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Emerging Business Sectors of Bangladesh: On-line shopping Centers (read shopping sites)!-1

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Feb 24, 2012

Obstacle pushes us towards our best. Psychologists say, we perform better in stress because we tend to give our fullest during crisis.

Now, in Bangladesh our Inflation rate is around 11.59%, regular power supply is a Utopian expectation, people’s mindset towards entrepreneurs is still that all business men are profit sucker, robber, and the capital sourcing for startup entrepreneurs is an unthinkable hazard. The interest rate of bank loan, for everyone startup to consumer, is 16-18%, the information regarding starting a business is that scarce as water on moon, and you cannot talk to anyone about your problem of starting up a business that there is no such platform.

On the other hand, there are number of potential business sectors just crying out loud to get our attention. Investment in those sectors are not at that pick as it should be due to mainly two reasons-lack of favorable business environment and lack of information required for starting a business. Despite all these barriers our entrepreneurs are taking initiatives to make progresses happen not only for themselves but also for the society and the country as a whole.

This series of articles will try to shed light on some prospective business sectors of Bangladesh where will also try to dig out the problems exists and possible solutions to prosper in those sectors. Moreover, during the featuring of each sectors we'll try to focus on leading players of particular sector and talk with them to bring more crystal picture.

Let’s go back to main script. As technology is becoming an everyday accessory and rate of Internet penetration is increasing like wild fire people tendency to on-line shopping is on rise. The most important reason behind a rise in on-line shopping trend is time scarcity of modern life style. We are now living in an age of scarce time. Shopping regularly for daily products is a luxury to this time scarce society. As the trends show in near future the rate and extend of on-line shopping will be increased in manifold. As we have seen at Future StartUp, on-line shopping is going to be a boom and one of the most growing business sectors of country.

Taking indicators like increasing Internet penetration, life style change, time scarcity into consideration it can be a safe prediction that online shopping will be a phenomenon in near future.

Realizing the demand a number of on-line shopping sites have been started their journey to make life easier and lazier! To serve the interest here goes story of some successful, from the point of creating buzz and attention, players’ on-line shopping sites:

Akhoni.com-

Big Idea: Akhoni.com is an online marketplace featuring discount deals with popular businesses.
It provides discount deals with large number of businesses like- restaurants, hotels, theaters, fashion houses, Internet services, transports, beauty parlors and saloons, theme parks, gymnasiums, furniture shops, sports and recreation centers, etc.

How it works: Customers can sign up to get regular deal alert on their email at free of cost. They can receive the deal voucher instantly on their web browser and through email by making payment instantly using VISA, MasterCard or DBBL Nexus card or can also choose to book the deal online and pay cash when the coupon is delivered to their home. Then, the customer will show the voucher at the merchant location to enjoy the deal.

Tipping Point: Attraction of the website is offering huge discounts to the customers, 50 to 90 per cent discounts are alluring people to log on to the website instead of going out for buying the products.

Clickbd.com

Big Idea: Clickbd.com-ClickBD.com started its operations in April 14, 2005, according to Clickbd.com, as the first e-commerce portal in Bangladesh. ClickBD is an online marketplace where anyone can sell or buy almost anything.

Why to care: The site has a strong and growing community of users who trade in a wide range of item categories including Electronics, Cameras, Phones, Computers, CDs, Mobiles, Fashion Accessories, Music, and Travel.

Tipping point: Through a world-class technology infrastructure ClickBD enables & simplifies e-commerce for Bangladesh's ever expanding online community.

CellBazar.com

Big Idea: CellBazar.com- Originally designed as a classroom project at MIT, CellBazaar is one of the most successful online and mobile shopping platforms. CellBazaar service (http://www.cellbazaar.com) allows people to buy and sell over mobile phones or computers.

Dig deep: Anyone with a computer and internet, as well as Grameenphone users through their mobile phones are taking advantages of this service. Users can buy agricultural products, such as rice, fish, chicken, as well as large scale items like car, motorcycle, TV, fridge, apartment, land, etc. People can also offer services such as language tutoring (very relevant for migrants going abroad).

Best of: The service is customer focused, who post items for sale, delete items after they are sold, and even adjust their own prices if they fail to get a buyer. For the first time, the producers of agricultural products can directly negotiate price with buyers and agro-processors.

How it works: The technology works on four synchronized platforms -- SMS (send SMS to 3838 to buy and sell), WAP (easy, graphic interface), WEB (viewable by global audience), and IVR (call 3838 to hear latest items).

 Hutbazar.com

Big Idea: Hutbazar.com-Hutbazar.com, a sister concern of Right IT Corporation, pioneered online comparison shopping and today is one of the fastest growing shopping destinations for a comprehensive set of products from thousands of trusted stores from across the Web.

Tipping Point: With a singular focus on shopping, Hutbazar.com offers shoppers easy-to-use search tools, engaging content and time saving navigation.

These are just some front runner of a large number of online shopping players. Most of above mentioned players work on the area of buying and selling others product through their websites. Besides this type of businesses a new type of online shoppoing sites is growing where the site owner own the business means they sell their own products through website.

In next part of this series I will try to shed light on some of those players.

Over to you:

Tell us if you find this article useful.

What do you think about the growing online shopping sites in Bangladesh?

How those sites can better perform/better serve to their customers?

What are major challenges for on-line shopping sites to be successful?


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Ruhul Kader is a technology and business analyst based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Future Startup and author of Rethinking Failure: A short guide to living an entrepreneurial life. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, technology policy, and society. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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