Rokomari, the most prominent and biggest online bookstore in Bangladesh, has been growing since its inception in 2012. Till now, Rokomari’s expansion strategy has evolved exponentially to make them one of the country’s leading e-commerce organizations and one of the most successful digital startups in this decade.
Reading and learning is something this country lacks, and Rokomari’s journey from day one has been to abolish that mindset.
Before January 2012, Rokomari was nothing but an idea of the founders of Onnorokom Group. Mahmudul Hasan Shohag, Md Abdul Hasan Liton, Khairul Anam Rony, Jobayer Bin Amin, and Ehtesham Rakib were the visionaries behind this enlightening aim to deliver books to every corner of the country. They did not have any business model or market framework, just their intuition.
At first, they faced some difficulties as any other startups do. Most of the publishers thought of them like any other publication service that would focus on Ekushey Book Fair. The journey of Rokomari started with only 100 books and a handful of publishers.
Currently, Rokomari hosts more than 2,00,000 books and over 7,000 publishers! They started with only five people, and now they are a team of over 160 people, spreading their joy through the illumination of books.
But all of this recognition did not come without any struggle and a fair share of experiences.
The creators of Rokomari had nothing but intuition when they formed this startup. They did not follow any proper business models or market strategies. Their first struggle was to earn the trust of the authors and publishers. They started with a very little collection of publications. Then came the realization of digitizing their vision with a website.
This step was not the hard part as three of them were from BUET with a firm grasp of website development. Their major struggle was to deliver the books to every doorstep of the country. There was no availability of cash on delivery options at that time.
So, they partnered with Sundarban Courier Service to come up with an exclusive COD (cash on delivery) method. Later in 2014, they adopted their courier service so that they do not have to depend on third-party services.
However, they still use postal services for rural area deliveries. Rokomari’s priority from its birth has been to allow the country to enjoy the warmth of receiving books forgetting the geographic location within the country.
The Strategy and The Expansion
Their strategic standpoint changed in 2014 when they were blown away with immense responses from all over the country. It was a somewhat mixed experience for them. As they did not start with a proper strategy, they had to adapt quickly to the overwhelming responses from the customers.
The face of Rokomari, Mahmudul Hasan Shohag, stated on this matter in an interview:
“2014 was the biggest turning point of Rokomari’s growth as we started dealing with data. E-commerce is a data-driven business, and initially, we did not have adequate knowledge on how to deal with data or handle data but gradually we started to learn and use google analytics. As we moved to the data-driven decision-making process, it contributed to our growth to a great extent.”
So, their success story also started with baby steps where they did not know much about how to deal with data and implement proper analytical strategies to expand their idea. They quickly realized that it is the digitalization that will bring forth the revolution that they envisioned. They incorporated market analysis and web development with ad campaigns that enabled them to expand on such a large scale.
The chairman, Mahmudul Hasan Shohag, also added that:
“Starting from scratch, through continuous learning and entirely private investment i.e., without any external investment, Rokomari has grown to what it is today.”
However, as the business grew, they discovered some issues with the ordering process. There was an immense pressure of ordered books in 2019. This resulted in a negative reception from the unhappy bookworms as Rokomari was lagging to deliver the orders within time.
But they started to reform their delivery process as there were complaints by the unsatisfied customers. As a cure to that, Rokomari implemented a continuous monitoring system and complete reformation of the operational process that led them to become one of the largest e-commerce companies in Bangladesh.
The future strategy they are planning to pursue is the Blue Ocean Strategy. What is the blue ocean strategy? Hear it from the man behind Rokomari himself:
“Blue Ocean Strategy” refers to a market for a product where there is no or very little competition. This strategy revolves around searching for a business in which very few firms operate and where there is no pricing pressure. At the moment, our strategic priority is to focus mainly on books and create more services related to books.”
This strategy enables them to focus on a niche market and become a dominating force in the field. They are also expanding their demographic to larger numbers with products like science experiment kits for children, Islamic products, electronics, food products, and much more.
The Features in Rokomari
What made Rokomari such a huge success? The incredible team that they built in the last 8 years. Rokomari has one of the most consistent teams with an almost 100% retention rate. The team comprises some of the humble, innovative, and trustworthy minds of the country.
The chairman of the Onnorokom Group, Mahmudul Hasan Shohag, thinks of the team as Rokomari’s core strength. What made them stand out in the crowd of thousands of e-commerce companies is their unique features.
Some of the key features are listed below:
- A huge collection of books.
- User-friendly website to easily order your favorite books.
- Categorized catalog to find your preferred books or authors easily.
- E-books of your favorite books are just a few clicks away.
- Order from anywhere in the country, on the go.
- An easy order process with fast delivery within 2-5 working days.
- Only 30 Taka delivery charges inside Dhaka.
- Hassle-free home delivery with cash on delivery.
Rokomari hosts some of the best campaigns for both the readers and authors. They feature the bestselling books on their homepage with lucrative discounts and offers almost every month!
They even adapted many of their books to e-books so that there will be no delay to read your favorite books. Their rigorous effort to deliver a user-friendly experience from the start has stayed the same. That’s why Rokomari is the most trusted place on the internet whenever you think of buying any books for you or your loved ones.
Rokomari’s next plan is to build a sustainable model for its expansion to deliver more products of similar nature. They have already found a niche market in the stationary market, and they are looking for more ways to retain their stronghold in these fields.
You can check out their website at Rokomari.com
Rokomari has brought a revolution where freedom to learn is not confined. We hope nothing but prosperity for their noble cause.
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