In response to our query, Abdur Rouf, COO of Aarong, talks about the advent of e-Commerce in Bangladesh and in Aarong. He also gave some of his comments on the prospects of e-Commerce in general. Below is given excerpts of the discussion.
The advent of e-Commerce: Starting in the year 2001 e-Commerce operated in a small span with the major players being the NRBs using the international payment gateway system and keeping the delivery limited within Bangladesh. The purchase took place abroad and it was delivered in Bangladesh. In the year 2011 Bangladesh Bank gave the initiated the facility of the payment gateway system and from then onward e-Commerce started in full swing with many local and NRB participants.
Prospects: The prospect of e-Commerce in Bangladesh is high as worldwide the growth in e-Commerce in approximately 25% and growth in retail is approximately 5%. e-Commerce has a high growth potential for the following factors
* Internet accessibility
* Increase in the number of smart phone users
* Traffic congestions
* Time constraint
Progress: The progress is so far is satisfactory, though there is scope and opportunities still unfulfilled. There is a gap between expectation from the customers end and traders end.
Customer satisfaction: It's good since the ones who purchase online have enough flexibility in terms of payment method and return and exchange policy. To some extent customers can be dissatisfied when they find the product differing from the communication. Since it is a new experience, customers can get over this if they change their mindset. The traders should try to minimize this gap through better and authentic communication.
Suggestions: This is the right time to focus on e-Commerce platform addressing the next generation.
* 75% of the total population is under 40 of which majority is young who are technologically savvy and ready to avail facilities e-Commerce provides.
* Flexible payment gateway.
* Shopping convenience for working people.
* Large scale of options within clicks
* People are conscious about their life style
* People are conscious about time and money.
* NRBs' are provided with a chance to shop for their loved once back home.
* Expensive internet
* Skeptic customers
* Lack of knowledge regarding internet usage and computer
* Lack of option for international payment gateway
* Delivery system hassles
Aarong experience: Our start up experience was great and we made the site as per international standard. The product range is large almost like that offered at our outlets. In terms of trade though it is behind our expectation but we are very much hoping that in the near future response would meet our expectation. Our customers are very much satisfied which amounts to 99% of customer satisfation.
Currently our delivery is confined within Bangladesh but people living abroad can make a purchase but the product is delivered with the country. Within the 1st quarter of 2015 we expect to reach the global platform with our delivery services.
* Traders should be honest about their communication so that trust does not get dissolved away and the traders should deliver as per commitment.
* The website of companies involved in e-Commerce business should be of international standard so that the customers are not disappointed finding significant differences with international websites. If the website meet international standard the customer conversion or switching would be easier.