Category Archives: Retail

Online stores get more hits

Online stores get more hits
Sohel Parvez

Online shopping is becoming popular in Bangladesh, encouraging new entrants to open e-portals for consumer goods and household essentials.

In the past one year, nearly a dozen online shopping portals or e-trading platforms launched operations, offering products and services from vegetables, clothes, computer accessories to books and travel tickets, said IT sector insiders.

The trend started after Bangladesh Bank cleared ways for payment by debit and credit card in the local currency.

“The extent of visits and deals made through these online portals is rising,” said AKM Fahim Mashroor, chief executive of, a leading online job portal. opened an online trading platform,, six months ago to promote client merchants’ products and services to consumers at discounted prices.

Of the portals that came into operation last year, at least 10 received good responses. Some 5,000-10,000 visitors visit these online platforms on a regular basis, said Mashroor, also the senior vice present of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS).

Thanks to growing internet penetration, shopping portals have received impetus, widening scope for a buyer to purchase goods sitting at home.

An increased use of internet-enabled mobile phones also added vigour to online shopping. Some online stores have already kept provisions to place orders by mobile phone.

Now 50 lakh people use the internet daily and 25 lakh people have a Facebook account in Bangladesh, he said.

Bangladesh’s headway in online retailing coincides at a time when online portals account for a major share of daily retail trade in the developed world.

In China and India, these sites are becoming popular because of the convenience, according to IT sector insiders.

It gives customers scope to buy products at prices lower than the rates quoted in showrooms, Mashroor said. An entrepreneur can offer products at low prices because online platforms save on operational costs like showroom rent.

“So, it is a good platform for small and medium enterprises to market their products,” said Mashroor.

“Our aim is to build a platform to reduce the number of hands in the supply chain by selling producers’ goods directly to consumers,” said Ataur Rahman, director of Future Solution Business (FSB).

The company launched an online portal — — to sell vegetables, fish and handicrafts to people in urban areas earlier this year. is a component of the Amar Desh Amar Gram e-commerce initiative of FSB, which took the step to establish an ICT based network to connect rural producers with consumers in the city and vice versa.

“The prices of vegetables and other products that we offer usually are lower than market prices,” said Rahman, adding that the firm receives orders online and over the phone and they deliver goods home on a weekly basis.

“When we started, we had 20 clients. Now we supply to 50 families in Dhaka,” he said. “Many producers are linked with us through our IT centres at production areas.”

Shameem Ahsan, chief executive of another e-commerce firm, said the company is registering fast growth due to rising demand.

“We offer products that are highly discounted,” he said, adding that already 10,000 people have bought products through since its launch in June last year.

Ahsan said the portal has the option to pay online by card or in cash for home delivery. It also provides discount coupons if clients visit the stores physically.

Some 150 merchants are linked with that promotes clothes, electronic gadgets, mobile phones, travel packages and restaurants.

“We receive many orders from different parts of the country,” he said.

However, some bottlenecks hinder the fast growth of e-commerce. Many banks, fearing fraud, still keep debit and credit cards inactive for online transactions for security reasons.

Mashroor said the central bank should prepare guidelines for banks and other service providers to prevent fraud in online transactions. For companies, there should be scope for insurance against frauds, he said.

At the same, the number of debit or credit card users is also lower than the current internet users, said Mashroor.


Walton announces New Year offer

Walton announces New Year offer
News Report

Walton, a popular brand of R.B. Group of Companies Ltd, country’s leading electrical, electronics and automobile manufacturing and marketing company, has announced a two-month long mega sales festival to gear up the sales of its products.

The mega sales festival titled ‘Walton in Every House Festival 2012 will begin today (Sunday), the first day of the New Year and will continue till February 29..
R.B. Group held a press conference to announce this at Hotel Ruposhi Bangla in the city on Sunday.

Emdadul Haque Sarkar, marketing director of RB Group, Humayon Kabir, director, public relations and media, SM Zahid Hasan, management adviser, Udoy Hakim, senior deputy director (creative and publication), and Enayet Ferdous, media adviser were present at the press conference.

The press conference was informed that on the occasion of the festival the company will give special gift items worth about Tk one crore after every purchase of Walton brand product.

Udoy Hakim read out a written statement at the conference. According to the statement, customers will get a scratch card or gift card in every purchase of Walton brand product and rubbing the cards they will win certain gifts including motorcycle, LCD and LED television, colour television, refrigerators, air-conditioner, DVD player, mobile set, STM net and LED lamp.

