While importing any product from China to Bangladesh, every entrepreneur and businessman has to face various problems like customs clearance, VAT, tax, LC, and many other issues related to the shipment. With the goal of resolving such issues, WholesaleCart started its journey in January 2020 as the first B2B wholesale business in Bangladesh. Currently, there are more than 200 million products from 20 million Chinese sellers listed on WholesaleCart’s official website, where customers can buy any product in Bangladeshi currency. In addition, the specialty of the platform is that WholesaleCart can deliver ordered products in just 12 to 24 days.
Journey of WholesaleCart
Saiful Islam and Kamrul Islam, the founders of WholesaleCart, are siblings and business partners. In 2018, the two brothers founded a stock-based day-to-day eCommerce called AZOBSHOP. This eCommerce business used to offer imported products from China to its consumers.
However, during the journey, both of them realized that there are several eCommerce and F-commerce companies in Bangladesh that are already doing business on the same model as AZOBSHOP. They also noticed that importing products from China is a highly complex process due to various complications related to Foreign Currency, Customs Clearance, VAT, TAX, LC, Shipment, etc. However, even though, if all these complications can be solved, still there are some other problems that remain like lost or damaged goods, wrong products, or defective products. Therefore, it is pretty risky for small entrepreneurs to run a business with such intricacies. To address these issues, Saiful Islam and Kamrul Islam intend to construct an E-TRADE BRIDGE by bringing together Chinese manufacturers, Bangladeshi companies, and businessmen. So that, anyone can import goods directly from China by avoiding the complications of Customs Clearance, VAT, TAX, LC, and Shipment. That’s where the idea of WholesaleCart came from.
In Bangladesh, there are areas in Dhaka like Gulistan, Chawkbazar, Nayabazar, and Bangshal where you can purchase products at wholesale prices. However, products available in these areas have a much higher price than the actual value due to them being imported through various channels. On the other hand, product prices can be reasonable in Bangladesh if these can be imported directly from China. With this in mind, the WholesaleCart website was initially launched in January 2020, with 100 million products from 10 million Chinese sellers with a promise of delivering goods within 12 to 24 days. Furthermore, due to the Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba’s API integration, almost every Alibaba product was listed on the website.
As such a unique idea is entirely new in Bangladesh, WholesaleCart was able to get a good response from the local entrepreneurs and traders in the first month of launch. But by then, the corona pandemic had hit, and due to the lockdown, the Chinese sellers could not deliver the ordered products on time. In such a scenario, the wholesale cart’s delivery commitment to its customers increased from 12 to 24 days to 30 to 40 days. On the other hand, when a complete lockdown was declared in Bangladesh in March 2020, all types of shipments to Bangladesh through the land, water, and air stopped coming from almost all countries, including China. However, it was for the pandemic that the delivery was being delayed, the customers were also considering the matter.
But the problem is with WholesaleCart’s website. There were so many products listed on the site that increased the website’s response time. Furthermore, the interface of the website wasn’t many users friendly, especially the order placement section, so the number of customer complaints was increasing. To overcome this, Razib Sikder, a student in the CSE department at North South University, joined WholesaleCart in September 2020 as the CTO or Chief Technology Officer. Rajib Sikdar redesigns WholesaleCart’s website focusing on image search technology, browsing speed, customer experience, and easy order process. When the newly developed website was relaunched on October 8 of that year. Moreover, WholesaleCart is the first eCommerce website in Bangladesh to use image search technology on its website. At the same time, everything else on the website, such as product selection, order placement, and payment processes, became much easier. Besides, the website integrates a real-time tracking system so that customers can track where their ordered product is and how long it will take to arrive. On November 11 of that year, WholesaleCart launched its Android application.
After the new website launch, the people who benefited most were WholesaleCart’s existing customers. Because the latest version didn’t have the problems they were facing continuously in the earlier version. It has a better-simplified UI and many more features like customers could copy the link of any product directly from the Alibaba website and search on WholesaleCart to see the price of that product in Bangladeshi Taka and order it.
Besides, the most exciting feature for customers was the image search technology. Through this feature, customers can find and order products only by searching with pictures. With all these user-friendly features, WholesaleCart has become quite attractive to new customers as well as the existing ones.
The following year, in February 2021, WholesaleCart launched its own logistics supply chain management and delivery support service ShipBaz to provide faster delivery service to customers. In the same year, WholesaleCart launched another platform called OnesaleMart to provide an integrated shopping experience with marketplaces such as Alibaba, Greater China, Amazon India-Dubai-USA, and Taobao. Currently, all activities of WholesaleCart, ShipBaz, OnesaleMart, and Azobshop are being managed under Accept Global Limited (AGL).
WholesaleCart is a platform for Bangladeshi entrepreneurs or businessmen to connect with Chinese sellers. However, the local buyers do not bargain directly with the Chinese sellers in this case. If a buyer/entrepreneur orders a product on the WholesaleCart platform, then the platform itself deals with the Chinese seller on behalf of that buyer and buys the product. After that, the seller delivers the product to WholesaleCart’s China Warehouse, where the platform evaluates the product, packages it, and sends it to Bangladesh through Air Cargo. When the shipment arrives in Bangladesh, it is brought to WholesaleCart’s local warehouse after clearing customs and other steps. The product is then delivered to the customers after being sorted. With its own office and warehouse facility in China, WholesaleCart can now deliver products within 12 working days. However, if the delivery is delayed due to any unexpected situation, the platform completes the delivery within 24 days. According to WholesaleCart, the platform now has about 40,000 registared users.
In terms of promotion and branding, the company initially did influencer marketing, but now the company is emphasizing trade marketing. In other words, the company is working directly with various e-commerce entrepreneurs and vendors who sell Chain-imported products both online and offline.
From the beginning of the journey, WholesaleCart has been working to ensure customer satisfaction by solving import-related problems for small entrepreneurs in Bangladesh. Many small entrepreneurs in Bangladesh cannot import products directly and depend on others for imports. Through WholesaleCart, now many small and new entrepreneurs can import products from China and sell those in the Bangladesh market. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, in the fiscal year 2019-20, Bangladesh imported more than $13.53 billion worth of goods from China.
China’s import-export trade with Bangladesh is increasing every year, so importing products from China for Bangladeshi entrepreneurs is quite a lucrative business to serve consumers in the local market. And in the future, the scope of such a company will increase further where the WholesaleCart will play an important role.
In addition, by 2022 WholesaleCart.com plans to add local vendors to its marketplace which will allow local vendors to sell their products both locally and internationally through the platform. Moreover, as a part of future development process in future, WholesaleCart plans to establish its branches in every division of Bangladesh and later in every district.