Big brands are getting into e-commerce, making their products available online as well as in outlets.
E-commerce was introduced in Bangladesh by small businesses operating in social media sites such as Facebook, or by companies selling imported products.
However, prominent brands such as Yellow, Infinity, Richman, Ecstasy, Aarong and Apex have also started selling their products online. They are aiming to keep pace with today’s fast paced world and gain more customers through easy availability of products.
“E-commerce can be termed as a kind of showroom, just like the traditional outlets. People like shopping online because everything can be found here,” said Azharul Haque Azad, president of Fashion Entrepreneurs Association of Bangladesh (FEAB) to Dhaka Tribune.
Azad, who is also the owner of Sadakalo, a local fashion brand, said online business helps to reach customers who have limited access to brand outlets. They can now just click and enjoy the benefits of home delivery.
According to a survey titled “The Rise of Digital Consumer Class in Bangladesh in 2015” by LightCastle Partners (LCP), an online survey platform, e-commerce is mostly driven by female customers. Fifty-five percent of the customers are females, with 90% of them residing in Dhaka.
There are two types of e-business: one is run by the brand itself and the other one is a business which sells all kinds of products under it. The latter type of businesses, such as Daraz.com, sells products under an agreement with fashion brands and enjoys commissions.
Mohammad Rasel, a private service holder who lives in Sonargaon, said to Dhaka Tribune, “I like to wear branded products, especially during the Eid. Sometimes it is difficult to get the desired products as there is no outlet in my area.
“But now, by the virtue of an online marketplace, I can get branded products with just a click” said Rasel.
“With the increase in per capita income, there is an increase in willingness among people to buy branded products” said Mirajul Huq, Chief Marketing Officer of Bagdoom.com.
The wide usage of smartphones and increased penetration of internet has helped e-commerce to flourish, he said.
“We are gathering huge customer response, especially from people living in the outskirts of the capital,” said Syed Mostahidul Hoq, Managing Director of Daraz.com to Dhaka Tribune. “Because of the minimal presence of brand outlets in their areas, a lot of them are adapting to online shopping”.
“At this stage, e-businesses will have to arrange attractive packages and products to encourage consumers”, said Hoq.
Talking about the challenges of e-commerce, people in the sector have stressed on strengthening the online payment system and speeding the delivery system through development of post offices.
According to the LCP survey, 73% consumers pay cash on delivery, 20% through online payment gateway and 7% through mobile banking.
As per the findings of the survey, 22% e-commerce consumers buy fashion wear, 18% fashion accessories, 10% footwear, 9% jewelries, 15% electronics products, 10% food, 2% grocery, 6% personal care and 8% books.