expand beyond the Middle East. The business was founded in 2016 by Alix and Rodolphe Duffour, a husband and wife team with backgrounds in ecommerce and the food and beverage industry.
The couple noticed a conspicuous gap in the food market and seized the opportunity to launch their luxury brand. The initiative paid off, and the business has scaled quickly over the past five years and earned a solid reputation across the region.
From the outset, Alix and Rodolphe realized the importance of building their business on a strong payments foundation. In particular, they wanted an online model, moving from cash on delivery to card payments, to increase revenue streams and boost Maison Duffour's brand appeal.
"We knew we'd need an expert payments partner if we were to expand," says Alix. "We researched the market thoroughly and concluded that Checkout.com would be the most reliable and trusted partner to take us to the next level. We've been working successfully with Checkout.com since 2017, and one thing that stood out from the beginning was its impressive acceptance rates and very low chargebacks."
Because Maison Duffour started as a cash business, it had to be confident it could handle online payments and accept various cards.
"Being able to offer digital payments, seamlessly shifting our offering online, was the vital requirement," says Rodolphe. "We didn’t have an online track record, so it was challenging. Checkout.com saw our potential and understood our need to accept cards so we could grow our customer base. We were able to add Amex as one of the options, which was especially valuable as it brought in high-spending customers. We’re planning to add more payment methods in the coming year, including Apple Pay.
Moving online was timed perfectly, as Dubai was at the start of the ecommerce era when Maison Duffour launched. Businesses were looking to push sales from their websites, and customers were eager to explore the benefits of online shopping. And, despite the economic turmoil caused by Covid-19, the pandemic has been a boon for ecommerce and has accelerated Maison Duffour's growth.
"Our business was a game-changer for the food and beverage industry," says Alix. "Thanks to Checkout.com, we've focused on customer experience and captured far more revenue through online sales and efficient payments. We've also improved many of our key metrics, including our average order values."
Onboarding and integration were also important considerations, and Rodolphe is pleased to report they were swift and straightforward.
"Checkout.com onboarded us within three weeks, and the team was really on top of the application process and gave us outstanding turnaround times," says Rodolphe. "We didn't have to lift a finger during the process. Checkout.com took the lead at every step. For a business like ours that has so much to think about and handles many activities across the entire product chain, that's a massive relief."
Apart from the ease of onboarding and integration, Alix and Rodolphe say that Checkout.com's ongoing support and personal attention are huge benefits of the partnership.
"Since Maison Duffour went live, the Checkout.com team has been a true partner," says Alix. "We can contact the team any time, and we're always able to speak to a person rather than going through a contact form."
Rodolphe adds that any issues are solved quickly. "That's very important to us, as we pride ourselves on giving our customers the best possible service. Any payment issues will leave a bad taste in their mouths — even if they have no complaints about our delicious food!"
Maintaining customer expectations is a must for Maison Duffour, which includes adapting and evolving payments to suit local preferences, especially as the region digitizes and continues to embrace ecommerce. Again, this is where Checkout.com scores highly, helping the business to grow with confidence.
Data transparency is another welcome feature of the partnership. Rodolphe says that the quality of data provided by the Checkout.com team is greatly appreciated.
Security also earns Rodolphe's praise. "Checkout.com's fraud detection capabilities are very powerful. It flags suspicious payments in advance, which is something we've been very impressed with, as accepting online payments makes us vulnerable to new risks."
Maison Duffour's ambition is summed up in its tagline: 'Real food with real taste at the right price.' With the brand now firmly established in the UAE and plans to open food halls and seek new markets in Africa, the business has an exciting future. "As we grow, our partnership with Checkout.com will remain important," says Alix. "We'll keep expanding and become a true omnichannel business, and we know we can't survive without smooth payments."