December 22, 2018

Modern Retail sector in Bangladesh faces major challenges – skill gap, lack of strategic direction, lack of technology adaptation, policy implication complexity – just to name a few. These challenges stall the growth momentum of this highly potential sector.

To address these challenges, Bangladesh Brand Forum initiated Bangladesh Retail Congress in 2016. The third edition of the congress held in November with the theme “Shaping Modern Retail in Bangladesh”. Presented by Shwapno and powered by Lotto, the congress was attended by around 350 professionals. Multiple Panel Discussions, Keynote Sessions, Insight Sessions and Case Study Presentation shared relevant data, information and analysis of the sector throughout the congress.


The event was inaugurated by Mr. Sohel Tanvir Khan, Business Director, ACI Logistics Ltd. and Mr. Shariful Islam, Founder & Managing Director, Bangladesh Brand Forum.

Inaugurating the occasion, Sohel Tanvir Khan said, “To ensure the growth and development of Bangladesh Retail Industry, we all need to work together. The industry requires all of our undivided attention.” Speaking on the significance of the initiative, he hoped that everyone will be benefitted by this knowledge sharing platform and learning will take place at the same time. 

Shariful Islam shed lights on the importance of retail industry in both formal & informal sectors in Bangladesh. He stressed, “Retail Congress as a platform is designed to assist the organized retail sector of Bangladesh through skill development, knowledge sharing, technology adoption and strategic direction for reinvention of the sector in the Digital Era.” He encouraged all to take the learning from the event to the next level by sharing thoughts collectively and in real life work space.

Professor Dr. Syed Ferhat Anwar, Director, University of Dhaka, talked about the purpose of Bangladesh Retail Congress. He suggested to look at the technological changes that are happening around the world now. According to him, getting connected with the customers using the technology and ensuring social emancipation is very important. Putting together the digital world and the brick world ensures customer satisfaction and at the end of the day helps the retailers to make more money.



Prachi Tiwari is the Engagement Director of Landor Mumbai, talked about ‘Store Design & Customer Satisfaction’. She has over 20 years of experience in managing and driving growth in several B2B & B2C brands. She has rolled out diverse marketing campaigns for impactful brand building and marketing across platforms including CRM, Brand Communications and PR. Prachi talked about how the design and in-store experiences are changing nowadays and the disruptions that are happening around retail. Throughout the session, she took some unique examples of some notable brands who are the legacy retail players and constantly changing consumer experiences. For some retailers mobile is a big contributor for sales as it’s pretty convenient for the customers to check and have idea about the overall product offerings and convince them to experience them. The right product, the right mix of the value and the right price setting are the expectations from customers’ sides.

Personalisation of the brands is becoming the norm now for the consumers and the retailers should be well-aware of this. However, enhanced environments in the retail stores can create an immersive and interactive experience in the retail stores and provides certain functional, emotional and social values to the consumers. “Creating an enhanced environment or a store experience that enables personalisation is all about building deeper experiences. You are stimulating ideal experiences of a product or service in a manner that will enable the consumers to derive value from it,” she said.


Diptanshu Ray is the market leader of Nielsen South Asia East. He has an experience of over 18 years of Strategic Consultancy and Client Relationship Management, track record of profitable and sustainable growth, achievement of business turnarounds during adverse economic conditions, talent development and P&L management.

Diptanshu talked about ‘What’s Next in Modern Retail’ and discussed sectorial retail reshape and technological option along with media consumption in Bangladesh. “Shoppers nowadays are very much price aware and a change in the price can lead the customers to buy only the essentials, less or bulk in total, in discount prices and ultimately switch to other brands. This price sensitivity is very much of a phenomenon across the globe and will not be untouched. So, you have to have a very good pricing strategy when you get into modern retailing”, he said. And he suggested to deal with the pre-purchase & post purchase behavior of the shoppers to win in the reality.


Arijit Chakraborti, Partner of PWC, has specific focus on technology consulting, technology solutions implementation, and performance improvement of businesses. He has twenty-two years of experience in consulting and managing large transformational projects for clients spanning across industries and geographies. Arijit talked about ‘Technological Advancements & The Future of Shopping’ in the congress. He shed lights on four micro-moments shaping consumer habits.

Customers Want to Know

It doesn’t matter where the customer is, he or she wants to know about a particular product or a service.

Customers Wants to Go Somewhere to Experience a Product or Service

It can be a shop or some other experience store for customers to get into. So, ensuring easy access of customers in that particular place is very much important for the retailers.

Customers want to buy

Doesn’t matter from where the customers buy products; they select the best option for them – be it online stores or any retail store.

Customers Want to ‘do’

If the customers are attracted towards a certain product or service, they are willing to spend for it. The considerable fact here is to create that habit of customer.



The first Panel Discussion was held on the topic ‘Next Step in Marketing Your Product’ which consisted of Sumble Momen, Director of Pride Group; Nazmul Karim Chowdhury, SVP & Head of Brand, The City Bank Limited; Ashraful Alam, COO of Aarong; Rezaul Kabir, COO of Sailor, and Arafatur Rahman, Head of Marketing, RFL Plastics.

The panelists discussed about consumers’ likeliness to rely on tech-based consumption nowadays, security insurance in the financial transaction for consumers, differentiation of consumer experience for the retailers to sustain, development of E-commerce system in Bangladesh to capture more customer base and smoother operation in the retail chain shops for market growth.

