Sunday, 5 December, 2021
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E-commerce: Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Khondoker Tasfin Alam

Globalization and information technologies are radically changing the face of businesses and organizations. Digital technology, in particular, has completely transformed our economy and at the center of this transformation is electronic commerce.

The fast growth and business successes of dot-com companies have reinforced the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation in e-commerce. Entrepreneurship, in its narrowest sense, encompasses capturing ideas, synthesizing the same, and then building a venture to take the product to the market. From an economic viewpoint, entrepreneurship increases competitiveness and prosperity by its impact on employment creation and the construction of new items. Nevertheless, that alone is not enough. Innovation and entrepreneurship are two sides of the same coin. While it is essential to create new opportunities and environments for people to comprehend these novelties, innovation is equally necessary and must be facilitated and encouraged deliberately by entrepreneurs.

On the one hand, as many Bangladeshi consumers have spent more time at home since the past year, either because of mandated lockdowns or by choice, they have been buying more goods and services online instead of brick-and-mortar stores. Mostly characterized as a ‘5 in 1’ year: 2020 has propelled businesses forward as if it were 2025. The impact of the ongoing crisis on businesses is not just profound because of the scale of change but also the nature of innovations and speed of the evolution.

However, while there have been significant development prospects, Bangladesh is yet to catch up on innovation. Technology evolves to become cheaper and more efficient; hence, the nation’s existing strategy to import innovation and technology from developed countries can become disastrous in the near future.

In addition, currently, there are around 2,000 independent e-commerce websites and 50,000 f-commerce businesses in Bangladesh. Together, they deliver over 30,000 products every day, but most of the deliveries are limited to Dhaka, Chattogram, and Gazipur. The country also continues to face further challenges such as low internet penetration and other bureaucratic and resource-related issues.

Although a growing number of international investors are interested in capitalizing in our economy, challenges to exit profit out of the country continue to discourage those who are willing to finance. While foreign investments start pouring in, local investment firms are hesitant to match the same risk. In order to drive innovation forward, investment is the key. Thus, entrepreneurs must strive to improve the investment climate that will attract more foreign investment and utilize more expertise and ideas. As the world progresses, we must adapt to newer technologies for innovation while there remain areas for improvement. Apart from that, industry-academia linkage is vital to elevate proper infrastructure and help nurture innovation and talents across the country.

It is imperative for startups to take bold targets of launching disruptive innovations. Several e-commerce sites have already started developing necessary factors and moving forward towards success. For instance, Daraz Bangladesh has been a forerunner for continuous modernization and digital transformation in this sector. From initiating major campaigns, providing transparent communication mediums with customers to building warehouses, and increasing the number of collection points, the country’s largest online marketplace always prioritized innovation and adaptation. The company has also taken numerous other initiatives to keep businesses engaged and running despite the situation. Daraz aims to contribute to a sustainable digital ecosystem with sound investments in the e-commerce infrastructure, technological innovation, and human resources in the unforeseeable future.

With the rapid penetration of e-commerce into various fields, the role of this industry has drastically impacted our economic development, causing room for more developments. It is time that businesses and entrepreneurs recognize their important role and incorporate technological advancements and innovation in the e-commerce industry.

 

The wrtier is the Chief Operating

Officer, Daraz Bangladesh Limited