E-Commerce guidelines on cards

Jannatul Islam

20 January, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The government is developing a standard operating procedure (SOP) guideline for e-commerce companies to improve service quality as the sector has experienced significant growth during the pandemic situation.

Electronic commerce or e-commerce is a business model that let firms and individuals buy and sell goods online.

The commerce ministry will finalise the guideline with inputs from the ICT Division and E-commerce Association of Bangladesh (E-Cab).

Sector insiders say the guideline is being developed to address problems of the customers and improve good governance in the fast-growing trading sector.

The guideline will complement the existing National Digital Commerce Policy 2018, they say.

ICT Division senior secretary NM Zeaul Alam said the ministry of commerce would implement the guideline with inputs from the E-Cab.

“We are working together with trade body and commerce ministry. We will provide necessary inputs from our side,” he told the Daily Sun.

E-Cab is representing the sector as a forum of entrepreneurs since 2015. There are around 1,500 members under the trade body.

E-Cab general secretary Abdul Wahed Tomal said the corona pandemic has created opportunities for the sector as there has been a significant change in people’s lifestyle.

The guideline will include directives for standard measurement for all indicators related to the e-commerce industry.

“It includes the delivery timeline, regulation on payment systems, limit of cash back, customer feedback, response timeline and other standard measurements for operating the business in e-commerce,” Abdul Wahed told the Daily Sun.

However, some entrepreneurs claimed the government is formulating the guideline without involving the proper stakeholders.

Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) is the largest trade body in the technology sector in the country. It has been working as a platform of entrepreneurs in information and communication technology.

Basis Digital Commerce Standing Committee co-chairman Asikul Alam Khan said the upcoming guideline for e-commerce should include field-level experience instead of implementing formula of bureaucracy.

“E-commerce is a versatile sector. There is diversified customers’ experience with different models of businesses including B2C, B2B and C2C. There should be options for all to operate businesses in a regulatory environment. Alongside suppliers, other actors including logistic firms are also involved. So there should be classifications of services in the guideline,” Asikul, also the chief executive of PriyoShop.com, told the Daily Sun.

There are different types of e-commerce models including business to customer (B2C), business to business (B2B) and Consumer to Consumer (C2C).         

He also suggested for holding a knowledge sharing meeting with the respective stakeholders to introduce a complete guideline for sake of the growth of the sector. The present market size of the e-commerce sector is Tk 160 billion and Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) expects the volume will reach Tk 253.81 billion by 2023.