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Pruning the Bad Apples

by Newsweek Pakistan

Chief Customer Officer Kassim Shroff, left, and Seller Marketplace head Osama Hassan

E-retailer Daraz delists over 5,000 substandard sellers from platform to enhance customer experience

Responding to customer complaints of sellers on Daraz providing substandard and inauthentic products, Chief Customer Officer Kassim Shroff and Seller Marketplace Head Osama Hassan have recently undertaken a massive exercise to purge their platform of such storefronts, delisting over 5,000 sellers.

Daraz is the number 1 e-commerce destination for Pakistan, attracting millions of users every month. A key to the company’s success has been a focus on helping boost sales of local businesses by increasing their reach through the digital platform. The company also keeps abreast of customer demand, providing access to both national and international products.

However, the company has struggled with ensuring customer satisfaction due to the presence of inauthentic sellers who jeopardize a customer’s trust in the entire platform. In a recent interview, Shroff and Hasan explained why they felt that delisting of more than 5,000 sellers was the right move to facilitate customers and boost positive feedback:

Were customer reviews the only reason behind delisting sellers?

Hassan: While customer reviews were one of the reasons, there were multiple other factors involved—seller rating, product return rate, and cancelation rate—in Daraz’s identification of shops that needed to be closed. We also sought to identify duplicate shops created by some sellers and shut them as well. This was made possible due to customer feedback provided to Daraz, therefore it is critical for customers to provide either positive or negative feedback regarding their orders to help improve the health of the Daraz platform.

How did this affect your relationship with your sellers? (Osama)

Hassan: This was an inclusive effort and Daraz sought and received feedback from its seller community prior to executing its plan. It was refreshing to see our seller community support this effort and encourage us to take strong action against these 5,000+ shops. This support was the result of a majority of our hardworking seller community delivering great products to customers and not wishing to have their reputation tarnished by association with the underperforming sellers.

How do you feel this will reflect on your brand image?

Shroff: From a brand perspective this has had a very positive impact both on the customer side and seller side. From customers’ perspective, they have really appreciated that we took this step to ensure they get the product that they ordered, which was one of the biggest issues they had faced. From a sellers’ perspective, they appreciated these efforts because now our good sellers are seeing an increase in orders; this is exactly what we want—if you perform well, we will ensure your business does well. Recently, I put up a post about this on LinkedIn and 100% of the comments were positive and appreciated the steps we had taken.

What percentage of complaints is about seller fraud, and how does Daraz deal with such complaints?

Shroff: We want to ensure there is zero seller fraud happening on our platform with our customers. We have multiple ways the customers can reach out to us and complain and we have a zero-tolerance policy on fraud.

Have you seen a difference in customer complaints since the delisting?

Shroff: Yes, 100%. Product quality complaints have dropped, but work is still continuing to identify any bad sellers we might have missed. We are digging deep into data and trying to fix all loopholes so our customers get the best online shopping experience on Daraz.

What’s the next step in improving the online shopping experience for customers?

Shroff: The next big thing we are doing is working on our Seller Scorecard: After identifying the delisting criteria, we found some ways to improve our seller scorecard to ensure we have the best sellers on our platform in terms of the QRR, Cancelation and Process Time key performance indicators. We are looking to revamp our aftersales model from both a customer and seller perspective to ensure we make the right decision.

Will you continue to delist sellers?

Hassan: Yes, ensuring a high level of performance is critical for a seller to gain success on Daraz and therefore sellers who are unable to perform will be removed from the platform. However, this act is not done in isolation and our team is constantly focusing on educating sellers to perform better.

What measures does Daraz take to check the quality of sellers before onboarding?

Hassan: Daraz currently hosts more than 70,000 sellers on its platform. To start selling on Daraz, they have to register with the platform using their CNIC or Business National Tax Number, and provide their banking credentials. Following registration, sellers get free access to Daraz University, an education portal with multiple modules that seeks to teach sellers how to sell their products online. Recently, Daraz University launched the New Seller Incubation Program to establish and train sellers in the best practices from the start. In addition, Daraz is now proactively connecting with new sellers through calls, groups on social media, and live virtual training sessions—set to launch by the end of this month. This ensures that the knowledge gap in best practices for online selling is sealed.

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