E-commerce (electronic commerce or EC) is the buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network, primarily the Internet. These business transactions occur either business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-consumer or consumer-to-business.The termse-commerce and e-business are often used interchangeably. The term e-tail is also sometimes used in reference to transnational processes around online retail.
Background Of e-commerce In Bangladesh:
Bangladesh is one of the large market in the world as population but the peoples are not well enough for online market yet. Since 1970 to 2000 can be said that Bangladesh was almost in the darkest in e-Commerce business. The peoples even never imagine for e-Commerce. They just work in the computer for assignment for school, colleges and university or can be used in private organization or government. But it was very rare in the government project.
Since 2000 the students just waked up and started a revolution with computer work in every department in the every organization and also it’s going to involve most of the government project too. The peoples are getting better and better in terms of time. Bangladesh is also going fast and like western or develops countries. The peoples are doing many things online like read newspaper and doing lots of out sourcing work and getting very good money and not only himself also giving good remittance to the nation too. The peoples are specially studying in the private universities and they are very good enough for the e-Commerce knowledge and uses development. This is very exciting that the private universities are also giving free laptop to every student and forcing them to jump and learn many things from online. This is also nice to see that they are doing online business and putting many things on their sites and selling them easily.
Late 90s: E-Commerce started in Bangladesh in the late 90s. The earlier E-Commerce sites were actually gift sites targeted towards the Non-Residential-Bangladeshis (NRB) living in abroad. All the sites were based in abroad and had branches in Bangladesh.
Year 2000-2008: During this period of time, the E-Commerce sector observed slow growth. There were few E-Commerce websites but there were no system for online transaction which was the first condition for E-Commerce. In addition, high cost of Internet and low penetration meant that few people knew about these sites. According to Bangladesh Bank, payments and transactions by credit cards were nearly Tk11 billion in June 2008; one of the lowest in the world. The country had only about 400,000 credit card holders at the end of June 2009. From 2008, things started to look bright as Bangladesh Bank took various initiatives including implementation of e-Payment Gateway.
Year 2009: The real change came in 2009 when Bangladesh Bank allowed online payment in the country thus, officially opening up the E-Commerce sector. Another major incident of 2009 was introduction of WiMax internet in Bangladesh. It became quite popular in the country.
Year 2013: The year 2013 had been an important year in the history of E-Commerce in Bangladesh.
First, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) and Bangladesh Bank jointly observed “E-Commerce Week” for the first time in the country, supported by ICT Business Promotion Council. From January 5 to January 11, there were four roundtable discussions, two seminars, one technical session, special awareness program at Dhaka University and a special promotional campaign at Bashundhara Shopping Mall.
In February 2013, for the first time in the country, Computer Jagat, the leading ICT magazine of Bangladesh, under the supervision of Dhaka DC Office, organized the first fair on E-Commerce. The three-day fair took place from February 7 to February 9 at the premise of Begum Sufia Kamal National Public Library. The slogan of the fair was- “Festival for buying and selling at your premise.” A total of 31 public and private E-Commerce organizations showcased their products and services at the fair. Though first of its kind, the fair was a huge success attracting eighty thousand visitors. Computer Jagat also did live webcast of the fair which was seen by more than fifty thousand people in Bangladesh and abroad. Following the first ever e-Commerce Fair at Dhaka, Computer Jagat arranged e-Commerce Fair at Sylhet, Chittagong, London and Barisal with their partners and participants. Additionally, Bangladesh Bank gave permission to buy products and services online using international credit cards this year. Buying products and services from abroad using credit card is an important aspect of E-Commerce.
Age Group Users In Bangladesh:
Through the research conducted it can be observed that the population falling between the age brackets of 25-34 years account for the highest number of users, with the 35-44 and 18-24 bracket falling at second and third places respectively. One of the most significant reasons for this observation is the fact that people falling in the age bracket of 25-34 years are more inclined towards technology and its usage. These people are at the forefront of technological revolution and are more open towards online shopping.
Gender Popularity User In Bangladesh:
If we look at the overall e-commerce activity in terms of gender and compare the males vs females ratio for e-commerce in Bangladesh, we can observe that out of the total e-commerce activities carried out, 83% comprised of males, with females involved in only 17% of the total. However, if we compare the average e-commerce conversion rate1between the two genders, we will be amazed to figure out that it was nearly similar.
