PriyoShop: the journey thus far
MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) is far from being a new term in Bangladesh. This sector's contribution to the national GDP has recently risen as high as 25%, with experts predicting further growth for the market in the coming years. However, despite the impressive growth of MSME, the sector still faces notable challenges, a key one being supply chain issues. Furthermore, while technology has become a necessity in modern times, proper usage of technology to enhance supply and distribution in the MSME sector hasn't reached a notable stage yet, especially when compared globally.
Founded in 2021 by Asikul Alam Khan, the local B2B (business-to-business) marketplace PriyoShop aims to improve the supply chain system of Bangladeshi MSMEs by providing a fully digitised e-commerce platform to retailers. PriyoShop plans to restructure the traditional methods of the supply chain by helping businesses with a 'full-stack solution', which includes their app, active logistics support and the option for BNPL (buy now pay later).
The PriyoShop app, which provides micro-merchants with a digital catalogue, allows MSME merchants to sell a variety of products to customers even without an inventory. The app also helps the merchants source products that they can sell at their shops. As for logistics, PriyoShop has their own fleet in Dhaka, with the rest of the country covered by third-party logistic partners. With their BNPL support, retail agents using PriyoShop's service can apply for digital credit services over a short period of time. All these factors combine to become what PriyoShop calls their 'full-stack solution', making them stand out as a B2B e-commerce platform.
Asikul Alam Khan, CEO and co-founder of PriyoShop, has been working in the B2B e-commerce space for the past 10 years. "In Bangladesh, 5 million small businesses serve 170 million people, and in most cases, these businesses are one-man armies - facing challenges in distribution and purchasing inventories," says Asikul. Despite the ease and comfort of modern technology, the majority of local businesses will still opt for wholesale markets, such as Karwan Bazaar and Krishi Market, to stock up on supplies. According to Asikul, when local MSME owners need to buy these products, not only do they waste time on traffic, they often need to shut down their stores, thus losing valuable working hours in the process.
There are other issues when physically buying a large stock of supplies, including but not limited to the hassle of carrying large amounts of goods, not getting the right market price from wholesalers, and being forced to get limited quantities based on restrictions and demand. This creates an everlasting cycle of competition among the small shops - constantly forcing the merchants to stock up on the right quantity and quality of products to satisfy customers while also ensuring the products are sold at a sufficient profit. Standard supply chain methods, even those involving door-to-door deliveries of goods, are often schedule-restrained and might not always have the right item in stock.
As such, to combat these issues and help the under-served local merchants, PriyoShop is building a platform that connects both merchants and shareholders, so supply chain and product distribution are operated more efficiently. "Our app is in Bangla, which merchants can easily navigate and understand. They can browse the stock keeping unit by category and brand, and order products with a simple click," explains Asikul. Understandably, most small-medium merchants aren't too tech-savvy, so a simple and easy-to-understand app UI goes a long way in helping users access and place orders.
When a merchant places an order using the PriyoShop app, the associated brands and distributors are notified, after which they confirm the availability of the product. PriyoShop then assigns employees to collect the products from the distributors and deliver them to the shop. This fully digitised system cuts down the hassle of physically going, buying and haggling for products in crowded marketplaces. Instead, merchants can opt for efficient supply management while managing their stores in real-time, using a simple click from a mobile app. Using this asset-light model, PriyoShop hopes to empower traditional suppliers and make the local supply chain method more efficient for everyone.