The future of shopping is online: Carmudi

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Carmudi-300Online shopping transactions in Bangladesh could increase ten-fold over the next four years, thanks to time-saving benefits and growing popularity of internet, said a top official of Carmudi.

The annual value of the country’s e-shopping may rise to Tk 2,000 crore in 2017 from Tk 200 crore today, Ashiqur Rahman, country manager of Carmudi.com.bd, a classified car ad site, told The Daily Star in an interview recently.

“The IT ecosystem has improved a lot in Bangladesh over the last several years. The country has launched 3G services, eased payment systems and introduced mobile banking. These will enhance the growth of e-trading.”

As of July, the total number of internet subscribers stands at 3.9 crore, according to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission. Of them, 1.5 crore are regular internet users.

Rahman, who joined the online marketplace for cars in July, said classified ad sites for cars account for 10 percent of the total e-commerce market in Bangladesh that is growing by 25 percent annually.

Carmudi, which launched its Bangladesh operations last year, posts classified ads for both reconditioned and brand new cars, commercial vehicles and motorcycles.

The site has 15,000 ads at present, 60 percent of which are cars and commercial vehicles and the rest motorcycles.

Rahman, who holds an MBA from the Institute of Business Administration, said showroom owners are increasingly turning to online marketplaces as it boosts their sales potential.

Carmudi, which normally charges showroom owners between Tk 500 and Tk 1,000 for each unit of sales, has agreements with around 450 reconditioned car sellers from Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet.

The site offers the most popular brands in Bangladesh such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi, with 95 percent of the vehicles sold being Toyota models Premio, Allion, Axio, Corolla, Fielder, Hiace and Prado.

Backed by Rocket Internet, one of the world’s largest e-commerce focused venture capital firms and startup incubators, Carmudi hopes to break-even in two years.

“The demand for cars is increasing in Bangladesh thanks to the rising income levels,” said Rahman, who also holds a mechanical engineering degree from the Islamic University of Technology.

The company now has 35 full-time employees, with plans to take on 65 more over the next two years.

He tipped e-commerce, of which there are more than 50 players in the country including names like bikroy.com, ekhanei.com, olx.com.bd and rokomari.com, to overtake telecoms in terms of hires within the next five years.

Rocket Internet’s other notable ventures include the Indian fashion and lifestyle e-commerce portal Jabong.com, global food delivery platform foodpanda/hellofood and property listings site Lamudi.

News Source: The Daily Star

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