Male = 20%
Female = 80%
Activity of male vs female in e-commerce across Bangladesh
Type of E-Commerce in Bangladesh:
Currently, three types of E-Commerce are popular in Bangladesh. They are-
- Business-to-Business (B-2-B)
- Business-to-Consumer (B-2-C)
- Consumer-to-Consumer (C-2-C)
Compared to other countries, Bangladesh is a late entrant in E-Commerce. Yet, this sector observed tremendous growth within a short time. E-Commerce can be the next major driver of Economic development but there are some issues that need to be addressed. Otherwise, this sector would never reach its full potential.
- Developing delivery channel to the customers
- Affordable and un-interrupted internet all over the country
- Improving the online transaction system
- Online fraudulence
Life cycle of an e-Commerce transaction:
e-Commerce improves the efficiency and effectiveness of business, government and not profit organization agencies. The ability of this business conductance all over the world in 24/7. Its major advantage is online and can save a lot of time and money rather than go outside and spent some extra money for shopping. However going online does not guaranteed 100% success and it totally depends on the organization.
E-commerce payment process:
This is very clear that the peoples of Bangladesh are going to purchase online like western or Europe. There are not many sites like western but its increasing day by day in the country and also spreading the rest of the district of Bangladesh. The government also taking part of that and taking many projects to build digital Bangladesh. The peoples can realize that they can save a lot of time for doing online shopping and also can do others works too. Now a days we can see that people are giving bill online.
The e-commerce is the greatest opportunity for a person whether he or she pays the bill online or purchase anything or even can do the business to sell something’s unusable from his home or office. He or she does not need rent a office or space for sell. He just easily can sell this on his own website or even can use others site for selling goods or staffs. e-Commerce is the blessing by the God to the world. The western peoples can’t even think without e-Commerce because they are very much familiar with that and developing also day by day for better satisfaction.
The top payment methods in Bangladesh are:
Cash on Delivery: is the most commonly used payment method in Bangladesh. As per estimates, more than 95% of e-commerce users in Bangladesh prefer cash on delivery (COD) payment model.
Bank / Wire Transfer: Very few e-commerce businesses operate on the system of only delivering the product after receiving the amount through a wire/bank transfer.
bKash / UCash: Some e-commerce websites also prefer these payment models for transferring small amounts.
Credit Card: Most of the e-commerce websites in Bangladesh have merchant accounts integrated on portals to facilitate credit card transactions. However, almost all such e-commerce websites also offer multiple other payment methods and cater to the cash on delivery system.
E-Commerce in Different Sector in Bangladesh:
Though being a under developed country, selected segments of the Bangladeshi business community has embraced technology with reasonable success. Personal computers and the Internet are also emerging as day-to-day business tools. These positive indicators are favoring the prospects of e-commerce in Bangladesh. Some sectors are given below-
- Ready Made Garments (RMG).
- Banking sectors (Online Banking).
- Online Shopping.
- Web Hosting, Domain.
- Online cards, gifts.
- Oil and Gas sector etc.
- Online Transportation System, Hotel Management and Tourism etc.
Geographic Trends Of E-commerce In Bangladesh:
Dhaka being the capital city as well as the metropolitan city of Bangladesh, prevails the list of yearly e-commerce activity in the country with 35% of total traffic, closely followed by the second-largest city and main seaport of Bangladesh, Chittagong at 29%. Gazipur City, the neighboring city of Dhaka which is less populated as compared to Dhaka and Chittagong, stands at third place with 15% of the country’s total e-commerce activity each year. Other cities with the highest inclination towards e-commerce following Dhaka, Chittagong and Gazipur City include Narayanganj and Sylhet respectively.More than 80% of the e-commerce transactions are carried out in three major citiesof Bangladesh.
Statistics showing geo-targeted e-commerce trends in Bangladesh
Advantages of E-Commerce in the Perspective of Bangladesh:
The multidimensional activity of E-commerce which Bangladesh can be benefited in business sector, i.e.-
- Expansion of the era of Business.
- Reducing of unemployment problems.
- Reducing of communication difficulties.
- Access to the international market.
- Competition against exporting in other countries.
- Business in round the clock.
