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The Standout Stories

The second edition of Unisel presents ‘Rise Above All’ hosted by Don Sumdany Facilitation & Consultancy was held on 12 January 2018. The largest motivational speaking event took place in the country’s capital, and 5,000 participants from all around the country attended.
Alongside many other renowned personalities, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, State Minister, Information, and Communication Technology (ICT) enlightened the crowd with his presence and shared snippets from his journey so far. Other insightful sessions were held by notable personalities like Sabbir Hasan Nasir, Executive Director, ACI Logistics Ltd (Shwapno) and Shehzad Munim, Managing Director of British American Tobacco.
The digital panel consisting of motivational speakers and YouTubers like Solaiman Shukhon, Ayman Sadiq, Prito Reza and Salman Muqtadir successfully engaged the crowd in various activities during the session and delivered important youth-centric messages through their speeches.
Participants were offered with the opportunity of direct part-time, or full-time placements as well as an internship by many industry stalwarts present at the event.
ICE Business Times gained further industry-specific insights from Sabbir Hasan Nasir, Executive Director, Shwapno and Hasan Benaul Islam, Industry Promotion Specialist, LICT Bangladesh.

Sabbir Hasan Nasir
Executive Director

Shwapno is a renowned name among the consumers. How do you feel about its popularity?
Whenever Shwapno is referred as the leading retail brand, it always feels good. It gives the idea that at least there has been some achievement in life as of yet, maybe there is room to do a lot more development, but this effort is recognized as well. However, with recognition comes further responsibility, so we always have to live up to those expectations.

Tell us about the most significant challenge you faced while bringing Shwapno to a position it holds in the consumers’ mindset now.
The customer-centric approach has helped Shwapno reach a larger mass and attract them over and over again. We might have made many mistakes along the way, but we have always given our best to satisfy our customers, remain humble and mend our mistakes. There have apparently been challenges along the way. One of the most significant problems has been to attract the customers from the regular roadside market to our retail shops. Consumers have previously preferred those markets for cheaper costs and higher accessibility. Diverting them from that market was a daunting task.

If you could start all over again, would you do things differently or have you found the recipe for success?
If I had the chance to start over again, I would never deviate from the path I follow now. I feel satisfied knowing the recipe for my success and believe that if the passion is strong, we can always control our imagination and give it a form. However, it is not possible to go very far with a formless passion. You must always learn to love yourself first to know who the most vital stakeholder in your life is. Then keep their interest aligned with yours and work accordingly.

You have been a part of the corporate world for quite a while now. What advice would you like to give to the new generation?
We are going through the fourth industrial revolution, and the fifth revolution is not very far away. For the youth to become a significant part of this revolution, they need to get out of their comfort zone and experience real-life situations. A good hold of the technological aspects of the world will help the youth to engage with new opportunities as they come by.

Hasan Benaul Islam
Industry Promotion Specialist
LICT Bangladesh

The world has moved to the era of e-commerce. How far do you think Bangladesh is lagging behind?
E-commerce is a growing platform currently, but to make it successful, there is an ABCD model that we must follow. A goes for awareness of the consumers, convincing them that they can receive the best products without any hassle of going out of their homes. Companies must know their consumers and their behavioral patterns. Culturally Bangladeshi women have been brought up with a mindset that products are not reliable unless inspected physically. In that scenario, convincing them to purchase a product based on its picture is a complicated job. B stands for the business model of the firms that are pursuing e-commerce. It is still a fresh concept and has been painful to triumph for many. Therefore, a viable business model is essential to have. C goes for the confidence of the consumers. Businesses need to become trustworthy. Lastly, D stands for the delivery channel. A fixed, permanent and reliable channel for delivering the products must be ensured to retain the consumers. Once we establish the ABCD model, I believe Bangladesh can have a flourishing e-commerce market.

What do you think is the most prominent challenge consumers and producers face when it comes to e-commerce?
The biggest challenge for the e-commerce field is its small canvas where currently Dhaka is the only part of it. We need to expand the horizon to make it significantly important. Secondly, Bangladesh has abundant resources in different parts of the country. Each city has its distinct specialty. Rural e-commerce needs to be developed for our country where even the farmers get to benefit from a platform like this; this will enable us to get the best out of e-commerce platforms.

How to create more awareness about the sector?
The most significant customer base of the e-commerce sector is women. With the responsibility of handling families, jobs and the hectic life in Dhaka, they barely get the time to go and shop. Presence of e-commerce makes it easier for them to order day-to-day things. Once we succeed in creating an example of the e-commerce industry through our products and earn their trust, the e-commerce sector will become widely accepted. Simultaneously we have to work on improving our services. Bangladesh lacks the ethics of providing service, which needs to be improved.

Written by

Ishrat Jahan is a Sub-Editor at ICE Business Times. She can be reached at jahanishrat1994@gmail.com.