Othoba 101: Inside PRAN’s eCommerce Ambition
PRAN-RFL launched its own ecommerce marketplace Othoba.com later in 2015. Although a relatively late entrant to the market, Othoba has grown quickly over the past one and half years to become one of the key players in Dhaka’s ecommerce industry. The marketplace initially started with only PRAN-RFL products and gradually moved on to selling other categories and brands. While Dahak’s ecommerce market shows early signs of maturity and also intense competition, Othoba plans higher. The marketplace, a team of 40 people currently, plans to utilize PRAN-RFL’s incredible reach all over the country to reach deep rural areas which if utilized properly can offer a significant upside to Othoba in a market where logistics is a big challenge for ecommerce beyond big metropolitan cities. At the same time, it is also planning to move to an inventory-led model to achieve greater control over customer experience.
We recently spoke to Ahsanul Alam, Head of Operations of Othoba.com to know more about Othba.com and its ambition. You may read Mr. Alam’s full interview here.
- Othoba has over 550 categories, 350 brands and 30,000 products including PRAN-RFL brands on its platform. All of PRN-RFL brands can be purchased through Othoba.
- The marketplace, currently a team of 40 people, now serves over 500 orders a day which is a little over than average orders for ecommerce companies in Dhaka.
- Unlike many ecommerce companies that rely on third-party logistics partner (s) for delivery, Othoba has an in-house logistics team that manages its deliveries in Dhaka. For outside Dhaka deliveries, it relies on third party logistic partner. However, it plans to utilize PRAN’s own distribution channels across the country soon.
- PRAN has an incredible reach all over the Bangladesh. It is hard to find a village where PRAN has not reached. Effectively utilized, this can offer huge upside to Othoba in terms of solving out of metro logistics problem that most ecommerce companies are going through.
Major strategic change
- One of the major strategic shift the marketplace is considering is turning itself into an inventory-led model where it will maintain a conservative inventory of 60-80% of products available on its platform in order to ensure better customer service and greater control over customer experience.
- PRAN is one of most aggressive conglomerates in the country. According to Mr. Alam, their goal for Othoba is equally ambitious. “Our goal is to be the destination for every conceivable item that you need anytime and anywhere in Bangladesh at the lowest possible price which we consider we can become given the upsides we have with our distribution network across the country.”