Published: Friday, March 22, 2013

Akhoni.com gets bigger

Akhoni.com gets bigger

Akhoni.com, a leading online marketplace in the country, has introduced e-stores to its website making the site more helpful to buyers and merchants.
“E-stores is like online shopping mall where you have many shops,” said Shameem Ahsan, chief executive officer of Akhoni.com.
“At our e-stores we have 24-25 stores including Nokia, Kaspersky, Casio and Cats-Eye,” he said adding more brands will come in the coming months.
Ahsan said anyone can rent a store at the e-stores as long as they provide quality products.
He also said it will be helpful for entrepreneurs. Because, he said to run and manage an e-commerce site, can be really difficult for starters.
With our e-stores, they can rent stores and gather the knowledge. And if they want they can start their own e-commerce site later.
Akhoni.com officially started its journey in June, 2011. However, the idea of setting up an online marketplace came up in October, 2010.
“I was attending the US-Bangladesh Technology Summit in New York where I met Imran Khan, a non-resident Bangladesh at the event,” said Ahsan.
Khan was the managing director and head of internet investment of JP Morgan at that time. Later, he joint Credit Suisse Bank as managing director and head of the internet investment.
“We actually took the decision to set up this market place at a dinner table,” said Ahsan.
“We wanted to do something new with the combination of Groupon and Amazon.
“We wanted to name the marketplace that reflects its nature and that is ‘instant buying’ and hence the name ‘Akhoni.com’.”
It took three months to make the business plan, marketing, budget and all other necessary ground works for the Akhoni.com team.
The development of the site was started in January, 2011. After four and a half months Akhoni.com made a soft launched in May and it was formally inaugurated in June.
The online marketplace now has over 160 merchants starting from brands like Samsung, Nokia, Uniliver, Pran and so on.
Ahsan said they faced many challenges at the beginning regarding credit cards.  Then they came up with cash on delivery service.
“Akhoni.com is doing really well,” said Ahsan
“We provided some really good deals to the buyers, for example, we sold the tickets worth 30 lakh taka of Argentina-Nigeria football match in 24 hours with 50 per cent discount.”
Akhoni.com has around 2 lakh Facebook fans, which helps it to market itself quite easily.
“We have around 3000-5000 unique hits every day,” said Ahsan.
Akhoni.com has around 60,000 registered users.
Ahsan said people from abroad also place orders at Akhoni.com through credit card to send gifts to their beloved ones. Akhoni.com delivers the gifts to the recipients wherever h/she lives in the country.
“Which means, we cover all the districts in the country,” Ahsan said.
He said people from rural areas of the country also place order at Akhoni.com. “It shows how our rural people becoming more tech-savvy and internet friendly”, Ahsan said.
Akhoni.com will work to increase internet use more in 64 districts of the country.
Ashan said their aim is to become the number one internet company in Bangladesh where they will provide every online-based service.
“However, we will be focusing on e-commerce a lot.”