Online shopping brings convenience, a wide assortment and good pricing, once you are adept to technology and have the necessary infrastructure; an internet connection and a device. Access to expertise and technology have been identified as two of the main barriers to the widespread adoption of e-commerce in Sri Lanka. Daraz has developed the concept of ‘Daraz-Stores’ to address this obstacle – roadside shops that give their customers access to order from the wide range of items on Daraz without the need of expertise or technology.
“The mechanism of a Daraz-Stores is simple,” explains Friso Wesseling – Head of Localization for Daraz. “If you want to purchase an item that is not available in your village or a shop close to you, you simply go to your local Daraz-Store and ask the shopkeeper to place an online order on your behalf. You can choose your item by going through the magazines that are available in the store or by browsing the app with the shop-owner. Once the order is made, you can opt to collect it from the store or get it delivered to your doorstep.” he adds.
For consumers who are not comfortable shopping online, Daraz Stores will be an intermediary step that provides the experience, without the requirement of being tech savvy or investing in a data connection be it a phone in Sri Lanka or a makeup set you can get access to each and everything. Added to this is the wide range of assortments that become available to customers to shop from, across categories such as electronics, mobile phones, fashion, laptops, and accessories.
The shop owners who are identified to be Daraz- Stores receive a comprehensive training on how to use the Daraz online shopping app, place orders and even handle returns.. The stores are branded free of charge as Daraz merchandise has been made available. “Daraz Store owners obtain a huge advantage because they can sell more than the items in their physical shop and earn through it. Instead of 500 products, they have access to over 500,000 products to sell. There is no need for them to go through the process of purchasing, storing, pricing and branding. It makes them a part of the whole e-commerce technology value chain and also makes the particular Daraz-Store act as the Daraz Hub for their selected area,” stated Friso.
“One of Daraz’s mandates is to empower local communities. Through technology, we hope to enable both local shops and the communities they serve to access a broad range of products and services. By launching Daraz-Stores, we aim to keep local shops as part of the value chain, providing our customers with a trusted point of contact.” Rakhil Fernando, Managing Director Daraz.
This innovative concept creates an opportunity for Daraz to engage with offline customers and build their trust in e-commerce, which is a stepping stone to introduce them into the world of online shopping. It extends the objective of developing the contribution of online retail to the local economy, which at present stands at a mere 0.5-1%. Around 120 Daraz Stores are currently in operation in Colombo, Kandy, Galle, Kegalle, Negombo, Jaffna and Kurunegala, and will expand further in future.