Since its inception in Nepal in 2013, Kaymu, an e-commerce platform that connects buyers and sellers, has grown to become a large online shopping community in the country. The company has 1,000 active sellers more than 35,000 products registered in 150 plus categories on its website. Niroshan Balasubramaniam, CEO Asia of Kaymu was in Nepal for his regular business visit. Krishana Prasain of New Business Age caught up with Balasubramaniam to talk about, among other things, the growing online market trend, Kaymu’s new services and future plans in Nepal. Excerpts:
What is the main purpose of your visit?
We will be partnering with the biggest Nepali business groups by co-branding some of our marketing and commercial initiatives. We have widespread business globally, and I visit each of our Kaymu branches to observe the progress on a regular basis, in spite of also regularly communicating. E-commerce is an industry which has amazing opportunities especially in a country like Nepal, but also there are challenges to bring buyers and sellers together.
Kaymu has created significant attraction in Nepal in a very short period. What are the reasons behind its success?
A young and educated population in Nepal which has access to the internet is growing up. Also, there is a lack of shopping malls in the country on a large scale. So, Kaymu is a way for thousands of products from clothing to electronics brands to be at one place. We give access to the buyers of all the products from where they reach out to the sellers. It is not an online store; we connect buyers and sellers. From a buyer’s point of view, you can find a large number of products at affordable prices. Similarly, from a seller’s point of view, you can be an entrepreneur who can sell online without having to spend opening a shop. We are probably the first to start e-commerce in Nepal. In terms of technology, we are also playing a major role as we have a proper website and a mobile app, since Nepal has emerged as a mobile driven country. In the future, 70-80 percent of our traffic will be coming through mobile devices.
How do you see the future prospects of e-commerce in Nepal? How important is Nepal’s market for Kaymu?
E-commerce in Nepal is likely to become the main shopping trend. E-commerce is a fraction of the way people do shopping in countries like Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka where the market has developed into traditional bazaars and shopping malls. It will be cheaper to operate an online market compared to building large shopping malls.
Nepal is a prominent market for Kaymu. We launched here believing in the country’s business potential supported by factors such as, a growing number of internet users and no market competition. We have also been receiving a positive response from Kaymu users. Despite a tough business environment here, we see good prospects in Nepal.
How is Kaymu performing in other markets?
We are in seven countries in Asia. In South Asia, we are the market leader. Also, we are the biggest open online market in the countries where we operate. We are growing in Africa too. We have formed seven companies in Asia and we have the advantage of being an international company.
Many online shopping websites have spawned in Nepal in recent years. How is the competition for Kaymu?
We always welcome market competition. Growing competition means people will get the best products at the best prices. We are the market leader in our business as we are an international company and besides this we have a very strong workforce, a strong network here.
As an e-commerce platform, what benefits can buyers and sellers get by doing transactions on Kaymu?
For buyers, Kaymu takes away all the hassle of going from shop to shop and buyers get to know the prices easily. On Kaymu you can find 50,000 products at one single place offered at reasonable prices. For sellers, it is a tool for entrepreneurship.
Are you planning to introduce new services? What are your expansions plans for Nepal?
We have a new innovation coming soon. We are planning a shopping cart where people can buy different types of commodities at a single order. We hope that it will enable customers to buy things in a more convenient way. Besides Kathmandu, we are already in the major cities across Nepal. We will be expanding our network in the country in future.
With many international e-commerce websites targeted by hackers in recent years, how do you ensure a safe online shopping platform to your customers?
Our IT platforms are developed in Europe with very high standards of security. Also, we are safer because we do not store any financial details of our customers.
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