Sri Lankan daily deals pioneer anything.lk plans to take its offering to urban centres beyond Colombo with the promise that products will not be marked up significantly even though transportation and other costs will apply. Instead, orders will arrive at consumers' homes at the same price those in Colombo would be paying, according to its Chief Executive Officer Reeza Zarook.
Speaking to the Business Times, along with high profile local entrepreneur Thilan Wijesinghe, a director in the company, Mr. Zarook further noted that the company had realised early on that what Sri Lankan consumers wanted more than anything else were white goods.
This was very different to other markets such as Thailand, etc, where its partner ensogo.com has found that people were interested in deals for spas, hotel rooms, vacations, etc. This, says Mr. Zarook, is because Sri Lankan consumers are often faced with inconsistent supply and even market forces resulting in cheaper costs frequently not passed on to consumers.
This is so much so that anything.lk has started bringing in and selling its own white goods, at discounted rates, due to the high demand. Beyond profit, another goal of this new strategy is for the company to become a credible retailer in the eyes of consumers and, as such, build trust in the brand.
To date, the company has secured a 65% recognition among the upper and middle income (A, B) demographics, according to research cited by advertising companies. This has taken just over eight months since their launch.
Mr. Zarook also added that this expansion beyond Colombo is only possible due to awareness of deals created by way of traditional forms of advertising such as radio and newspapers, while a partnership with mobile operator Dialog has allowed payments to be made via phone bills. Another missing part of the equation since credit card penetration is very low with only 800,000 credit card holders island-wide.
Meanwhile, Mr. Wijesinghe indicated that the company fulfilled a social need in that it offered a service that was sorely needed in addition to providing SMEs a platform for making their products known to hundreds of thousands of people, while at the same time also providing consumers with more choices.
At the same time, Mr. Zarook also noted that anything.lk's real clients were the merchants it signed up and this platform was more effective than advertising, etc in terms of return on investments for every rupee spent. He added that anything.lk advertised their deals on radio and in newspapers and it had 144,000 Facebook fans as well as being the biggest local Facebook ads account. This went a long way in securing its 91% market share and allowing customers to reach unprecedented visibility via anything.lk. Visibility that even big companies with big, dedicated advertising budgets could not achieve.
Watch the video of the interview at www.sundaytimes.lk/videos