Ajkerdeal, the mass market focused ecommerce marketplace, aspires to be much more than selling fashion and electronics accessories and gadgets. In an interview with Future Startup on 12 April, CEO Fahim Mashroor played up Ajkerdeal’s plan to expand into travel booking and other new services.
“We are also adding new services to our platforms such as travel and tour services and other relevant services by working with partners.,” Mr. Mashroor said. “We plan to explore these areas further in the coming days.”
By facilitating many types of everyday commerce and services, Ajkerdeal is trying to build a platform that becomes the destination for many products and services. Since its pivot to a marketplace model, it has explicitly mentioned that it aims to be the Taobao of Bangladesh. It has solely been focusing on growing its merchants base and making the platform useful to the merchants. It now has over 5000 merchants on its platform.
Adding more products and services makes sense for the company from a long-term strategic perspective. I wrote in Ajkerdeal’s Strategy:
In reality, every marketplace is an aggregator of some sort. Some are pure aggregators, for instance, Facebook and others are with some limitations. Which means Ajkerdeal and many other marketplaces that operate in Dhaka are aggregators of some sort.
Now the internet is a distinct medium and dynamics are different on the internet. As an aggregator, Ajkerdeal is essentially a two-sided inter-dependent marketplace which means one side affects the other side.
Let me give you an example, as a merchant I will join the aggregator that brings me more businesses. Similarly, as a user, I will certainly use the aggregator that offers me the largest number of options or varieties. Meaning, if I have a large merchants base, the likely reality is that I will be able to attract a large number of end-users as well because ultimately customers will go to the platform that offers maximum variety and vice versa.
Now when you reach a critical mass of merchants which allows you to attract a large number of customers, it makes it easy for you to attract more merchants from that point onward making the competition hard for other players. In fact, once you ensure sales, it is easier to attract any merchant, be it a big brand or a small seller.
Having said that, Dhaka’s eCommerce space is far from drawing a conclusion. The battle is just getting started. There are some very formidable players in the market including Pickaboo, which is in the process of raising a new round of investment, Zero Gravity Ventures, which has just raised an investment, Shwapno, which is planning to expand beyond grocery, and a few other players.