E-Commerce Chronicles: The Stage of Online Business in Sri Lanka.

“The growth of information technology in the business world is spreading at a phenomenal rate” (Gunawardana, 2018). It has created a number of new arenas in the business and management sectors. The concept of e-commerce has emerged in this field as a tool for selling and buying through the internet, for the ease of people who were struggling to manage time and money. Spreading globalization became a ladder for the influence of technology to climb high and high in trading platforms. First, it climbed up to powerful countries such as China, the United States, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, and then to developing countries like India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Among these countries, Sri Lanka stands as the 60th largest market, according to ECBD.com (2023). In the midst of a global digital revolution, Sri Lanka is witnessing a significant shift in business dynamics with the integration of e-commerce into traditional management practices. This note is to expose the impacts of e-commerce on management strategies in Sri Lanka, shedding light on the challenges and opportunities that come with navigating the evolving e-commerce landscape.

With the invention of new technological strategies, traditional business models have been adopted in the new digital era, and Sri Lankan enterprises are embracing e-commerce as a strategic tool for growth. In the present day, Sri Lankans are managing to buy and sell products through different online platforms by expanding market reach and breaking geographical constraints. This trend has grown significantly after the social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly with the increased use of the internet and smart devices. The growth has been promoted by increased utilization of e-payments, e-banking, online medical consultations, and e-sports. According to the Sri Lanka E-commerce International Trade Administration (2022), approximately 43% of the estimated 11 million internet users have made online purchases, and the Western Province is the largest e-commerce market geographically, accounting for around half of total orders. Additionally, Daraz stands as a prominent e-commerce platform that has gained traction in Sri Lanka. From the data obtained through Darazindex (2019), out of the total number of online shoppers in Sri Lanka, 85% have shopped on Daraz, with 94% using the Daraz online shopping mobile app. Its mobile application is identified as the best Android online shopping mobile app and the best iOS online shopping app in Sri Lanka. With the popularity gained through advertisements on the internet, Daraz could trade fashion, electronic, health, and beauty-related products, including mobile phones, watches, power banks, bluetooth speakers, laptops, handbags, and shoes. Apart from Daraz, Cargills.lk, My Deal.lk, Lanka Property Web.com, Takas.lk, Ikman.lk, Kapruka.com, Catchme.lk, and Pickme.lk, plenty of e-commerce websites have been created for the ease of marketing, business, and management in Sri Lanka. These platforms have also created several opportunities for employers in the country. Moreover, online banking services, online medical consultations, travel companies, hotels, and other service providers use ecommerce strategies like mobile payment apps, websites, and other software. Most global ecommerce sites are available in Sri Lanka with certain limitations. Small and medium enterprises (SME) are also increasingly using the concept of e-commerce to advertise products, take orders, and accept payments.

When scrutinizing these elements, it is evident that Sri Lanka has acquired considerable status in the marketing and management sectors through technology. Yet there are several drawbacks that can be seen regarding this concept as common and idiosyncratic for Sri Lanka. Owners, employees, and customers have to face different challenges in the marketing, selling, and buying processes. Also, depending on the nature of the above parties, these challenges occur in four main categories: business-to-business (B2B), business-to-customer (B2C), consumer-to-consumer (C2C), and government-to-consumer (G2C). Commonly, including in Sri Lanka, e-commerce brings up disadvantages for customers, like being unable to examine products personally; everybody should have access to the internet; otherwise, people cannot engage in this process; the possibility of products not being received; and credit card thefts. Sometimes the products that are displayed in advertisements may not be the same product in delivery. In these issues, customers throw rotten tomatoes towards e-commerce brands using social media, and that has become a major challenge for the marketing sector as they have the duty of attracting customers to buy products from their certain brand. With that, sellers have to deal with obstacles like distributions may not be effective, the initial cost of some products (electronic products) and trainer labor may be expensive, product specifications need to be updated frequently, and they may encounter fraudulent transactions and losses due to the return policy, etc. As the world is in a rat race in its quest to achieve the highest position in every range, online business owners and employees have the competition of maintaining marketing and attracting customers for the progress of their business. This has created some kinds of moral issues in culture and the well-being of people.

If we talk about Sri Lanka, despite the afore-mentioned challenges and drawbacks, our country has the biggest challenge of upgrading its Internet infrastructure according to the new improvements of globalization. The government has the provocation to deal with a competitive world and a poor economy in Sri Lanka. This has mainly affected small and medium enterprises, as there are fewer facilities for trading development. On the other hand, literacy in technology is quite lacking among the older generation in Sri Lanka. This issue mainly affects the e-banking process as adults tend to use technology without knowing the right way, and their security of personal information may be affected. Additionally, it is still relatively expensive to access the Internet, bandwidth speeds are limited, and the demand for information, communication, and technology (ICT) human capital is well above the current supply. As a result, it is not surprising that the majority of businesses do not have an Internet presence, and Internet usage is low among the general population. The contemporary economic crisis has brought the Sri Lankan marketing sector into a battle over selling products and services. This has created a harmful trading culture for people with pseudo-exaggerations of products that are less in quality and not favorable for everyone, like cosmetics and beauty products.

These issues mainly occur in mobile commerce. If customers have the literacy of information and communication technology, they can be acknowledged as participants in the buying process in e-commerce. All parties need their own literacy to choose necessary things, like how a swan separates milk from water. Amidst these challenges, the e-commerce state of Sri Lanka exhibits a fair growth in apparel organizations, electronics, groceries, care products, cosmetics, and DIY. Not only within the country but also outside of the country, e-commerce has built a wide path to exchange products and services in Sri Lanka. Therefore, the concept of e-commerce has become a good opportunity to get rid of the prevailing economic failure of the country.

In a nutshell, e-commerce has grown as a trend in selling, marketing, and buying products. Sri Lanka has also become an active member of this opportunity, with various struggles and achievements. The main struggle is that Sri Lanka has to deal with the competitive marketing strategies of the world. As everything has pros and cons, e-commerce also has a good side and a bad side. Participants in this process have the responsibility to develop their literacy to use this concept in a beneficial way. Sri Lanka can rescue itself from the current economic crisis by using e-commerce strategies in all fields of business and marketing with the help of the government. The amalgamation of these factors underscores the evolving status of Sri Lanka in the arena of e-commerce.

Vipuli Prabhamini
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24 Comments

  1. Great article about current e- commerce situation in island.
    Indepth elaborations of the topic should admire.
    All the best to the author for upcoming articles.

    1. Supun Mandara says:

      Great info…❤️ Good Luck..!

    2. Nimesh MG Lakshan says:

      This is a great article and I studied lots of unknown things from this, and also thank you Vipulee for giving this important information to share with us.

  2. amasha durangi says:

    Great . Good luck dear ❤️

  3. W.J.P.Thilanka says:

    Great Good Luck Daughter

  4. Great info about how Sri Lanka is doing online shopping! Daraz is big, but there are also challenges. It’s like a journey with ups and downs. Let’s keep going and make progress in the online world

  5. Great article indeed! Good luck!

    1. Imash udana says:

      Nice content, great article about a timely topic ❤️

  6. Chameera sampath says:

    Good luck 👍

  7. Chameera sampath says:

    Good luck 👍❤️

  8. Great article indeed! Good luck!

    1. Malshani Sandunika says:

      Good luck ♥️

  9. Sajani sandangana says:

    Congratulations 😍

  10. Janindu Rashan says:

    Good luck 🍀

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