Developing globally-competent leaders involves much more than sending individuals on a business trip; it requires a complete top to bottom development strategy encompassing all the training they need to interact with people from different cultures, languages, and backgrounds. Understanding the dynamics of the location can expand individual growth which can be beneficial for multinational companies working in diverse markets.
Daraz Pakistan recently welcomed their new Chief Commercial Officer from Sri Lanka. MudithaPremarathne is an ardent e-commerce champion who is always looking for growth. Her qualities bring her to Pakistan where she will responsible for the growth of all the brands and customer offers on the platform. “I have been with Daraz since December 2018. It has been an exhilarating and fast-paced journey where Daraz Sri Lanka’s GMV grew 7X from 2019 to 2020. I have worked closely on category development, channel setting, and development as well as on seller community development. Prior to Daraz, I was working in various industries including FMCG, Environmental Certification, Offline Retailing, and Apparel Manufacturing.” Said Muditha.
Having a diverse portfolio in professional experience, we asked her what was the difference in consumer buying patterns?
I believe there are some similarities as well as some differences. Sri Lanka being an island nation and a tourist destination, the consumer appetite for imported items and western wear is high compared to the Pakistani market where local products drive a good share of the fashion category. The beauty and the make-up market is much developed in Pakistan than in Sri Lanka. Further, the FMCG category is substantial in Pakistan’s e-commerce space. In Sri Lanka, the household family sizes are small and young people living on their own are higher compared to Pakistani and grocery shopping basket sizes, as well as the type of FMCG products being bought, reflect the differences in the consumption patterns.
With this new position in hand, what will be your area of focus at Daraz? “My role in Daraz is related to the Commercial growth and GMV generation and revolves around the supply side of the e-commerce marketplace. The commercial team’s focus is on four key areas which are:
- Making a wide assortment available through a wide base of sellers
- Securing pricing and deals and discounts from sellers, planning and deploying campaigns that grow the sellers
- Brands and category performance through customer engagement and customer conversion
- Ensuring that the seller community on Daraz understands the importance of adopting all the selling tools that help them grow the business on Daraz.
Another key function of the commercial team is to ensure that the seller community is well educated on operational excellence and comply with the operational processes and SLAs. Our focus for this year would be to ensure that not only we grow our assortment portfolio but ensure that it is the right assortment we are growing by matching it with the customer search insights, and also ensuring that the assortment is within relevant price points so that the traffic that comes to the site finds our products affordable and matching with their requirements.
Pakistani market is known for executing great mega campaigns all year round. What efforts did Daraz make to overachieve its set targets and what do you think was the highlight of the PK Day Sale?
This year our Pakistan Day campaign was special as it exceeded the set GMV targets by 30% having around 1 Million+ traffic on the sale day. Another great achievement is that over 45% of the orders were shipped through our Fulfilled by Daraz channel, giving speedy delivery to our customers. One of the notable differences was that Free Shipping being offered throughout the campaign with the support of our one main logistic partner TCS. We also had strong banking partner support with the bank partnerships providing discounts worth millions which increased our capacity to offer great bargains, EMI schemes, and value additions to our customers. Most importantly, we worked on getting a higher level of seller engagement within the PK day campaign, ensuring high campaign participation from not just key brands and strategic sellers but also local and international marketplace sellers. Teams had planned and deployed the campaign with a 360-degree amplification of efforts across the value chain of the company. Brand partners also amplified our campaign massage through their own channels, allowing us to reach out across cross-sections of audiences.
Pakistan’s e-commerce market has shown exponential growth in the past years. It is one of the emerging South Asian markets whose rapid growth has taken everyone by surprise. Which categories do you think will contribute in years to come?
In Pakistan, we have more scope to grow categories related to lifestyle as they cover a very wide range of categories and most of them still need to be developed within the e-commerce space. For instance, Bedding & Bath, Media, Music, and books, or Sports and Outdoors are such categories that can see further growth. Automobiles is a brand-new space for e-commerce growth where the idea of buying a vehicle online may sound absurd to some, but at Daraz this has been pioneered and we are already seeing potential. With the right partnerships such as leasing and insurance service vendors coming together with us to provide a seamless automobile purchase journey, very soon buying your wheels online may become an economical and efficient option. Pharmacy and E-supermarket categories are also with high potential and growing rapidly. Fashion too has massive potential for online space, although there are challenges to surmount in providing more in-depth information on sizes, and product information, etc. as well as change of mind options for returns.
With Muditha’s experience, the leading e-commerce platform seems to be confident of its growth in Pakistan. She will be leading the backbones of the company that is responsible for gathering the best offers for Daraz’s users. Cross-cultural teams have proven to be extremely beneficial for leading brands globally, and Daraz is headed towards achieving its ambitious targets and vision with well-equipped leadership.