Over 50 thousand people look into Evaly’s offers, with the number always being 10 to 15 thousand during peak hours
It is 8 pm. Dozens of people are waiting in the reception room at a workaholics' office in the capital's Dhanmondi area.
Vendors and various brand product sellers are here to get enlisted or negotiate prices with Evaly, the most discussed e-commerce platform in the country.
Some loyal customers of the platform are waiting to take selfies with the young chief executive officer (CEO) of the startup. The CEO appears online for a casual interaction almost every night.
A customer is pushing the office staff for a delivery of the smart phone he had ordered two to three weeks earlier. But the Evaly team is politely apologetic and requests some more time from him.
Interestingly, over half of the visitors are from the countryside. They are in Dhaka simply to meet Mohammad Rassel, the CEO of Evaly.
Mohammad Rassel, a graduate in statistics, started out as a banker but within six years opted to be an entrepreneur.
You may be hearing of the risk taker for the first time, but you cannot have failed to spot the logo of his diaper brand 'Kidz' in almost all drug stores and on billboards.
"Yes, the diaper brand is well established as people consider it as one of the best diaper brands," says Mohammad Rassel, who earned the trust of parents by marketing his 'Kidz' diaper before starting Evaly along with his colleagues.
"When we started investing in 'Kidz', people close to us were very skeptical about it. They kept on telling us to be more cautious before we invested our money and valuable time in the business."
Rassel recalled, "I started the business with some of my younger colleagues who had come back from Europe. Some of them had left their prestigious corporate jobs. All of us are thus risk takers."
Cash flows from the best-selling diaper brand are very encouraging and resources and efforts are being invested to expand Evaly.
How much has Evaly grown?
Evaly began its ambitious journey as a small e-commerce platform in 2018 on December 16, Bangladesh's Victory Day.
Evaly has upgraded its website and mobile app and has increasingly been attracting new visitors and shoppers every day.
Over 50 thousand people look into Evaly's offers, with the number always being 10 to 15 thousand during peak hours, according to Mohammad Rassel.
Over 15 thousand offline sellers are already engaged with Evaly and at least 10 thousand are actively selling their products or services there, he added.
"Thanks to the promotional campaigns that have been helping Evaly to get deep rooted in more and more people's minds."
Evaly's offers appear to be extremely generous during campaigns. Take, for instance, such offers as motorcycles or home appliances from authentic brick and mortar stores at unbelievably more than 50 percent discounts.
"Of course that takes some toll on our pockets, but we get exactly what we need as an e-commerce platform."
Evaly sold over 1,200 motorcycles at discounted prices in its last campaign. The community of happy buyers envy them and thousands of motorcycle riders have opened accounts with Evaly.
"And they need to buy many things from us. We will retain them."
Each of the campaigns has increased Evaly's outreach and sales.
"Our turnover crossed Tk70 crore last month and it should cross Tk80 crore in the10th month."
In terms of turnover, this is the second largest e-commerce platform, only behind market leader Daraz, a subsidiary of Chinese giant Alibaba group.
"We want to celebrate Evaly's first birthday at a grand get-together of 5,000 Evaly lovers and I am confident that by then Evaly will have reached the milestone of a Tk100 crore turnover," Rassel added.
The bottom line
Many start-up investors at home and abroad are carefully monitoring Evaly as a potential firm to invest in. Along with everything else, they analyse the profit potentials of the firm.
How is Evaly moving in this regard?
"E-commerce is not a business to count profit each month. It is all about attaining and retaining the scale of operation and additional strength. And it is the edge of e-commerce business," said the CEO.
"We are focusing on it in a manageable and sustainable way."
"With the growth in the business, we need to invest more and more to be at the top."
"Until now, we have invested ourselves with the help of lenders. Some deep-pocket investors with their expertise in financing startups are in talks to shake hands with us."
A mixed proposition
"Rassel Bhai is a calm and quiet person who thinks very transparently and much ahead of time. But he is very ambitious and aggressive in business planning," said Atiqur Rahman Rajon, a colleague who has known him since teenage at boarding school.
"Spending for brand positioning is meaningless if it fails to create an impact, no matter whether you spend millions or a Tk100 note," opined Mohammad Rassel.
"How much you invest for promotion must give you the desired outcome, and in that case spending is not an issue, I believe."
The love and hate relationship
It is a crazy story, full of emotions. You must love Evaly when you manage to order a vehicle or consumer durable at an unbelievable discount.
The love turns into anxiety when the team fails to deliver the product within the declared time. The more the delay, the more anxiety transforms into hatred.
The hatred reverts to love when the product is finally delivered or the customer is ordering again.
"We are working hard to keep pace in the order, payment and delivery process. But as a start-up with limited resources, it is really tough to handle the increasing number of orders."
"We can do it (manage orders and deliveries in time) easily by doubling the size of the Evaly team right now."
"But we are very cautiously moving ahead as we hate firing. You know of some heart breaking stories of sackings at a top Bangladeshi tech-based start-up recently."
"In campaigns all over the world, there are additional workloads on e-commerce teams. But on regular business days they do not have to struggle for getting smooth operations underway."
"We are on the way to reducing campaigns and focusing more on an improvement of the operational process in the coming days," says a confident Mohammad Rassel.
"We are readying ourselves to deliver any product within three working days in the city. But before that we must finish dealing with the gigantic list of deliveries soon. We are thankful to those who have responded to Evaly's offers."