- Helps to enhance the knowledge about business.etc
Telecommunication’s Role in E-Commerce of Bangladesh:
E-Commerce is largely dependent on the Internet and the access, pricing and the quality of Internet services and internet services are significantly dependent on the status and performance of the telecommunications sector. As per the National Telecom Policy, 1998, the telecom sector (Fixed line, Mobile and the Internet) is liberalized for private investment. Following the National Telecommunication Policy, the Bangladesh Telecom Act-2001 was enacted. In order to separate the commercial operations of Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) from its regulatory functions, a separate Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has been established in January 2002. Bangladesh is already connected with Information Supper High Way (I-Way / Submarine Cable) and with the 16-party consortium of the 20000 km „South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe (SEA-ME-WE-4) submarine cable projects as it has already installed the 1260 km branch line cable from the landing station at Zhilanja in Cox‟s Bazaar and at a point in the backbone of the undersea cable in the Indian Ocean. The capacity of the undersea cable will be available in the national network after the installation of fiber link between Cox‟s Bazaar landing station and Chittagong, which is to be completed by 2006 which connection has drastically reduce the communication cost and ultimately the transaction cost. Last Mile connections in Bangladesh are provided jointly by public sector and private sector. At present, in addition to the state-run BTTB‟s Land & Cell operation, four cellular and five rural fixed lines telecom service providers 195 ISPs and numerous cable operators are operating in rural and urban areas of the country. Key developments of Internet service are-
The focus starts to build on the country developing into „Digital Bangladesh‟ by 2021 with this strategy providing a boost to infrastructure.
- Mobile internet services have been giving a much needed boost to internet access.
- Provide board band services, however, continue to struggle.
- Rapid early growth in WiMAX services after operators launch.
- BTRC prepares to open market for more VoIP operator licenses.
- BTRC issued 34 additional IIG licenses in 2012.
- Banglalion and Augere were permitted to upgrade their networks to TD-LTE .etc
Major E-Commerce Websites in Bangladesh:
In spite of various barriers many e-commerce websites are established in Bangladesh. In July, 2013, an article published on Financial Express with title “e-commerce expanding at faster pace; yet no PayPal operation allowed in Bangladesh”. E-commerce in Bangladesh is expanding rapidly, thanks to a fast growing number of Internet and mobile users, people familiar with the business. The volume of e-commerce in terms of transactions in monetary value is expected to reach BDT-2000 million in 2013 against around BDT.450 million of 2012. The products and services that now dominate the country‟s e-commerce are railway tickets, domestic air tickets, hotel booking, electronic products, books, gift items, jobs, hotel reservation clothing and some food items. Major e-commerce websites in Bangladesh are given below-
e-CAB (e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh):
Recently in Bangladesh e-CAB (e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh) has started their operation for provide a common platform for discussing and exchanging views on business conditions and issues, both domestic and international, affecting companies or organizations involved with E-commerce or online marketplaces through which trade is facilitated or commenced. e-CAB’s aim also to take action for preservation of rights and interest especially, of the members of the organization and generally for the development of the business services who are related with E-Commerce business, nationally and internationally. To take all steps to support, protest and prevent constitutionally all governmental law or proceedings imposed against any member of the association. The trade organization shall discharge its activities considering the state policy and overall public interest and also it shall not arrange participate or support any activities in contrary to the regulations of the state and subversive to the social peace & tranquility.They also collect maintain, distribute or supply all data statistics and other information necessary for the Email promotion and advancement of business of E-Commerce through letters, circulars, periodicals or though press and other publicity media and to obtain or develop information books, brochures, visual aids and education items for members and to distribute them on a pro-data, on profit on loss basis.
Ever heard of “ClickBD”? This e-commerce website (http://www.clickbd.com/) started its journey April 2005. Currently, ClickBD.com has over 3,00,000 active users trading almost anything and everything ranging from clothing, jewellery, cars, real-estate, laptops, mobile phones to high-tech gadgets that have not even hit the market yet. The company provides virtual stores allowing businesses to sell products online with complete e-commerce package that includes website, product catalog, inventory management, order management, payment processing, and delivery. Almost anything available at a real shop can be purchased from ClickBD at a much cheaper price. The company aims to make e-commerce transaction possible for everyone; including those people who do not have credit cards. Following the path of ClickBD, many companies made their way into the mainstream of ecommerce.
A few days ago, I was browsing through the Prothom-alo website (www.prothom-alo.com). Something in the information technology page attracted my attention: a student of Islamic University of Malaysia is selling used book on Facebook and happened to be a Bangladeshi citizen. This type of examples can be found in each and every sector of Bangladesh. The advent of internet made life comfortable in many ways: you can do your job while spending time your family; you can purchase virtually everything from your home. In terms of adopting e-commerce, many large companies and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) alike use e-commerce techniques such as web-based marketing and customer service, electronic transaction processing, inventory management, e-procurement systems, and email. The other side of the coin is rather unpleasant. Many of the large Bangladeshi business firms are yet to offer e-commerce activities. The government of Bangladesh is actively patronizing the idea of “Digital Bangladesh”, but in reality the “digitizing” thing is not happening. Prospects of e-commerce in Bangladesh is wonderful, may be the next best outsourcing business destination after India. At least, we can dream of being “Digital Bangladeshi’s”!