Customers who will purchase Walton brand motorcycle will get two gift card in one purchase and those who will buy LCD, LED television, colour television, refrigerators and microwave oven will get one card in every purchase, Udoy Hakim informed the conference.

Replying to a query, Emdadul Haque Sarkar said Walton has introduced a new dimension in the electronics industry. He said that Walton played the biggest role in the industry with 44 per cent investment of the Tk 4500 crore electronics industry.

Production at the third refrigerator factory is going into operation soon and planning of setting up fourth factory is in final stage, Emdadul Haque Sarkar informed.
Humayon Kabir said that the company is planning to increase its refrigerator production capacity mentioning that all refrigerators supplied in the market were sold four days before Eid-ul-Azha, which shows demand for the product in local market rose beyond speculation.

At present the company is manufacturing 10 lakh unit of refrigerators a year. In 2012 the company will manufacture 14 lakh unit of refrigerators, Udoy Hakim said.

Enayet Ferdous said customers will also be able to purchase Walton brand products at cheap rate during the festival. Walton brand products have created huge enthusiasm among the customers as the products are being manufactured locally at its own factory at Chandra in Gazipur considering the demand of local customers, he said.

The offer will be available at Walton pavilion at the Dhaka International Trade Fair 2012, which begins today (Sunday) and every showroom of the brand across the country.

e-payment gateway in the offing

e-payment gateway in the offing
Unb, Dhaka

The central bank has taken an initiative to set up e-payment gateway to expand internet banking and e-commerce in the country, said its chief Atiur Rahman yesterday.

“I hope the e-payment gateway will start functioning in the first quarter of 2013,” Bangladesh Bank governor said.

He spoke while inaugurating the ‘Easy Pay’ system of ICB Islamic Bank under Bangladesh Electronic Fund Transfer Network (BEFTN) in the capital.

He said inter operability among the terminals of automated teller machine and point of sales will be ensured across the country through this e-payment gateway, and it will help expand e-commerce in the country.

“The recent progress in the payment system is part of the central bank’s sincere efforts to ensure the development of the country’s banking sector,” he said.

He said clients now can transfer funds safely and quickly at affordable cost under the BEFTN.

Social business enters restaurant sector

Social business enters restaurant sector

Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus, middle, chairman of Yunus Centre, and Miki Watanabe, right, chief executive officer of Watami Group, shake hands along with Masaharu Okada, left, executive director of Grameen Creative Lab at Kyushu University in Japan, at a deal signing ceremony in Dhaka yesterday. Yunus Centre and Watami Group will set up restaurants in Bangladesh. Photo: Yunus Centre

Star Business Report

Japan’s leading food and beverage brand Watami Group yesterday signed a joint venture agreement with the Yunus Centre to establish a social business in the restaurant sector in Bangladesh.

A number of restaurants would be set up across the country under the joint venture that aims to produce quality food through its outlets.

Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, chairman of Yunus Centre, and Miki Watanabe, chief executive officer of Watami Group, signed the agreement at Yunus Centre in Dhaka.

The objective of the social business joint venture is to create jobs, provide healthy food and promote local cuisine and training for food service professionals, said the Nobel laureate.

The social business pioneer also said the restaurants would not be only set up in the capital city, but also in many other cities across the country.

The Japanese company will provide training and management skills to produce quality dishes at affordable prices in order to set up the first restaurant in Bangladesh by 2014, said Watanabe.

He also said the venture could generate about 3,000 jobs. He also showed interest to replicate the social business venture in other markets where his company operates, if its Bangladesh’s venture becomes successful.

The joint venture aims to spread the business in the rural parts of Bangladesh as well and also setting up training schools for young people to become professional chefs for both domestic and international employment. As a social business, neither Watami Group nor Yunus Centre will be receiving any profit from this joint venture.

The Yunus Centre is the global hub for all social businesses around the world, including microcredit, health care services and environment.

Watami Group is the top food and beverage brand in Japan. The company has grown into 600 restaurants in Japan and 30 other outlets overseas in a short span of 25 years.

Revnex to unveil consumer products

Revnex to unveil consumer products
Star Business Report

Revnex (BD) Ltd, a marketing company, plans to launch a new brand early next month to manufacture and sell consumer and basic products, officials said yesterday.

It will introduce pilau rice, pedal-husked rice, nazirshail rice, turmeric, chili, coriander and cumin powder, sugar, salt, natural drinking water, vitamin water, honey, egg white, noodles, biscuits, chocolate and candy under the brand “Tiara”.

