Daraz Pakistan’s new CCO debuts her first mega sale for the e-commerce giant
Developing globally-competent leaders is far more complicated than merely sending individuals on business trips—it requires a top to bottom development strategy encompassing all the training required to interact with people from different cultures, languages, and backgrounds. Understanding the dynamics of a particular 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. Muditha Premarathne is an ardent e-commerce champion who is always looking for growth. Her skills have brought her to Pakistan, where she will be responsible for the growth of all brands and customer offers that are available on Daraz Pakistan.
“I have been with Daraz since December 2018,” says Muditha as an introduction. “It has been an exhilarating and fast-paced journey where Daraz Sri Lanka’s GMV grew by 7 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 worked in various other industries, including FMCG, Environmental Certification, Offline Retailing and Apparel Manufacturing,” she added.
Having a diverse portfolio in professional experience, what kinds of differences in consumer buying patterns have you seen between Pakistan and Sri Lanka?
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 make up market are far more developed in Pakistan compared to Sri Lanka. Further, the FMCG category is substantial in Pakistan’s e-commerce space. In Sri Lanka, the household family sizes are small and more young people live on their own than in Pakistan—grocery shopping basket sizes, as well as the type of FMCG products being bought, reflects these differences in consumption patterns.
With this new position in hand, what will be your area of focus at Daraz?
My role in Daraz is related to 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:
- Making a wide assortment available through a large base of sellers
- Securing pricing, deals, and discounts from sellers, and planning and deploying campaigns that grow the business of 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 their business on Daraz.
Another key function of the commercial team is to ensure that the seller community is well educated on operational excellence and complies with the operational processes and SLAs. Our focus for this year would be to ensure that not only do we grow our assortment portfolio, but also ensure that we are growing the right assortment by matching it with customer search insights and ensuring that the assortment is within relevant price points so that consumers visiting the site find our products affordable and in accordance with their requirements.
The Pakistani market is known for executing great mega campaigns throughout the year. What efforts did Daraz make to exceed its targets in the Pakistan Day Sale, and what do you think was its highlight?
This year our Pakistan Day campaign was special, as it exceeded the set GMV targets by 30 percent, resulting in over a million visitors on the sale day. Another great achievement is that over 45 percent of the orders were shipped through our ‘Fulfilled by Daraz’ channel, giving speedy delivery to our customers.
One of the notable differences was that we offered Free Shipping throughout the campaign with the support of our one main logistic partners, TCS. We also had strong banking partner support with our bank partners 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 Pakistan 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 the audience.
Pakistan’s e-commerce market has shown an 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 needs to be developed within e-commerce space. For instance, Bedding and Bath, Media, Music and Books, or Sports and Outdoors are 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 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.
Utilizing Muditha’s experience, Daraz—as Pakistan’s leading e-commerce platform—is confident of further growth in the country. She will lead the backbones of the company, taking responsibility 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 toward achieving its ambitious targets and vision with well-equipped leadership.