The growing demand from rural parts of the country and unbearable traffic in the capital have turned out to be a boon for e-commerce sites ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, with many recording 30 percent higher orders than last Eid.
The improvements in the delivery system and accessibility of internet across the country have also worked in the e-tailers’ favour.
“We are processing almost double the orders than last Eid-ul-Fitr,” said Biplob G Rahul, chief executive officer of eCourier, an e-commerce product delivery service company.
The company has been processing more than 10,000 orders a day since last week and Rahul expects the order volume to stay this way until the 25th of Ramadan.
And to maintain the momentum, the company has introduced same day delivery service in Dhaka, capitalising on the staggering traffic congestion.
Though eCourier mostly delivers in cities, its orders from rural parts have soared too.
“Customers in rural parts have very limited shopping options, so e-commerce sites with their variety have been godsend for them,” said AKM Fahim Mashroor, CEO of AjkerDeal.
Of the site’s total orders this Ramadan, 75 percent are from outside the city, up from 50 percent last year, he said.
AjkerDeal is now using postal channels for delivering products to rural areas, so people in villages can also purchase products from them, said Mashroor, also a director of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS).
Currently AjkerDeal is delivering 30 percent of their orders through the post offices and this delivery option was not available even just a year ago.
Mashroor expects the share of orders from rural parts to edge up to 80 percent next Eid-ul-Fitr. Daraz, another top e-commerce player, is also using postal delivery channels to break into the rural market.
Mirajul Huq, chief executive officer of Bagdoom, also acknowledged the role of congestion in the city to the company’s higher sales this Eid, the peak shopping season in Bangladesh.
The host of discounts and cashbacks that the different banks and digital financial service providers are offering have also tempted customers to doing their Eid shopping through the online platforms.
“Until Monday we have noticed about 100 percent growth over last Eid,” Huq said, adding that he expects the numbers to rise further once all service holders get their festival bonuses.
Bagdoom is expecting to sell a good number of devices, television sets and some other high-end electronic appliances because of the cricket World Cup, which starts on May 30, he added.
To piggyback on the growing trend for online shopping, some retailers like Aarong are also pushing their online shopping option. The company has developed the ecosystem as well as a mobile app for online shopping.
Aarong too saw its orders on the online channel more than double this Eid, said Mohammad Ashraful Alam, its chief operating officer.
As of now, online orders account for just 1.25 percent of Aarong’s total sales.
“But the numbers are increasing every day,” Alam said, adding that expatriate Bangladeshis are shopping online the most to send Eid gifts for their loved ones at home.
Currently, there are 1,000 e-commerce entrepreneurs in Bangladesh, while another 1,000 run their business via Facebook.
The country’s total e-commerce market size is about Tk 1,500-2,000 crore a year, and it is growing at 50 percent, according to the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh.
At present, there are 9.31 crore active internet connections in the country, according to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.