All products of the brand will be marketed through traditional marketing as well as network marketing system, said Pintu Biswas, managing director of the company, at a press briefing at La Vinci Hotel in Dhaka.

The company has set up a factory and installed machinery in Gazipur to produce the consumer and basic products with an investment of Tk 200 crore, said Mohammad Jashim, assistant general manager of Revnex.

The company also plans to set up three to four factories to produce more branded products, he added.

Monir Haider Chowdhury, general manager of the company, also spoke.

Brisk sale of refrigerator ahead of Eid

Brisk sale of refrigerator ahead of Eid

Customers at a refrigerator showroom to select their choice of brand as the sale of refrigerators has reached its peak in all showrooms and marketplaces in the city in the advent of holy Eid-ul-Azha.

As the holy Eid-ul-Azha approaches, the sale of refrigerators has reached its peak in all showrooms and marketplaces in the city, reports BSS.

Different companies including Walton Hi-Tech Industries Ltd, a local pioneer in manufacturing refrigerator, have beefed up the item’s sales offering competitive price, price discounts and improved services.

While visiting electronics showrooms, this correspondent found that outlets were buzzing with customers to buy home appliances as per their taste and attitude.

“Our sale has increased 300 per cent during the last few days and the sale will go up further three or four days ahead of Eid,” Amdadul Hoque Sarker, director (marketing) of WALTON, told the news agency.

Sarkar described the period as one of the important seasons of a year from sellers’ point of view and said, “Normally we sell on an average 2,000 units of refrigerator per day while the sales go up to 4000 units during Eid-ul-Azha.”

“We have sold all-time 10,259 units of refrigerator only on October 1 and the sales will boom after two or three more days,” he added.

He said prices of our refrigerator are at the purchasing power of middle-class people unlike foreign products available in the country. As for example, he said, price of a refrigerator is Taka 38,500 while it will cost over Taka 60,000.

Emranul Kabir, executive of sales and marketing of Esquire Electronics, said, “Our sale has increased about 20 per cent, and may go up to 50 per cent in the coming days before Eid.”

“We usually sell double refrigerator during the month before Eid-ul-Azha compared to other months,” said Nasiruzzaman (Nasir), Manager of AB Electronics.

It is a common phenomenon that ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, consumers buy refrigerator, television, blender, rice cooker, and microwave woven to ease their living, said the industry people.

Low-priced Chinese mobiles take on known brands

Low-priced Chinese mobiles take on known brands

Mobile phone sets of different brands are on display at a shop at Bashundhara City in Dhaka. The photo was taken on Monday. — New Age photo

Shakhawat Hossaim

Sales of low-priced Chinese origin mobiles marked a high growth in recent times in Bangladesh challenging the domination of leading global mobile brands, experts and traders said.

Brand giants such as Nokia, Samsumg, LG, Siemens, Sagem and Sony Eriksson which dominated the market even two years ago are now facing challenges these days from lesser known brands such as Symphony, Maximus, Sprint, Digital and I-Max.

‘Most of such non-brand Chinese sets account for about 60 per cent of the monthly sales volume,’ the Bangladesh Mobile Phone Businessmens’ Association president, Nizam Uddin Ziku, said.

He told New Age customers, especially low-end users, were showing less interest in known brands which sell for double the prices of Chinese origin sets but have less features.

Users also feel comfortable as importers give a year’s warranty for such Chinese sets, said an official of the Siemens Bangladesh, which started marketing Maximus two years ago.

On an average at least a million new mobiles are sold in Bangladesh every month as the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission statistics show the number of new connections increased to 53.83 million till January from 50.51 million in November 2009.

Market operators have said traders have sold mobiles worth Tk 300 crore each month in the recent past.

They said official dealers had almost stopped selling brands such as Motorola, Siemens, Sagem and Sony Eriksson in the local market.

Many of them have rather started marketing low-priced Chinese origin sets to stay competitive against market leaders Nokia and Samsung, they said.

Rageebul Kabir, managing director of the CMPL Nokia, a major distributor of Nokia brand in Bangladesh, said in July 2009 that import of a large quantity of non-brand Chinese mobile had posed worries for traders of mobiles of reputed brands.

There are around 300 mobile importers in Bangladesh, according to statistics available with the telecoms regulatory commission. But only 30 to 40 businessmen are active. Almost all mobile imports are from China.

The mobile phone businessmen’s association president said, ‘All mobiles come from China but we supply sets for low prices.’