The understanding of e-commerce is widespread. A common definition is difficult to give because of many approaches. Simply put, electronic commerce (e-commerce) is the conduct of commercial transactions over electronic networks (OECD, 2002). GartnerGroup (1999) defined “e-commerce is a dynamic set of technologies, applications and business processes that link corporations, consumers and communities”.
In a word e-commerce can be defined as performing business activity via internet or any other electronic network. Book defines “Electronic commerce is an emerging concept that describes the process of buying and selling or exchange of product, service, and information via computer network including the internet.”(Turban, 2004:04).
E-commerce has been seen as a way to reduce friction in the marketplace. It allows larger volumes of transactions to take place than would otherwise be possible in the conventional marketplace, and it effectively expands markets while opening up opportunities for new ones. However, it is heavily dependent on physical infrastructure and other support services; these are often unavailable or inaccessible at the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) in developing market like Bangladesh. The process of e-commerce can be described as a collection of the following phases, as follows:
- Content (Products and Services to attract customers)
- Handle and manage orders via cash or other forms of payment
- Updating product/ service database, and Customer feedback
Proximity of C2C Businesses
Most of the e-commerce businesses present in Bangladesh are of C2C (Consumer to Consumer: Webpage where consumers themselves engage in buying and selling activities). These “eBay” type businesses are increasing at a tremendous rate as more consumers are getting access to the Internet directly via their mobile phone and/ or smart phones. The largest e-commerce website till to date is www.clickbd.com, which started its journey in 2005. Some of the other C2C business/ web pages are as follows:
M-Commerce in Bangladesh
By the end of 2008, there were 44.6 million mobile connections in Bangladesh from six mobile service providers: Grameenphone (47% market share), Banglalink (23%), Aktel (18%), Warid (5%),
Citycell (4%) and Teletalk (2%) (BTRC, n.d). Through the introduction of CellBazaar, a mobile market space where the buyers and sellers can exchange the products and services they sell or buy, more rural and young people are entering the field of e-commerce via mobile handsets. The sellers are able to sell or buy products by using simple SMS.
Some of the websites do offer products or services ultimately for the consumers. Some of the websites available are as follows:
In Bangladesh B2B e-commerce is already in operation for years. Export sector has the great use of it. A major field of the use of e-commerce is ready made garments (RMG) sector. A specific use of internet technology would be to access The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer Exporter Association’s (BGMEA) website, which provides a list of member companies and key information regarding those firms. In addition, it updates and reports on the United States and Canadian quota used for the year on a given date. Concurrently, through the web site of the North American port authorities, the volume of quota items that have entered their respective countries can be found. A Bangladeshi producer may prefer to stop shipment and wait for the next year (when new quota privileges begin) to avoid the risk of collecting demurrage at a foreign port in case the quota has been exhausted.
International Oil Companies (IOCs) are the dominant players in the exploration and production of the oil and gas industry. IOCs use the vendors’ web pages extensively in order to obtain product information. IOCs have to abide by the Production Sharing Contract (PSC), signed with Petrobangla, the state oil company. Petrobangla shares the cost of exploration and production with the IOCs after the successful discovery of an oil or gas field. The IOCs are required to justify the procurement of every product and service pertaining to the exploration and production of each well to Petrobangla. If Petrobangla is convinced with the justification, only then does it share the cost with the IOCs. In view of the above scenario, the implementation of ecommerce in the energy sector is yet to kick-off in Bangladesh. Because, the financial discipline of Petrobangla is still being governed by the conventional parameters of Audit and Accounts of the Government of Bangladesh.
Alongside different companies some web pages act as a potential source of business information. The web pages are as follows:
A student of Department of Marketing, DU wrote in one of his article published in The Financial Express expressed his view on the future of e-commerce in Bangladesh “Since Bangladesh is a developing nation , the opportunity for the development of local and international trade and business, like all other LDC’s, is increasing. Although it faces some barriers like infrastructural, cultural, and outlook problem, recent steps taken by the government may change the situation”. Thongs are started to roll in Bangladesh, many of the businesses are using e-commerce as their main tool for trading.
Increasing Number of Mobile Subscribers
The telecommunication infrastructure any country affect the Internet services directly, cause it is largely depended on it. The telecom adoption rate increased substantially in the recent years, meaning more people are close to the edge of using e-commerce or participate in e-commerce activities.
