The platform, which currently operates through 10,000 outlets across the country, has been developed by the Aspire to Innovate (a2i) project of the ICT Division
An e-commerce platform, Ek-Shop, now brings limitless opportunities for e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB) members to sell their goods across a greater customer base, both locally and internationally.
It is also an aggregated platform, meaning all major e-commerce companies and platforms are connected via Ek-Shop using application programming interface (API), to provide both entrepreneurs and consumers with a single-window trading experience.
The platform, which currently operates through 10,000 outlets across the country, has been developed by the Aspire to Innovate (a2i) project of the ICT Division.
It was initially designed to extend the benefit of e-commerce to the rural population and reduce the communication gap between industry stakeholders.
Ek-Shop, for example, enables a marginalised rural women entrepreneur who produces several traditional handicrafts and other goods to connect with buyers and sell her goods through the virtual platform.
It also helps rural people to buy goods. Ek-Shop itself does not have any product, but its network connectivity with large e-commerce companies can be availed by those living outside of the current e-commerce delivery regions.
There are 5,297 union digital centres (UDCs) across the country, of which 3,347 are connected with Ek-Shop.
A buyer or a seller of a product can place orders through the UDC representative.
The UDC places orders through the Ek-Shop and delivers it to customers.
To sell a product, the producer has to place the product’s specifications to the UDC representative for uploading it on Ek-Shop, which will show in all e-commerce pages linked with Ek-Shop. Eager customers can go through the products and place their orders if interested.
Upon receiving orders, the UDC will collect the products and send them to the customer’s address through the delivery system.
To ensure safe delivery, there is a pool of logistics provider-partners including Bangladesh Post Office (BPO) to deliver the goods to every corner of the country.
In both buying and selling, an agent will receive a commission for each ordered good, which will not be added to products’ prices.
“We were working on the concept for the last three years, as part of a2i’s initiatives to spread e-commerce to the mass people and highlight rural entrepreneurs and sell their products through the platform,” said Rezwanul Haque Jami, head of e-commerce at a2i.
Beyond Bangladesh, there are Ek-Shop centres in Singapore and Malaysia for the expatriates living there.
In addition, the platform is working to launch centres in Turkey, Columbia, Uganda, Jordan and South Sudan, he added.