The year 2021 proved to be exceptional for Daraz. As the group’s founder and CEO Bjarke Mikkelsen puts it, Daraz ended the year with over 40 million active users on its platform across the five markets and made huge progress on user experience.
According to him, going forward into 2022, Daraz is in a strong position based on the expansion and optimization of its service offering, and the favorable market dynamics across South Asia.
Daraz’s focus for 2022 is to further raise the bar for great customer and seller experience, and to engage more women in the marketplace – both as customers and sellers. He attributes the unprecedented growth to good experience and positive word of mouth. Mikkelsen says that Daraz’s customer satisfaction scores increased dramatically based on a variety of initiatives.
Among the other factors, Mikkelsen points out that digital maturity has also been accelerating in South Asia, in part a result of Covid-19, but also as a result of strong government focus. According to him, the pandemic has certainly played a material role as more customers are shifting to purchasing online while SMEs have had to find new sales channels.
“I firmly believe we are now at an inflection point in South Asia’s digital economy, and in the years to come, we will see exponential growth across the region,” Mikkelsen says.
Speaking about the highlights from last year, he is quick to say that one of the main highlights last year was the introduction of the live streaming feature, Daraz Live.
“This [livestreaming] allowed us to provide the opportunity to our customers to engage directly with sellers through livestreamed interactive sessions and have access to a range of real-time content.
“We also livestreamed the T20 World Cup free of charge on the Daraz App to everyone across Pakistan. This was an exciting moment for all of us at Daraz to bring international cricket to millions of Pakistanis,” Mikkelsen remarks.
He also touches on the subject of Daraz’s annual grand sale 11.11 and says that 11.11 sale was of course the main campaign of the year, with over 14 million users visiting the platform across the five markets and almost US$10 million worth of products sold in the first hour.
On why Daraz rebranded itself, Mikkelsen argues that the ultimate ambition is to make e-commerce a key part of people’s daily lives. He hopes that this brand update will allow Daraz to create more personalized experiences, ensure that it delivers quality services and products at each step of the process, and create new avenues of entertainment and engagement for its customers and sellers.
Daraz Pakistan’s Managing Director Ehsan Saya reveals that the group plans to invest over US$100 million into infrastructure and upskilling SMEs that will support the growth of the digital economy. He hopes that this investment will unlock huge growth for the group’s business and bring greater economic prosperity to the country as it helps drive incomes for over 300,000 SMEs and create over one million jobs.
Speaking about giving back to the community, Saya says that the group’s purpose is to uplift communities through the power of commerce, and he believes education is the key enabler to truly unlock the potential of both Pakistan and the region.
Which is why Daraz University gives entrepreneurs and SMEs the skills they need to unlock their business online. Through the online learning center, Daraz offers personalized and localized courses on all facets of the e-commerce ecosystem, allowing sellers to gain certification from leading universities free of cost. Every month, over 5,000 sellers are educated through Daraz University and able to start their own businesses.
Saya says that the group is committed to working together with the Pakistani Government to fuel the growth of e-commerce and digitalization in the country.