Mohammad Rassel: Evaly’s Ambition Is To Dominate The eCommerce Market in Bangladesh
Evaly started with an ambition to build an everything store of Bangladesh. The company has a long way to go before it becomes the everything store. However, it has made some significant headway.
Within a year of launching, the company has become one of the leaders in the ecommerce industry in Bangladesh effectively putting a strong fight with Alibaba owned Daraz for dominance.
“Our ambition is to become the dominant player in Bangladesh,” says Mohammad Rassel, Founder, and CEO of Evaly. “We are only a year old company and in terms of numbers and growth, we are neck-to-neck with Daraz in almost every area.”
Over the past one year, Evaly has, to some extent, shaken up the entire ecommerce market in Dhaka. With an aggressive push for growth, extensive investment in brand building, and an ingenious operational strategy the company has become a leading local ecommerce player in Bangladesh. The company says it aims higher.
“The ecommerce market in Dhaka is ascending fast,” Mr. Rassel says, “and the future of ecommerce is going to be very different.” Mr. Rassell says that Evaly is among the few local companies to have an extraordinary growth and is on pace with a formidable competitor like Daraz that has the backup from Alibaba.
An impressive number
From the beginning, Evaly has focused extensively on growing its number. eCommerce has suffered from dwindling numbers when it came to GMV in Dhaka for a while. Evaly says it has changed that equation.
With a focus on high-value items such as motorbikes, AC, refrigerator, mobile phones, and other high-value products and a competitive incentive model for customers, Evaly has quickly been able to grow its number. The company is already a dominant player in high-value products – products that cost above BDT 10,000.
“We are significantly ahead in selling high-value items from the market,” says Mr. Rassel. “In fact, we are ahead of Daraz in many verticals, he adds. The company says it has sold more motorbikes and other high-value products than any other players in the market including Daraz.
Between September-October this year, Evaly had a net GMV of $7.5M, which is higher than almost all ecommerce players in the market. The company says it plans to cross tk. 130 crore in sales in December. It has already put forward a series of lucrative campaigns.
Over the past two months, Evaly has seen a 400% growth in customers and the company says it will cross Daraz in the number of unique customers in the next year.
Evaly has also seen impressive growth in its app download. The company has added impressive features to its platforms such as social feed, messaging and so on to improve customer engagement.
It has also built the largest ecommerce fan groups on Facebook. Evaly Fan group on Facebook has over 100k members. Daraz has the second-largest fan group. “Not only social media fans, but we are also ahead of Daraz in many verticals,” says Mr. Rassel.
The company says it would have been far ahead in terms of unique customers had it accepted orders below tk. 500. Currently, Evaly does not accept orders below tk. 500. “If we withdraw this range, we will easily go past the leader in the commerce space.”
While Evaly continues to grow as a company. It remains a lean operation. “We have built rather an efficient operation management. In spite of having a sales figure close to that of Daraz, our operation is significantly lean. Our team is meaningfully smaller,” says Mr. Rassel.
Over the past months, Evaly has invested heavily in building brand awareness across the country.
The company has wider brand recognition among ecommerce players in Bangladesh. It is one of the few digital startups in Dhaka to put ads during a cricket match. Evaly was one of the regular advertisers during the recent T20 between Bangladesh and India that took place in India a few weeks ago.
The company continues to invest in building brand awareness through a myriad of ways.
Evaly started with an ambition to build an everything store of Bangladesh. The company says it has made solid progress towards the goal. It has a growing number of sellers – all types of them, including brand sellers, big retailers, and small offline retailers. “We have offline retailers coming online for the first time using Evaly. Evaly has also been able to attract a significant number of small facebook and online sellers who are now using Evaly as their online home,” says Mr. Rassel.
The company says it has been building its web and app from the ground up because it wanted to build custom features that allow it to become the everything store. The company has also built a diverse platform where you can find every type of product.
“On the product front, we have sold almost all types of products. We are only lagging in fashion items. Other than that, we are going for all the other items. We sold cars. We sold rod and cement, jewelry, grocery and everything in between,” says Mr. Rassel. “We have achieved about 40% of our initial goal regarding everything store. However, we are still far from creating one.”
An ingenious strategy in-line with global retail strategy
“The main reason behind the slow ecommerce adaptation in Bangladesh is because of a lack of incentives for users,” says Mr. Rassel. “People say convenience is what they are offering. But convenience is not a strong enough incentive. Evaly’s current growth shows that if you could offer the right incentive, people are willing to shop online. We are expecting a major change in customer behavior within the next year.”
From day one, Evaly has focused on offering price benefits to customers which goes well with the established norm of retail success across the world – offer great collection at the best price and win. Walmart has applied this in large scale retail and now Amazon is doing the same to online retail.
Evaly says it aims to do it in Bangladesh. Customers anywhere in the world prefer a better price. Price is how Walmart has built Walmart – everyday low price. Price is how best of the retail companies across the world attract customers and retains them.
Sustainability and profitability
“We are a much more stable company today,” says Mr. Rassel. There have questions regarding how Evaly manages to provide consistent incentives to customers to shop on Evaly. The company says it has figured out a meaningful approach to doing it.
“We have plans and strategies in place that we believe would allow us to deal with this challenge and be a profitable operation while offering the best price to our customers. I can’t disclose the details but we are working on things that you would come to see in the future.”
There are some complaints regarding Evaly service, particularly with lengthy delivery time it takes to deliver goods to customers.
The company says it is aware of the matter and it regrets the limitation. However, it says Evaly has taken meaningful initiatives to address some of the challenges regarding customer experience in the past months. The customer service has improved over the past months and will continue to improve as it has been paying attention to the matter of late.
Mr. Rassel says dealing with large items has many limitations which sometimes affect delivery time. However, he stresses that “all of our customers get their products delivered. We ensure that part religiously. At the same time, we are working hard to ensure that we improve our service quality and our customers get better experience shopping.”
“If you consider the overall ecommerce landscape in Dhaka, we are the second largest in terms of sales volume and revenue,” says Mr. Rassel.
“We have achieved this in six months. Our promise to provide the best value to our customers has helped us to achieve this growth.”
The company says it aims to become the number one and will be able to surpass Daraz in the next few months.
On the investment side, Evaly remains a local company. However, the company says it has been in conversation with a host of international VCs and eCommerce players for potential collaboration and says 2020 is going to be an interesting year for Evaly.
Ecommerce has been seeing fantastic growth over the past few years in Bangladesh. Digital commerce has already become a dominant trend in many markets and Bangladesh is catching up fast. The impact of social media and smartphone adoption across the country is showing its impact on how people shop. With all the positive economic trends that are going for Bangladesh, tech has been getting all the positive signals in Dhaka. “The next few years are going to be very exciting for ecommerce in Bangladesh,” says Mr. Rassel.