Increased number of Internet users
The number of internet users is increasing in Bangladesh. In 2000, the number of internet users was close to 30000, which is now (as of 2010) close to 995,560. This increase in internet usuage triggered the use of different e-commerce sites previous mentioned in this assignment.
CONSTRAINTS IN IMPLEMENTING E-COMMERCE IN BANGLADESH
Since any transition is not an easy task, it is supposed not tobe n easy task to implement electronic commerce indeveloping countries. There are certain issues, ingredientsor challenges in developing countries like Bangladeshwhich are unique in comparison with developed andunder-developed countries.
Lack of Education
The main issue in implementing e-commerce is to have its perceived usefulness among the people. In comparison with the developed countries, the rate of literacy in Bangladesh is lower. Because of this lower rate of literacy, it is extremely difficult to make the mass people understand the effectiveness of electronic commerce. Since, success of electronic commerce is indicated by the utmost success in implementation as well as the awareness, activity and use of the services by the people, which greatly depends on the level of literacy and mentality of the people, it is to some extent a fate that, implementation of electronic commerce would face communication problems because of lower literacy rates in its application phases.
Figure: Literacy Rate in South Asia (http://www.janaojana.com/q-3120)
One of the important criteria of defining lifestyle is economical status. For the developing countries, it is a fate that the fragile economy resists individuals from investing a threshold amount in transforming the commercial activities to a different dimension. As a consequence, even easier and potential attainment of development becomes impossible. In case of transforming traditional commerce into electronic commerce, certain transformational requirements like computer infrastructure, internet facility, power supply and most importantly an e-marketplace support arises, which are subject to investment. Even though the hardware infrastructure may be attained, support for software i.e. e-marketplace becomes the greatest problem.
Among the infrastructure issues, power is an important point of concern. Power shortage is one of the burning problems in Bangladesh. Since the services offered by electronic commerce should must be accessed through computer and internet for which the driving force is electricity, it is necessary to have proper and reliable energy supply. Though the cost of computer and related accessories has already become lower, without the supporting power facilities, it is completely unusable. Still now, large portions of rural areas are far away from the touch of electricity. Even in urban areas, the power supply is unreliable.
Unavailable Internet Facility
Lack of Internet facility is a major barrier in implementing electronic commerce. Since services of e-government are to be offered over internet, it is of no means possible to implement e-commerce without proper internet facility. Moreover, in order to reduce the overall cost of establishing broadband infrastructure, it is imperative that power lines should be effective and efficient to support broadband over power line carriers, which may also be barred because of the absence of proper power supply lines.
Improper standardization of Bengali Software
One of the main barriers of implementing electronic commerce is the lack of standardization of software development with Bengali interface and local content. Since, e-commerce indicates access of information regarding trade and commerce; without accurate perception and understanding of the conveyed information, it is about meaningless to have the access on that information. This complete understanding may only be possible through the adaption of Bengali in the graphical user interfaces.
Discontinuous Human Resource Support
Human resource is an elementary concern for implementing electronic commerce. It is interesting that, though there are bright human resources in Bangladesh, it is deprived from continuous and uninterrupted longer support from those talents because, the blooming of talents and facilities of expressing the talents is not only limited but also to some extent impossible in Bangladesh. Moreover, the attitude of the politicians of considering the talents as a tool to cherish their views also greatly discourages the real talents to participate in policy making or providing other support. This is certainly a major barrier for implementing electronic commerce.
Bangladesh Marketplace, http://www.bangladeshmarketplace.com/
Danida B2B Programme,
http://www.clickbd.com/, electronically accessed on 15th November 2011.
BGMEA B2B Portal, http://bgmea.com.bd/
GMG Airlines Bangladesh, http://www.gmgairlines.com/site/index.php
Mobile Subscribers in Bangladesh, http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=bg&v=105
Number of Internet users, http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=bg&v=118, http://www.internetworldstats.com/asia/bd.htm
Radisson Blu Hotel, http://www.radissonblu.com/cs/Satellite?pagename=pb%2FPage%2Fpb-listHotels&brand=RAD&skin=radisson&language=en&sitaCode=BANDHAKA&cityid=&countrycode=&arrival=16%2F11%2F2011&departure=17%2F11%2F2011&rooms=1&adults_room1=1&children_room1=0&rmccode=&paccode=&corpaccountnumber=&iata=
The Daily Star, B2B website launched”, http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=97213
The Trust Bank Limited, http://ib.trustbank.com.bd/
The Financial Express, http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/more.php?news_id=101246