Pickaboo, the Dhaka-based eCommerce company, has made its foray into brick-and-mortar retail with its inaugural store being launched on Feb 5, 2020, which means Pickaboo users now can buy mobile phones and gadgets online as well offline from Pickaboo stores.
Pickaboo went through a challenging time in the past two years. The opening of its first retail outlet in the city’s Bashundhara Shopping Mall indicates that the company is getting ready to put all that behind.
The company says it plans to open 30 offline stores in the country's divisional and major district-level cities by 2020 and aims to use these outlets as collection points for Pickaboo online customers and Pickaboo exclusive services like EMI, Temporary mobile support during servicing, exchange and pick and drop after-sales service.
The idea, apparently, is to connect Pickaboo’s online operation with an equally important offline one that will help the company benefit in a few ways: 1) new growth opportunities 2) creating a hyperlocal ecommerce delivery model 3) building trust and improving brand image and 4) creating stronger competitive moats.
Increasingly, digital commerce and offline retail are crossing boundaries. We have seen companies like Amazon in the US and Alibaba in China to invest heavily in physical retail as part of their aggressive expansion plans. In China, in fact, ‘O2O, online to offline, has become a dominant trend and the trend has taken off in entire Southeast Asia in recent times.
In Bangladesh, there are a few online retailers who are exploring opportunities at the intersection of online and offline. There are companies like Styline, the modest fashion retailers, that has launched its own retail outlets. And then there are companies like Khaas Food and Deligram that are trying to tie a franchisee-led and an agent-led distribution model with digital commerce, respectively. None of these models can be called successful as yet. It will take some more time to call a verdict on these models.
Started in 2016, Pickaboo quickly became one of the leading eCommerce players in Dhaka. Excellent customer service, authentic products, and effective marketing helped the company quickly rise in the rank of ecommerce competition in Dhaka. After two years of excellent run, the company suffered through a series of challenges.
Getting into offline retail is the first major move from Pickaboo in a while. While the competition in ecommerce has grown in the past two years, the digital commerce scene in Dhaka is far from a settled market. The industry is still very much in its early days. Pickaboo, if it can pull off an online and offline play in ecommerce, can very well become one of the dominant players in Dhaka’s digital commerce scene.