My 2020 Reflections: Part 2 – The Achievements

“Allah has already planed your life. If something goes wrong, it went wrong for a reason”.

In my whole life, I have noticed a pattern. Allah has granted almost all my wishes, but when the time is right for me, not when I wished for it. Now if I need anything, I ask to him and tell him to give me when he thinks that I am eligible for that. So far in my life, I am very much thankful to Allah (SWT) for his blessing. In 2020, there is also no exception.

When I left Jeeon in November 2018, I had no concrete plan what I will do in my career. I already had 10 years of experience and I am feeling that my growth is getting stagnant. I put myself in a silo, very comfortable with the position and I was very happy with that. I forgot that one has to be uncomfortable in order to be successful, in some ways. If one stays in his comfort zone! S/he would never do the things that one needs to do. Leaving Jeeon was the first step I had taken to break that comfort zone. Before leaving Jeeon, I had no full time opportunities in my hand, only a consultancy which can cover my 3 to 4 months cost. But I believe that the strength of an individual’s convictions in his/her own effectiveness determines whether he/she will even try to cope in difficult situations. And as I said, with the grace of Allah (SWT) I have joined Next Billion in March 2019, just after completing my 3 months assignment in Nathan Associates’ project BFP-B.

Achievement#1: B2B Retail eCommerce

At the end of 2019, we have launched B2B retail in Tangail. We launched the 1st prototype in 2 days. With 1 month learning, I have attended an accelerator event in Hong Kong. It was a great experience. Implementing B2B retail eCommerce was one of the challenging projects I have implemented in my life. Although due to unavoidable circumstances, we have to close the project for the time being but I have learned a lot from it. Some achievement of this projects is given below –

  • Establish the pilot operations of B2B Retail initiative with 1500+ rural retail outlets
  • Total revenue reach to $120,000 in 6 months, with an average basket size of around $60
  • Completed around 2000+ deliveries in 6 months
  • Designed a GPS based route plan for products delivery to last-mile retail shop in a cost-effective way
  • Designed both Online (eCommerce site) and Offline (call center) order management solution

In terms of learning –

  • Understood the buying pattern of rural retailers, specially union and below union market
  • Understood the smartphone using behaviour of these retailers
  • Understood the market dynamics like the alternative channels of procuring products, existing financial terms among wholesaler and retailer etc.
  • Understood the roles and value added by the existing market players. It’s really important because then you can plan and design your automated/semi-automated solution.

Achievement#2: Live Commerce

In 2020, I also got opportunities to implement couple of projects in Bangkok, Thailand and I have experienced the whole eCommerce ecosystem of South East Asia. Not only got the user experience but also met people from Lazada, Shopee, aCommerce and some eCommerce merchants. I am really amazed with the whole ecosystem, especially the return procedure and logistics facilities. After experiencing the whole ecosystem, my learnings plus realizations are –

  • We all know that if customers have to work too hard to find a way to contact the company to resolve their problem quickly, they will be dissatisfied and their frustration can go viral faster than lighting. However, if customers have issues resolved by customer service, you will see lower return rates, more positive motion of your companies on social media (even when there were problems), better online review and more customers.
  • The company should give enough authority to customer officer so that they can solve the problem for the customers, not just following some checklist and procedures.
  • The e-commerce marketplace should also be obsessed with this customer service. They should expects that their merchants will be similarly obsessed with the customers services to gain the confidence of the customers. For that, the e-com marketplace can incentivize their third party merchants who obliged that and can punish those who didn’t.
  • For marketplace third party merchants, it is critical for them to understand the company’s customer-service mindset to be successful.

Another thing really amazed me is the growth of Live Commerce in China and SEA. Live commerce is a combination of TVC or Asian Sky shop, plus Facebook live, plus an eCommerce platform, all rolled into 1 app. I wrote couple of articles on Live Commerce, and one of that was published in The Daily Star, the leading english newspaper in Bangladesh. You can find the article here.

Achievement#3: Blogging

Before 2020, I wrote few articles  but in 2020, I have started it seriously. So far in 2020, I wrote 12 blog, and also I developed my own blog site, rashedunnabi.com.  I have started my own blog site in May 2020. So far 1200+ visitors visited my site and all of these are organic flow. I didn’t do any SEO or Adwords or any social media marketing. 22 people also subscribe to my blog. In 2021, I am planning to post at least 1 blog weekly and promote my blog in social media. Apart from my own blog site, all of those articles are also published in other platform like Marketing in Asia,  and Thrive Global.

Achievement#4: Active Networking in the time of Pandemic

Although due to COVID-19 we all were in lockdown and currently maintaining the social distancing, still I identify 2020 as the year of networking for me. Till 2019, my total LinkedIn connection was close to 2000 and 95% of my connections are from Bangladesh. And now at the end of 2020, total connections grows to just over 4000+ and 55% of them are from Bangladesh. I not only focus on the quantity, but also quality, like I actually met (obviously virtually) 80+ of my contacts in this year with whom I never met before. Mostly it was an intro call, knowing each other. I think I will continue this virtual networking activities in 2021 too.

I also joined Lunch Club and Cuppa Club. Both of the platform is actually is a super-connector that makes introductions for 1:1 video meetings. These platforms will get you  connected smartly to professionals around the world based on your goals to help you form the personal connections you want. I also met very smart and passionate people through these platforms.

Wrap-Up

Since I left Jeeon, in last 2 years, the way I way I grew (also in terms of speed), I am really thankful to Almighty Allah and also to few of my friends (Tajdin, Chinmoy, and some junior friends), my colleagues (especially Oliver Gilbert, my mentor and boss) and some well wishers (especially Zahed Bhai, Rashed Bhai, Muhymin bhai, Sajid, Saif Bhai, Arafat and many more).

In last 1 year, the almighty has given me lots of opportunities to learn. In 2021, I will take a step back to make two steps forward. I will take a step back to reflect on my learnings, form ideas and courses of actions to attain my goals. I know that life is often unpredictable, so you have to be prepared even if things are going just fine at the moment. So I want to stay positive and have a clear focus on my goals. And Insha’Allah by the grace of almighty, I will reach my goals.

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