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With new leadership and rebranding, Daraz Nepal hopes for a better ecosystem

Aanchal Kunwar - Lino Ahlering Daraz nepal managing director
(Left) Lino Ahlering and Aanchal Kunwar. Photos courtesy: Daraz Nepal

Daraz, a leading online marketplace in Asia, recently got its new logo as a part of its rebranding. After seven years of operation, Daraz Nepal, in addition, is also seeing a change in leadership. Aanchal Kunwar is now replacing Lino Ahlering as the managing director of the company for Nepal.

On this occasion, Onlinekhabar caught up with both the executives and talked about the company and the new changes around it.

Excerpts: 

Lino, how was your experience working at Daraz Nepal? And, how did you see the e-commerce market change at this time?

Lino: I have been a part of the company for the past three and a half years. It was just after Alibaba acquired the Daraz group. Daraz and e-commerce in Nepal were in the very early stage, setting up the basics and trust system. Awareness was also less from the seller’s side. So, Daraz Nepal worked a lot on making known the fundamentals of why quality matters, the importance of professionalism and how to work faster and efficiently.

Daraz Nepal has also grown tremendously. Of course, a big chunk of it was during the time of the pandemic as well. We saw vertical growth with more than thousands of new users. And, now, we have more than 15,000 sellers with 1.3 million products that are catering to 1.5 million users a month. In this time, we also saw a few competitors, but they did not last long. Daraz has become a household name and it had a stronger customer base and ecosystem. 

Since there has been a change in leadership, how are you both taking the transition period?

Lino: The transition has been smooth as I am handling all my responsibilities to Aanchal, and I believe she will be a great leader. I have been working with her for two weeks already and I can vouch that she will be a great fit and have a smooth path ahead.

During my time here, I was welcomed here. But, somehow, because the users were Nepali, the sellers and the staff too were Nepali, it seemed that there was a connection missing to me, who was a foreigner for them all. But, with Aanchal, I believe the connection we seem to be missing will be restored and the Daraz Nepal team and the entire ecosystem will go stronger. 

I am not leaving Daraz, but moving from a local role to a more regional role. So, I am happy that I will be able to work with her more and continue to watch the company grow with her. 

Aanchal: The transition has been very smooth for me as well. I could not have asked for a better workspace. Lino is super-organised and detail-oriented and I feel like I have had to worry much about the work itself. Also, I feel comfort in knowing that Lino is not leaving the Daraz group and will be just a phone call away if and when I need his help.

The Daraz Nepal team has also been great. I have seen that the team is capable of working efficiently on its own, and I am happy to get such a team. 

Aanchal, why did you choose to be a part of Daraz Nepal?

Aanchal: I was in the US for more than 18 years. I previously was with Amazon for five and a half years; I worked to establish and expand their market in Sweden, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. But when I was scouted by the team, Daraz Nepal felt like the next step I needed. 

I was already familiar with Daraz and its impacts on society here and, hence, I felt confident in making the choice. I did not plan to come to Nepal this soon, but here I am.

Along with the change in the executive, Daraz is also going through a rebranding phase. Lino, why did the brand feel the need for a change. And Aanchal, how do you feel the rebranding will change the future of Daraz Nepal?

Lino: The company is always thinking about what next. We did 11.11 sales and 12.12 sales among others. For the past year, we felt like we needed to scale how Daraz has changed and rebrand the company to align it with the vision, ideologies and keep the brand more relatable and connect with more people. 

Why we needed the rebranding is we want to convey a shift in the brand, that it is matured and is not a startup anymore but a company. The new logo represents progress, innovation, exploration, and discovery. 

The play button also represents forwardness and entertainment. So, a big part of the rebranding is also live streams and new experiences. The brand will be more interactive. We want to get more connected with our sellers and customers. And, with the new year, new logo, new features and new leadership, we hope Daraz Nepal will expand more.

Aanchal: We are growing each day and becoming a new person every day. The brand too has evolved and is growing each day. The new logo, colours and features will rebrand the company.

The rebranding and change in leadership is just pure coincidence. But, sure, the rebranding will help us define the time in between the leadership.

Aanchal, you are also the first female leader to join Daraz Nepal. How are you seeing your new role?

Aanchal: I am ecstatic about it. But, I have not thought about the position as me being a female. 

From childhood, personally, I have not been subjected to any gender biases which is why I have not thought regarding that aspect. Having said that, I do acknowledge that there are discrepancies in the world. 

If my leadership can impact the next generation of women or even if I can impact the life of just one person, I would be happy to have accepted this position. 

How do plan to make the brand your own in the future? Where do you see the e-commerce market of Nepal and Daraz Nepal in the future?

Aanchal: Given that I have 13+ years of experience working in the US corporate sector and watched the market there very closely, I surely feel that the market there is so much mature than that of Nepal. But, there are a lot of possibilities too. With the pandemic, the e-commerce market has gotten a big push in the right direction too. 

Under my leadership at Daraz Nepal, if there is one thing that I need to work on, it is the basics mostly from the customer feedback perspective. Complaints like wrong order placements or quality need to be better handled. Many people have now started shopping online and reached Daraz; we have to make sure that they stay.

We are only good as our sellers, so for Daraz Nepal, we need more qualitative sellers, We also need more seller and customer education for a better ecosystem. The Daraz team has been focusing on how to make the customer experience smoother including better return policies. 

We will continue to include more products from sellers, locally and internationally. And, we would also like to include home-based sellers provided that they meet the criteria set by the company. Then, the next step would be to expand Daraz to all parts of Nepal and not just 47 cities

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