With the digital economy and e-commerce seen as a potent sector for employment and income generation in Bangladesh, the business insiders underscored the need for specific guidelines for doing fair business here.
They said the business has grown immensely thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But there are a lot of challenges including policy, infrastructure, internet and logistic barriers, fraud sellers and customer mindset in Bangladesh.
The president of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services Syed Almas Kabir shared that the e-commerce business experienced a significant 166 per cent growth in 2020 as consumers moved online for their shopping due to the pandemic.
“There are 36 million active social media users in Bangladesh, of which 8.4 million are Facebook users. The f-commerce market is about Tk 3.12 billion (Tk 312 crore),” he also added.
Shayantani Twisha, head of PR, media and communications at Daraz Bangladesh said that policy, fraud sellers, infrastructure (internet and logistic barriers), and customer mindset are main challenges for the sector.
“Daraz invested Tk 5.0 billion this year for infrastructure development and automation. Many people are unaware aware about e-commerce as it’s a new business platform in Bangladesh. They feel fear to purchase products from the platform. So, a massive awareness is needed. We teach people though our website from 2017 to build trust and awareness,” she added.
Shayantani added some companies are doing mistake willingly, providing duplicate products, cheating with customers. They have no right to do business. So, strong policy is needed here.
The experts also underscored the need for a “standard operating procedure” to flourish the e-commerce business here. Besides, a specific guideline is needed for the sake of both companies and consumers that will harmonize the growth of the sector in a manner fair to all sides.
They called upon the authorities concerned to take proper measures against the website operators who don’t provide conditions on the matter of product delivery time, receiving time, product loss, providing alternative products and payment problems.
However, despite having a sharp growth in sales amid the pandemic, Bangladesh dropped 12 notches in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)’s Business-to-Consumer (B2C) e-Commerce Index 2020 following infrastructure insufficiency.
According to the UNCTAD recent report, Bangladesh ranked 115th, down from 103rd in 2019. Among the South Asian countries, India ranked 71st, Sri Lanka 87th, Nepal 113, Bhutan 114th and Pakistan 116th, reports UNB.
General Secretary of e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB) Abdul Wahed Tomal said the ranking is right. “We have growth in the sales of e-commerce but the rural infrastructure did not develop yet. The logistic services and supply chain are yet to connect rural areas in Bangladesh but in developed countries of the globe, the post offices play a significant role in the distribution channel,” he added.
Vice President of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) SM Nazer Hossain said that the sector is rising potentially in Bangladesh but consumers suffer too.
“We receive huge allegations from consumers. Of them, 80 per cent allegations come from e-commerce platform. After getting the allegations, we get the number off when we call. Actually, they fraud with consumers in various ways,” he added.
Nazer said customers turn away from e-commerce due to the hassle by the cheaters. “More women and silent consumers are harassed more as they don’t want to share the matter with others. So fair business must be ensured to flourish it,” he also added.
He urged e-CAB to cancel membership who fraud with customers. And the government has to play a significant role in this regard, reports UNB.
Source: The Financial Express