Daraz Sri Lanka and Dialog Axiata Group have officially joined hands in what they call a “strategic partnership to collaborate on digital commerce”. As part of this partnership, wOw.lk’s management and operations will integrate into Daraz Sri Lanka. Additionally, visitors to wow.lk will be redirected to daraz.lk starting 1st of December.
In case you’re an existing customer and have purchased products from wOw.lk, warranties will continue to be valid from the initial purchase point.
As for the partnership itself, it takes the form of an absorption-style merger between the two brands. “As wOw customers will be redirected to Daraz, we have onboarded some key assets, such as some employees, from wOw to smoothen the transition”, says Rakhil Fernando, Managing Director at Daraz Sri Lanka.
The journey so far
Originally, wOw.lk started off as anything.lk years before it came under the reigns of Dialog. Since then, the business has been nurtured by the telco for a little over 9 years before joining hands with Daraz Sri Lanka.
The announcement does come as a bit of a surprise given that wOw.lk relaunched its brand in 2018. It was also named “Sri Lanka’s most valuable e-Commerce brand under Retail Services” in this year’s Brand Finance Sri Lanka report.
Besides Sri Lanka, Daraz operates in four other countries in South East Asia; namely Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Myanmar. The company was acquired by Alibaba in 2018 and now operates as part of the Alibaba Group. According to Rakhil, Alibaba has already started investing in the Sri Lankan arm of Daraz. He further states that since last year, their team has grown from 150-200 to almost 700. An indication that Alibaba is leaning into Sri Lanka’s eCommerce potential.
What does the future hold for Daraz.lk and wOw.lk?
Perhaps the bigger question is, how will this benefit Daraz and the customer base of both platforms? One thing that was apparent from our last experience with Daraz is that logistics is one of the biggest challenges eCommerce companies face in Sri Lanka. Hopefully, the partnership will narrow down these challenges to a bare minimum. As of now, Daraz Sri Lanka is said to move over 100,000 orders each month.
Another point of inquiry is how this affects the workforce at wOw.lk and Daraz Sri Lanka. Daraz has already taken on some staff from wOw and isn’t looking at any layoffs. Speaking to ReadMe, Rakhil mentions that the company is actually looking to grow the team in the coming 12 months. He further stated that “Daraz has seen over 100% growth in the last 6 months, and we don’t expect a slowdown.”
Beyond the wow.lk and daraz.lk integration, the partnership with Dialog Axiata also opens up more collaboration opportunities for Daraz. This includes tying in services like broadband, Dialog TV, Genie, ezCash, etc. with Daraz’s eCommerce platform. The idea is to offer a better value proposition to both customers. Here’s hoping for things to change for the better in Sri Lanka’s eCommerce landscape.
Until then, let us know your thoughts. Do you think this is a good move for customers and the industry overall? Let us know in the comments below.
Update [4:40 PM 30/11/2019]
The article has been updated to reflect Daraz’s comments on the partnership between Daraz Sri Lanka and Dialog Axiata.