Leading e-commerce sites such as Chaldal.com, which sell groceries and food products, are now under pressure of sale orders
Online sales of vegetables and grocery items, especially in the capital, increased substantially over the last couple of weeks, as many city dwellers avoided going to markets to protect themselves from getting infected with coronavirus.
Realizing the ground reality in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many kitchen retailers have used online platforms, especially Facebook, to sell their products for customers in need of purchases while remaining at home.
“Although we started an e-commerce business in vegetables, fish and grocery items six months ago, we did not get a good response. With the spread of coronavirus, our sales increased sharply,” said Sagar Mandal, manager of Rampura Sobji Bazar, a page selling essential items on Facebook.
He informed Dhaka Tribune that he was now selling products worth Tk1.5 lakh to Tk2 lakh each day through such a method.
Leading e-commerce sites such as Chaldal.com, which sell groceries and food products, are now under pressure of sale orders.
“Each day we get 6,000 orders, but we can’t accept more than 4,000 orders,” said Omer Sharif, head of business extension of the company.
Demand for vegetables had increased much more than other products, he added.
“We had to add three more warehouses and recruit 350 employees amid increased business in the coranavirus pandemic,” he said.
Experiencing drastically low sales with operating times reduced for shops amid the countrywide shutdown, Zakir Hossain, a vegetable grocer at Gulshan DNCC Market, worried about the survival of his large family.
“Previously before the pandemic, I usually sold vegetables worth Tk30,000-40,000 each day. But it decreased to Tk2,000-3,000 daily since the outbreak,” he added.
The closure of restaurants and hotels also contributed to his low sales, unprecedented for him in the last 30 years, he mentioned.
The vegetable trader, as suggested by his son, opened a page on Facebook titled "Vegetable Shop BD" and eventually began selling his products online.
“Through the Facebook page, we earn Tk4,000-Tk5,000 more each day now,” said Shakil, son of Zakir, adding that sales had been increasing day by day.
Visits to several markets in the capital recently revealed that customers’ turnout was low compared to what it was in pre-Covid-19 days.
Many of the markets and shops were found shut while some were in operation for a limited period.
People prefer avoiding crowds in markets and instead stay home without taking the risk of a transmission of the Covid-19 disease.
“It is risky to go to kitchen markets as the marketplace may be crowded,” said Nigar Sultana Chowdhury from Gulshan.
She said that she was comfortable shopping online from her home.
Nigar added that she was now a regular customer of e-commerce and f-commerce platforms (Facebook commerce), especially for daily commodities.