The inside of one online store, buyonline.lk
There are a lot of Sri Lankan eCommerce sites these days. Anything.lk has combined with Dialog’s various ventures into wow.lk, a shopping aggregator of sorts. Venture capitalists have backed takas.lk (an electronics store) and just today I saw AVStore.lk, a site selling somewhat specialized audio equipment.
Places like Singer and Abans have long done ecommerce but in a rudimentary ‘this also’ kinda way. Now we’re seeing a new crop of companies doing it sometimes as their first line of business. While most people seem to be going for the electronics market, there are also smaller shops like colombotraders.com who do cash on delivery.
The gaps in Sri Lanka are that online payment systems are complicated (no PayPal), credit card penetration is low (I think around 1 million cards out there), and delivery is not that efficient or cheap. That said, India has worse problems (especially on delivery) and eCommerce is booming there.
I’m still not sure whether the model is consolidation a la Dialog and Anything.lk or if smaller businesses will use the Internet in general rather than one particular platform. Either way, it’s good to see.