empowering SMEs to support the economy
In the spirit of empowering Sri Lanka, Daraz believes in supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by going the extra mile to understand the key challenges they face such as financial access, technological aptitude, and access to markets. With over 50,000 SMEs currently active on Daraz, they have taken numerous steps towards facilitating their growth and ease of operations.
Daraz, through its partnership with the Department of Samurdhi Development, aimed at enhancing the economic engagement and success of entrepreneurs in rural Sri Lanka. Over 500 entrepreneurs were trained, initiated into the world of digital commerce and were facilitated access to over 1.5 million customers. By providing them with a means of showcasing their products, selling them effectively and connecting them directly to consumers nationwide, Daraz ensures that no potential seller is limited by where they are located.
Daraz firmly encourages the empowerment of women entrepreneurs and therefore has facilitated free training, free product photoshoots and free packaging materials to increase their earnings. By encouraging their trading online, Daraz gives them the exposure of being a part of a nearly 1-million strong product base and visited online by nearly 250,000 people every day.
Furthermore, Daraz developed the Ceylon market with the aim of supporting SMEs and local manufacturers. The products showcased via the Ceylon Market are 100% produced in Sri Lanka and handmade. Ranging from clothes to shoes to furniture to herbal remedies, this platform has something for everyone and highlights local entrepreneurs.
When the pandemic forced thousands of SMEs across the country to close their doors and quarantine last year, resulting in the loss of investment and business, Daraz also initiated their seller stimulus programme under the theme of ‘Eksathwa Shakthimathwa’, which offered SMEs financial and business incentives as well as marketing, facilitating the navigation of online sales for SMEs in Sri Lanka. The platform invited local sellers to bring their businesses online where Daraz then provided a subsidy worth thirty million rupees. With no sales commission charges for two months and an expedited payment process, all sellers received their sales income within a few days. Furthermore, all sellers received free access to Daraz University, the training portal on Daraz, where they underwent swift training on the important aspects of selling online.
As the leading e-commerce platform in South Asia, Daraz also announced a series of Seller Promises. These included simplifying the sign-up process to allow new sellers to start selling within 24 hours, paying sellers twice as fast, promising to respond to seller enquiries on live chat within 30 seconds during business hours and providing specific support to ensure that SMEs are able to perform at their best.
Speaking to Managing Director of Daraz, Rakhil Fernando, “Sri Lanka’s SME sector with over 500,000 strong SMEs contributes to around 52% of the GDP. At Daraz, we believe innovation can come out of a crisis, and as the largest online marketplace in Sri Lanka, it is our responsibility to lead this change for the SMEs. Many do not have the ability to make the transition to online sales effectively, as it involves new processes and systems. Daraz is able to offer sellers the ability to sell online at scale to millions of consumers nationwide, providing them with the necessary education, training and assistance where required. Our priority is to strengthen our local economy, bridging the gap caused by digital accessibility and understanding.”
A testament to the brand’s commitment towards its sellers and ecosystem, Daraz has gone above and beyond to enable an ease of business and encourage sellers to shift to e-commerce. Recognizing the presence of untapped talent in every corner of Sri Lanka, Daraz is facilitating the entrepreneurial skills of individuals across the island and provides a foundation upon which SMEs might develop their enterprises.