eCommerce has proliferated in recent years in Dhaka. According to the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (eCAB), the sector has experienced tremendous growth since 2009, with the number of e-commerce websites increasing five-fold from a mere 100 in 2012 to over 500 in 2015.
Along with the independent sites, there’s a whopping 2000 or so Facebook groups and pages doing business on the web. With the fast growing internet penetration, government support and relaxed regulation, e-commerce is slated to grow even faster in the coming years.
Some reports claim that the sector worth more than BDT 400 Crores a year and growing. However, the sector has its own roadblocks to deal with. Much of the problem causes because of the lack of proper eCommerce orientation among customers whereas small eCommerce owners also don’t spend much time in educating their buyers. Consequently, the entire industry suffers quite a predictable inefficiency.
One of the major problems, as reported by many eCommerce merchants, is fraud. There are instances of getting robbed off of, non-payment after delivery, and more. This is a growing concern for many small eCommerce merchants. A one time incident may cause the entire business.
According to Biplob G. Rahul, CEO of eCourier, one of the fast growing new generation logistics startups in Dhaka, this happens largely because merchants often don’t try to get details about the buyers. They don’t want to make buying difficult for a client. As a result, people who are here for taking chances, take chance.
Although, we are talking about eCommerce here, but in Bangladesh eCommerce has its own way of operations unlike many other markets. Most orders come through facebook, the impossibly popular social media here, and through call center. Consequently, when someone places an order merchants often record the bare minimum of information and seldom maintain a database except for few big players.
Recently, eCourier has published a list of areas in Dhaka city where most eCommerce frauds occur. We have been delivering products for ecommerce for years now, says Biplob, and we have tried to track and keep record of areas in Dhaka where most ecommerce delivery frauds happen.
eCourier has identified these regions as risky zones for delivery after a certain time in the day and advice merchants to collect details information of clients when they receive orders from these areas.
The above map shows the most risky areas for eCommerce delivery in Dhaka. The areas with red dots are the zones you should be careful of. When taking order from these areas, as Biplob said, take details of your customers and consider a time specific delivery.
How to prevent fraud
Although, fraud is a growing concern but it should not be a sustained problem. Here are the few tips to prevent fraud while running your eCommerce business:
Collect and verify details of your customer: Collect details information about your customer. When you take orders over phone, make sure your note proper address of your client and later on document it into your database.
Maintain a time-bound delivery: If you feel uncomfortable about an order, take advantage of a time-bound delivery that works for you. Probably, morning is the best time to delivery for a risky area.
Avoid Cash on delivery [COD] for big budget items: When you are selling something really expensive and of big budget, try to avoid COD and ask your customer to use either credit card/online payment or bKash.
Educate your customers: Most of the eCommerce orders come through Facebook now and many merchants don’t even maintain any order procedure which is detrimental for long term growth and causes more harm than benefits over the time. Encourage your customers to place order through your website or designated form.
About the sponsor: This story is made possible in part by our friends at eCourier Limited, a next generation logistics company based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, whose generosity enables us to publish premium stories online at no cost to our readers. Thank you, eCourier, for teaming up with us in 2016.