Naresh Krishnan, Head of Marketing and Traffic Ops Daraz Sri Lanka
With a mere 1% of the retail market, online retail is a high potential industry in countries of the South Asian region. Introducing the technology and knowledge to countries such as Sri Lanka has always been a challenge, as a result of varying barriers such as infrastructure, logistics and finance. At the event of completing 2 years since inception in Sri Lanka, Naresh Krishnan – Head of Marketing and Traffic Ops of Daraz Sri Lanka spoke about how the online retail platform has been revolutionized and the many enabling systems that have been introduced, for sellers and buyers alike.
According to Naresh, the online retail industry has undergone remarkable change over the past 2 years, with FMCG giants beginning to use the platform in large scale. The trend is a global shift as one sees all major brands investing more on online retail, as they see where the future lies. Sri Lanka too is fast absorbing the tendency where one sees many FMCG, mobile, automobile, health and beauty, and electronic brands increasing their online presence. The wide range of brands accessible on Daraz.lk is evidence enough for this growing trend. “With our success in sales such as Black Friday, we saw a leap in the number of merchants, from well-known brands wanting to join us. They have realized that online retail allows them to engage with their customers better. This has been a boost for the platform, and as a result we have been constantly trying to empower them more by introducing new systems,” stated Naresh.
Accordingly, as Daraz Turns 2, the company introduced an upscale seller system which enables the sellers to build their own brand. Daraz has developed a Smart Selling system, which breaks away from the traditional listing of a product on the platform under several categories. Through this merchants on Daraz receive their own store which can be designed according to their preference and used as their website to which other digital platforms can be connected and the traffic directed to it. As Daraz takes care of the infrastructure, logistics and customer care, the seller can concentrate on building the brand. In addition, sellers can create their own sales, vouchers and promotions. The Seller App which will be launched in the near future will enable sellers to monitor their sales in real-time and on the go, providing more selling opportunities.
Apart from focusing on the direct selling facilities, Daraz has also concentrated on enhancing the support service for a seamless process. The company has developed their own logistics arm with its own fleet to ensure timely distribution. In addition to a warehouse in Kelaniya, Daraz also owns a sorting center in Armour Street. 11 Daraz hubs in key towns in the island ensure the widespread reach, as the hubs have their own teams including a customer service agent, store manager and logistics wing. With these systems in place, sellers are ensured of speedy and safe delivery to their customers. The internal support system also includes a separate Seller Support team which exclusively addresses issues of the merchants. “We at Daraz are very ambitious. We are preparing ourselves for the future market while serving at the present. Therefore our goal is not to only increase traffic to the platform and sell, but also ensure that a reliable system is put to place,” commented Naresh.
The Daraz Seller University is an initiative no other platform has created for local merchants. This includes the Seller Self Sign-up system which enables merchants to sign up digitally without the hassle of manual documentation or personally meeting agents from Daraz. The University consists of an online course for merchants, which on completion ensures that they are able to use the whole system efficiently; from effective selling to creating promotions, store branding, packaging your product, dispatching and payment collection. As a result Daraz has around 20 – 30 sellers signing up on a daily basis.
Naresh further stated, “Operating in 5 countries in the South Asian region, Daraz is one of the biggest players in the market. With our affiliation to Alibaba, we have further developed our technology and know-how, which we are keen to bring to Sri Lanka. We have seen an amazing response from the local merchants, as they are interested to learn and try out the new systems. Within a few days of the launch they were building their own stores, and creating their own promotions. This is what we want to see happening and we do our best to create a platform that is efficient and enabling for sellers. We are eager to see these systems falling to place as Daraz Turns 2”.
All these systems were launched alongside the 2nd anniversary and is a smaller stepping stone to the next big campaign that Daraz will be introducing to Sri Lanka; 11/11. Also known as the ‘Singles’ Day’, 11/11 is one of the world’s biggest online sales, surpassing Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Sri Lanka will be fortunate to experience 11/11 for the very first time through Daraz.