They started the session by taking on the examples of their businesses’ evolvement during the last few years. According to the panelists, brick and mortar stores will not die out entirely. Sumble Momen said that a careful integration of the online and offline experience is very much important for retail stores so that it can help the customers to make the purchase decision at first before buying anything. Customers nowadays don’t care about how organized the retailers are; rather they want to have a seamless shopping experience throughout. Adding to that, Ashraful Alam said that the retailers need to focus on both the balance of the payment and delivery system while considering the usage of digital media. However, the quality of the products and the time management is also crucial to ensure complete customer satisfaction. However, Nazmul Karim Chowdhury threw a question about the payment modality for shoppers as they are now having the options for different types of payment systems. So, to create better experience, Rezaul Kabir & Arafatur Rahman expressed their views on having a good network support system and increased performance of E-commerce platform for uninterrupted experience regarding security and transaction time.


The second panel discussion on ‘Breakout Retail Strategy’ had – Ashraf Bin Taj, President of Marketing Society of Bangladesh; Yeamin Sharif, Director of Transcom Electronics; Syed Tahmid Zaman, Director (Marketing) of Best Electronics Limited, and Rezwanul Hoque, Chief Executive Officer of Transsion Bangladesh Limited. The discussion focused on the strength of online platform for incorporating retail strategy, the integration of online & offline product experience considering consumer demand, formulation of retail strategies for more customer engagement in the retail stores, emergence of the concept ‘retail space’ instead of ‘commercial space’, and importance of communication alongside sales.

At the beginning of the discussion, talking about the evolvement of retail space and the future of retail industry, Syed Tahmid Zaman gave views on the need of offline and online retail growth to be considered. Stretching the discussion further, Yeamin Sharif talked about merchandising, category management and standard of processes that are needed to be addressed accordingly. Retailers in Bangladesh need to find out the gaps in these aspects and solve them to run their businesses in a smoother manner. However, Rezwanul Hoque emphasized on the current scenario of online market; and the possible revolution to be happened in the next years if appropriate design and user experience take place.


The third panel discussion talked about ‘Evolution of Retail in Digital Era’ where the panelists were – Sabbir Hasan Nasir, Executive Director, ACI Logistics (Shwapno); Zeeshan Kingshuk Huq, Co-Founder & CEO,; Shehryar Burney, Executive Director, Yellow, and Waseem Alim, Co-Founder & CEO, Throughout the session, the panelists talked about assessing the present and the future customers for generating modern retail strategy, keeping in mind the customer satisfaction, developing modern retail strategy with process orientation, user efficiency & a purpose on consumer experience, efficient management of technology to increase the efficiency of retail, and emergence of E-commerce platform considering the intense competition in the market.

The panel session was an interactive one with active audience participation. Responding to audiences’ questions, the panelists talked about leveraging financial facilities and online transactions in the overall retail operations, increased tendency of consumers to buy products online, and improved customer experience.


The last panel discussion of the congress was held on the topic ‘Next Step on Customer Experience’. This consisted of Dr. Md. Tareque Aziz, Dean, CBA, IUBAT & Lead Consultant, CSQE; Rajan Pillai, CEO, Apex Footwear Limited; Gazi Yar Mohammad, EVP & Head of Innovation, One Bank Limited, and Shaheen Khan, CEO, Meena Bazar. Throughout the discussion, they figured out that customers’ online expectation from retail stores is becoming higher. Therefore, retailers should keep on working on it. They shed lights on sustainable retail operation by learning to adopt, communicate and develop a will to serve people.

However, the retailers need to be ready to accept the technology in store for greater online retail operation and better customer experience. They have all agreed to the point that the online and brick & mortar strategy should be in the right combination for modern retail strategy. The session ended with the notion to take into consideration the quality of service and more engagement of consumers.



The insight session on ‘Service in Retail’ was conducted by Dr. Md. Tareque Aziz, Dean, CBA, IUBAT & Lead Consultant, CSQE and Samiha Hossain, Brand Manager, CSQE. The major challenges retailers are facing with the providence of service. According to Md. Tareque Aziz, the power of listening to the consumers always happens at the retail stores. Now most of the retailers in Bangladesh are keen to provide and deliver services to the customers. This can be the key to reach the ultimate consumer satisfaction by satisfying their queries. He talked about Service Quality Index which will ensure greater customer experience. However, Samiha Hossain shared the way to apply Service Quality Index in the businesses and presented some facts about what is happening around the world and where we are standing. Service Quality Index is very essential to get the experience from the point of view of the customers. As SQI depends on the primary data rather than the secondary data, the retailers need to be very much aware of it.



Gazi Yar Mohammad, Executive Vice President & Head of Innovation of One Bank Limited conducted the insight session by shedding lights on the role of O2O in the next level of consumer experience and how Fintech can evolve in the recent ecosystem of retail. He talked about sharing economy which has pinpointed the O2O concept by ensuring the service booking online and enjoying it offline. It can solve the problem to get this concept connected with the E-commerce and have direct access to consumers; leading the way to effective Fintech.



The case study was presented by Sabbir Rahman Tanim, Managing Director of Tasy Tibet. He shared the journey of Tasty Tibet with the audiences; pulling up trust issues with the food vendors and the challenges to overcome it. He shed lights on Tasty Tibet’s overall operation process for providing quality Momo to the customers. Developing their own software for hourly sales vs order monitoring along with third party monitoring has played significant role for Tasty Tibet’s quality control mechanism.

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