Silicon Valley to Turkey: The Journey of Digital Transformation

June 16, 2020

On May 6th, 2020, Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul hosted Murat Emirdağ, CEO of Hepsiburada, Turkey's largest e-commerce retailer, for a live webinar on “Silicon Valley to Turkey: The Journey of Digital Transformation” in conversation with İpek Cem Taha, Director of Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul.

Having spent many years in senior positions in Silicon Valley, Murat Emirdağ talked about his own journey from Silicon Valley to Turkey. His passion for digital transformation and e-commerce became the core elements of his journey as a young Turkish entrepreneur and influenced his decision to become the CEO of Hepsiburada.

Emirdağ talked about how he and his company have prepared for the surge in e-commerce demand in Turkey since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. They were able to take timely action by learning from other early pandemic markets such as Asia and Europe. The company created a three-pronged action plan. The first is the health and safety of the customers, business partners as well as employees; the second is business continuity; and the last is social responsibility, which included donations of medical supplies and food.

Emirdağ also mentioned that COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation in Turkey, which has also impacted two consumer trends: the first is that many people are turning to digital solutions and trying e-commerce for the first time. These new consumer groups are coming from a variety of age groups and consumer segments. The second trend is that consumer demand has shifted from essential products like food and hygiene products to hobbies, entertainment and books.