The first experience of online sell and purchase in the world dates back to 70s. In Iran the history of this culture and lifestyle is even shorter and dates back to less than two decades. In review of the origin of online shopping in Iran, undoubtedly the name of an online shop stands out and is meaningful; Digikala.
Digikala is one of tens of thousands online shops in Iran which has been working since 2006 and now after 16 years, it has become the greatest E-commerce actor in Iran. This platform has defined its task in domain of online shopping in the most widespread level and the highest quality, and provides its services for all people of Iran throughout the country; from big cities to the most faraway villages; from any person who searches for a commodity to purchase online; to any potential seller who has a commodity to sell.
The statistics published by Digikala every year in its annual reports indicate this contribution as well as the importance of this online shop for the digital economy of Iran. Variety of commodities, as an important index for the market share, has now exceeded the number 7.5 million, in Digikala. Also, since 2016 when the business model of Digikala was changed to Marketplace, the number of the sellers in this marketplace has reached to 250 thousand businesses, and visiting the Digikala website by more than 40 million unique users per month, has made this shop a reliable counsellor for online shopping of Iranian users.
On the other hand, what actually distinguish the Digikala from other online businesses in Iran are the exciting operation, logistics and backscene features of this shop which tell the story of supplying, processing and sending the orders to the customers. On the basis of the latest annual report of Digikala in 2021, the number of infrastructural centers of this shop has now reached 126 centers throughout the country of Iran. Moreover, at present more than Seven Million, Six Hundred items of commodities are storable in process centers and stores of Digikala, out of which 960 thousand commodities are being processed in Digikala per day. One of actions that have made the Digikala strong enough to perform this amount of operations is launching Knowledge Analysis and Exchange Center in 2021. Constructing and preparing this center which is equipped with Parcel Sorter robotic system have doubled the management of orders for sending them to the customers. This is while since 2017 by opening Tehran Knowledge Orders Processing Center, with a surface area of 50,000 Sq. meters, Digikala has made the grounds for being forerunner in domain of online retail operation and logistics.
Despite all remarkable progresses of E-Commerce in recent years, Iran’s contribution in online retailing and in comparison to entire retail market and retailing in the world’s countries, is only 4 percent. Although, as compared to the year 2020, this amount has had a growth of 25%, when it is compared to other countries such as China (30%), South Korea (30%), Britain (28%), USA (20%) and even other countries of the region like Turkey (9%), an extreme difference is observable. The ratio of online retailing to the whole retailing, is a very important index which can make the grounds for development of a country economically, socially and humanely; a subject that in Iran, it is a market with high attractiveness, the main part of which has remained intact and has been left far away from the processes of absorbing large capital just like its peers in the region.
However, on a national scale, the Digikala has, now, made a relatively complete ecosystem of digital economy. During the years of activity of Digikala, all the needs and required infrastructures for constituting a technological ecosystem have been added to it; From contents, logistics and financial technology to marketing technologies, different cloud strategies and E-Commerce. In other words, in order to develop this ecosystem in two horizontal and vertical levels, some developments have been made; geographical development to all over Iran as well as execution of new business models in domain of E-Commerce in the form of horizontal development and concentration on improvement of key indices of marketplace and scalability and optimizing it in the form of vertical development.
All the members who have been added to this family in the form of E-Commerce group of Digikala during the years of its activity, have been made or merged in this group with a goal of completing the value-creating chain for digital economy of Iran. By creating equal access and social justice, Digikala has always tried not only to take actions for empowering all its beneficiaries particularly the businesses and sellers, but also to stabilize itself as a national brand for the whole country of Iran. This value came true through practical and real clarity in presenting statistics and numbers in the recent years.
Presenting reports and storytelling with data is an approach taken by Digikala group since 2019 in line with its core values, particularly the clarity. The annual general reports which have been continued in 2020 and 2021 are a milestone of this approach and forerunner of other online businesses of Iran for presenting reports. Such reports make it possible for the audience of Digikala to observe the services of Digikala more clearly and precisely; it describes the country’s online market status through the most widespread online shop of the country and helps many big and small decision makings. This report also helps all Iranian businesses which sell their products on Digikala marketplace platform to optimize their processes of selling and providing their commodities. The commodities production and distribution companies throughout the country may use the information provided in this report and optimize their supply chain, marketing and sales with more precise information. It also helps the state’s legislators in micro and macroeconomic, logistic and infrastructural issues to have a better image of Iranians’ purchasing behavior in the retail market.