A few days ago while visiting Drik Gallery's make-up convention, I found out how Facebook had developed recently to become a platform for youths to sell foreign and rare products. Most of the stalls in the gallery did not have their own shop or outlet but rather had a Facebook page from where people can buy their items. This idea has become very popular since these Facebook pages sell products that are rarely available in the country and additionally the buyers can have the benefit of having these products delivered at their doorsteps sometimes for free or at a small cost. They also have a choice of paying the item either through credit or debit card or after the product has been delivered.
This generation is more into online shopping. Thus, nowadays many fashion houses use Facebook as their major outlet. As the online/virtual shops cost less than the physical outlets, the online sellers can sell their products at a very competitive price or at a lower price than the markets. It is observed that many of the professional /working couples, who hardly get time to go to the market for shopping, are gradually becoming online shoppers.
This side of e-commerce has grown popular not only in Dhaka but in various places of Bangladesh. It has grown to become a successful business venture for many and has made shopping easier for a lot of people.
This tech-savvy generation does not only use the internet to purchase luxury items but also various other types of products especially electronic products as well as household items, groceries and food. Bus tickets can also be bought online through a website known as shohoj.com. We already know that food is commonly ordered online through foodpanda.com and hungrynaki.com. Cell Bazaar has also gained popularity by selling phones while other electronics can be bought through clickbd.com. Bangla books have also recently been available on BoiMela.com. Bangladesh's large fashion and ethnic goods retailer Aarong has also recently begun online sales. The current value of online shopping in Bangladesh has reached more than TK 3.5 billion and 60 per cent of the business is made on the occasion of Eid alone!
The expansion and success of the internet-shopping industry has also given the chance for both teens and adults to earn money, sitting at home. Online shopping has also made an impact in rural areas. Rural girls can buy products from Dhaka. People have also been able to use this service to start businesses of their own. For example a girl named Rozana Akter from a remote village of Cox's Bazaar, who is works as an entrepreneur for union digital centre of Cox's Bazaar's Sadar upazila (sub-district), has been ordering clothes for local school and college girls from Dhaka via an online shopping service. She made a profit of around Tk 12,000 during Eid festival. All this has become possible because of the development and extension of the internet services in the remote areas of Bangladesh. Mobile networks-3G makes it possible to simply e-shop using the phone. The numbers of virtual shopping malls are increasing which is also budding competition between them.
Embracing technology is a way forward towards development and the use of the internet for these commercial purposes is a step in the right direction.