Published: Monday, September 2, 2013

Cellbazaar reinvents itself

Sets a new goal, launches new marketing campaign and aims for 30 million users by 2020. CEO Arild Klokkerhaug shares the insights- with 'Bytes'

Cellbazaar reinvents itselfWhat is the projected growth of online classified ads platforms in BD?
In most countries there will be a classified ads platform growing into the top five local websites as the internet market mature. As such the projected growth for online classified ads platform is the highest of all internet services we see in Bangladesh.

Many multinational players are coming. Why do you think they are coming?
I think Bangladesh is one of the most exciting internet markets we see in the world.  We are talking about a country of 160 million people with a rapidly growing economy and political will to facilitate the growth of a Digital Bangladesh.  The internet penetration is still among the lowest in the world but most multinational and local players believe it will grow very fast with 3G mobile networks just around the corner.  Thus it is the perfect time to invest in growing online classified ad platforms in Bangladesh.

Cellbazaar underwent some significant overhaul recently. From users point of view how is that beneficial?
When we started the overhaul of Cellbazaar.com a year ago, the main limitation was the exclusive arrangement with Grameenphone as well as a rather outdated website.  In January this year we launched our brand new platform built on modern technology for web and mobile.  The first benefit was that we made Cellbazaar.com open for all now; users can register with email and a mobile number from any operator. Secondly, we are presenting Cellbazaar.com in Bangla as well as English, on mobile as on web.  Communicating in Bangla is now our cornerstone for growth.  In Facebook, we are reaching out to more than 5 million local Facebook users by offering Cellbazaar login through Facebook. I would also like to stress that we do extensive user testing of new features and the learning we get we use to add small improvements to the site every single week of the year.

Cellbazaar was unique than any other Online classified ads platforms because of the SMS portal 3838 based services. Is the focus now not on sms based services anymore?
That is true, it was launched as an SMS service back in 2006 and from this year we stopped it.  SMS had a mission back then as few people had access to Internet.  However, 160 characters are very limiting and not suitable for the quality ads that we strive to get. In the end it was not much used, especially when most people now can access internet also through regular mobile phones

Is cellbazaar a part of Telenor group?
Yes, Cellbazaar.com is owned by the Telenor Group in Norway (not Grameenphone).  This is indeed our strength, being a local pioneering brand availing the financial strength and technical knowhow of a global ICT giant.  We now have the power and infrastructure to target 30 million users by 2020.

What three words come in your mind if you want to describe Cellbazaar?

Trusted, easy and fast-growing.

Cellbazaar had a head start of eight years in a market with almost no competitors. But now there are more than fifty online classified ads platforms in Bangladesh and counting .So you are much more aware of the market situation than most of the competitors. How do you intend to utilize this advantage and how the users are going to be benefited from it?

Understanding the needs and wants of our local classified ads users is not learned overnight.  The last eight years where every day has given us learning and experience that we now use to develop the best possible service.  We have a very strong and sincere owner, a fantastic team in Bangladesh and solid local knowledge and experience; we could not want a better position than what we have now. This week we launched a strong marketing campaign to make new users more aware of our services; a campaign that aims at showing people that we all have something to sell for cash so that we get more freedom to upgrade our lives.  At Cellbazaar.com, its easy to sell and a pleasure to buy.

Bechte shoja, kinte moja.