Daraz: Revolutionizing e-commerce in Nepal
As the first e-commerce company to become a part of the mainstream in Nepal, Daraz has come a long way. It has built a platform for buyers and sellers from across the country to connect online by making products accessible to more people, especially during the lockdown.
What started as a start-up in 2018 has grown by 1,500 percent in the past three years. Today, Daraz’s 700 employees and 1,200 sellers cater to more than 1.5 million customers living in 47 different cities across Nepal. It also contributes to the economy with growing employment opportunities, investment in logistics, and payment partnerships.
“E-commerce was almost an entirely new topic for most people in the beginning”, says Lino Ahlering, managing director at Daraz, “But with time, more people are trusting online shopping sites and apps.”
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With the lockdown, as well, Daraz adapted to being more efficient and serving people what they needed in times of crisis. Despite having to reduce its assortment to 20,000 essential products from more than 500,00 during the time of the pandemic, more people started turning to this app for its convenience and accessibility.
“We played our part in convincing the government that e-commerce can be a great help for the country’s economy,” adds Ahlering, “And our alert and agile nature helped more people realize how useful online shopping can be.”
Daraz started as a Pakistan-based online fashion retailer owned by Rocket Internet, a German company. The company focused on creating e-commerce models all around the world. Daraz then spread across other countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The company, which used to manage sales for one seller, is now a platform for thousands of buyers and sellers based in Nepal.
To increase its impact and become one of the first professionalized and wide scaled online shopping platforms, it also started training sellers and building infrastructures for other businesses to flutter as well.
It is a sector that doesn’t make a lot of profit but requires tons of investment in the long run. Daraz managed to start from scratch in terms of the infrastructure it needed to grow in Nepal. It is creating an atmosphere to show that this is a very promising market that requires patience. “Our focus was to take something existing, professionalize it and scale it up to make something much bigger,” says Ahlering, “This massive growth shows how e-commerce picked up in Nepal.”
Focused on young people looking for jobs, Daraz has been providing full and part-time employment to around 1,500 people in different parts of the country. With a local team devoted to giving out the best customer experience to the people, it has adopted an entirely new working module in a short time. Yet, their biggest investments every year go into logistics, building infrastructure, and establishing a system. “At present, after laying a foundation, we are focusing on teaching people about e-commerce,” adds Ahlering.
Daraz is on the verge of becoming a household name. There are more interesting features in the pipeline to enhance the customer experience and make it even more accessible with the feedback it has received. They are also expanding their offices in rural Nepal and bringing in more sellers to reach and promote more local businesses.
Reaching a state of trust was a journey as Daraz was eventually gaining popularity among the people. An accountable team, reassuring products, user-friendly, and promising delivery services won the hearts of many. The connection customers had with the market sparked a desire to keep coming back. Recently, Daraz Livestream was started for young influencers to represent Daraz to showcase what they do. With that, Daraz also holds yearly campaigns with extreme discount offers and vouchers that amplify the dialogue and give the customer an experience they don’t want to miss out on.
Lino Ahlering, Managing director, Daraz
The yearly 11/11 sales have become like a festival. It is one day full of product price discounts, grand sales, banking discounts, and payment partner discounts on all kinds of products. Not just for customers, but this grand sale has also been helping many sellers to come back up after being hugely impacted by the pandemic. “We acknowledge our buyers for their trust and loyalty, and we want to give them something special in return”, says Ahlering. During this time, around 1,500 employees are at work to make the grand sale possible.
Despite the uncertain times, Ahlering, representing the entire team, stands optimistic and looks forward to brighter years for growth. “The pandemic has shown me the power of teamwork,” he shares, “It was a rollercoaster ride and I’ve learned that in times like this, a strong, resilient and motivated team is needed, and we are grateful to have that.
The upcoming 12/12 sale on December 12 is again another grand cherry on top sale for the winter shopping season. Ahlering acknowledges it as, “a perfect way to round up the year.”
“We want to thank our customers for their trust and wrap this year up recapping the journey and celebrating its end.”
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