Daraz Bangladesh founded in 2012 is a leading online shopping and selling platform in the country offering a variety of products including consumer electronics, household goods, fashion, and groceries. Syed Mostahidul Hoq, one of the major pioneers of the company, joined Daraz in 2014 as CFO. Before joining Daraz, he also worked for Sports Direct International as an Assistant Manager and also worked for Ahmed Zaker & Co as a Deputy Manager (Audit). Hoq was also a member of Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
Syed Mostahidul Hoq is currently working as a Managing Director of Daraz Bangladesh. In his recent interview, Hoq talked to Fintech team and shared his vast knowledge and experience on e-commerce platform.
I BELIEVE THAT WE REQUIRE BETTER INFRASTRUCTURAL GROUNDS AND TECHNOLOGICAL IMPROVEMENTS IN ORDER TO EXTEND THE HORIZONS OF E-COMMERCE BASED SERVICES
Here is the excerpt for Fintech readers..
Currently, you are the managing director of one of Bangladesh’s largest e-commerce platforms, Daraz Bangladesh. How did this journey begin for you?
I joined Daraz in 2014 as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and played my role responsibly till May 2017, when I became the Managing Director. The journey so far has been similar to a roller-coaster ride, where we had to strive for growth and at the same time put our best to create a sustainable business infrastructure. Since e-commerce was at its very early stage back then, we had to face lots of challenges thatrequired enough time and effort to solve. However, when I look back at the journey, I feel really proud of what we have managed to execute. We have grown from 500 packages a day to more than 120,000 packages a day in the last four years. But what’s more important to me than these numbers is the happy and confident faces of my customers and my Daraz team. Every day we are reassured that we are on the right path, and this is very uplifting.
In your opinion, what do you think instigated the growth of Bangladesh’s digital ecosystem, and, in turn, what were the key factors that made way for Daraz to become the largest e-commerce site in Bangladesh?
The key factors for our growth would be – Technology, Right Business Model, Expertise, and Commitment. We are blessed to get the best possible technological advantages in place, thanks to our guardian Alibaba Group. When you are sound with your operation tools, you feel more composed to front the next level of challenges. Over the years, Daraz has stood out in the market with the innovation of services. This was solely possible because of the cutting-edge tech infrastructure that we have. Then, we always aim to build a business with a long-term vision. We do not venture into things if they are not long-term sustainable and scalable. Our futuristic and business model enables us to always stay ahead of our contemporaries, and that is a major advantage. We have also been able to build a team of e-commerce expertswho know how to run this business. The knowledge sharing with all of the sister concerns within the Alibaba group has been the game-changer for us.Last but not least, our commitment towards the investment needed to build a sustainable businessthat benefits both our customers and us have played another vital role here. Our e-commerce industry is still relatively small and growing. So, it needs all-inclusive ventures where there is something for everyone, and I think Daraz has just the right mentality in this regard.
Daraz recently acquired Hungrynaki – what was the main motive behind this acquisition? Do you think this gives Daraz a competitive advantage in the industry?
Since our inception, our objective is to establish Daraz as the one-stop solution to facilitate our users’ digital lifestyle. We will continue our efforts to strengthen our capabilities in the digital ecosystem while contributing to the growth of the country’s e-commerce ecosystem. To that end, I believe our acquisition of HungryNaki, will help us to reach more people across the country to serve them with services they need at their doorsteps. I am hopeful that our new venture – the food delivery service HungryNaki – is going to thrive in the long run. HungryNaki is the first-ever food delivery business in Bangladesh with a loyal customer base. In one sense, you could say that it was more convenient for us to invest in one such promising process. Now that HungryNaki is under our umbrella, we are aspiring to it into a one-stop solution for all our customers’ needs. Besides, we are also hopeful that, with the proper investment in the e-commerce infrastructure, technological innovation, and human resources, we will be able to take HungryNaki to a new height, which will also play a significant role in expanding and enriching our food delivery service sector.
I SEE HUGE POTENTIAL TO GROW IN THIS MARKET WITH MANY ARRAYS OF BUSINESS STILL UNEXPLORED BY THE CONTEMPORARIES. WE ARE SET TO DELVE DEEP INTO THOSE AND PRESENT THE BEST POSSIBLE SERVICE TO THE CUSTOMERS IN UNIQUE WAYS
With other established food delivery services already operating in the country, how do you think Hungrynaki will distinguish itself to gain the market advantage?
HungryNaki will distinguish itself through technological improvement, loyal customer base, brand value, originality in operations, and a customized approach to customers. We can proudly state that HungryNaki is a 100% Bangladeshi initiative! It has roots deep in our soil and opts to showcase that authenticity in every aspect. Let’s say that we are not looking to establish ourselves as a threat or competitor to the rest of the food delivery services in the country. We stand out with our own signature operational traits that customers would naturally distinguish us within a very short time. As I said earlier, I see huge potential to grow in this market with many arrays of business still unexplored by the contemporaries. We are set to delve deep into those and present the best possible service to the customers in unique ways.
What are your thoughts regarding the integration of food delivery services with the e-commerce industry? In your opinion, which areas of development should the e-commerce sector focus on next?
E-commerce is the foundation of a futuristic digital transformation. We can take examples from developed countries. Hence, it is imperative to sync e-commerce with not just the food delivery services but with every other booming business sector. I believe that we require better infrastructural grounds and technological improvements in order to extend the horizons of e-commerce-based services. As the country’s leading e-commerce platform and inspired with the vision to become a reliable partner of the Digital Bangladesh journey, Daraz is certainly looking for opportunities to spread its endeavor all across the country. Both Daraz and HungryNaki give customer satisfaction the highest priority, so we would love if there were more integrated services to adjoin to our existing ones. For example, we could improve our return and refund systems, keep a better log of our delivery timelines, connect more effectively with our customers for customized feedback. All of such service enhancements would be possible if the e-commerce systems were more developed.