Pataz.com takes off in Sri Lanka
By Shafiya Nawzer
The demand for a global marketplace has soared due to the pandemic, resulting in growth in the eCommerce sector. With the drastic changes in technology, if new methods of purchasing habits are to truly take root and survive in the post COVID19 reality, businesses will have to carefully nurture a new buying experience.
Against this backdrop, artificial intelligence (AI) is not only a tool to help improve the user experience and increase customer satisfaction; AI can help today’s online retailers deliver an optimised customer experience on and off their eCommerce websites by using collected business and customer data to make better business decisions and more accurately predict the future.
Amid the slowing economic activity, COVID-19 has led to a surge in e-commerce and accelerated digital transformation. As lockdowns and restrictions have become the new normal, businesses and consumers increasingly ‘went digital’, providing and purchasing more goods and services online, raising e-commerce’s share of global retail trade.
According to a report by eShopWorld’s (ESW) Global Voices, 52 per cent of shoppers were motivated to buy online during the pandemic. That average rose to 58 per cent, as shuttered stores and reduced access to physical shops prompted consumers to purchase items online that they normally would have validated and bought in-store.
Capitalising on this opportunity, Co-founders, Andy De Silva and Chamli Tennakoon created Pataz.com. They realised the lack of a global platform to find direct manufacturers and suppliers; thus, Pataz.com was born. It is a global community of suppliers, buyers, manufacturers, and wholesalers, bringing Sri Lanka’s industries significantly closer to the international value chain.
The online platform connects bulk buyers and sellers to fulfil global demand and will open up a vibrant international marketplace for Sri Lankan businesses of various scales. With a machine learning-based deep matching system that accounts for more than 100 unique attributes, their subscribers will have an incredible opportunity to gain limitless exposure for their products and services and creating a B2B network with buyers and other suppliers.
Andy De Silva has expertise as an inventor, product developer, and distributor, making him an ideal ally in this avenue. He co-founded the American distribution company Hotel Emporium Inc., which services over 14,000 hotels worldwide. Under his vision, the business has benefitted over 50 countries to date. Chamli Tennakoon has wide-ranging experience in digital strategy and digital marketing.
His background in consumer neuroscience has given him unparalleled insight into the B2B marketplace, earning him prestigious positions with industry giants worldwide. Both of them are originally from Sri Lanka and currently reside in the USA. They are passionate about supporting the local community in Sri Lanka. We at Ceylon Today had the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with the Co-Founders about the concept of Pataz.com and here is what they have to offer. Excerpts from the interview:
Could you tell us the story about what brought you to start Pataz.com?
We felt that there’s a gap in the industry. We could not find factories from other parts of the world but China. We wanted to provide a more accessible option for businesses across the world.
The pandemic has reshaped e-commerce and the importance of a global marketplace; what does Pataz.com offer?
We are creating a localised network where people can find products and suppliers locally or regionally and give exposure to local and regional manufacturers. With more options, our customers can connect with others from around the world without having to sit with them face-to-face.
Mass buying is going to be transformed by Pataz; however, to be successful you have to educate your consumers on your relevance, how are you planning to do this?
We have a people-to-people network called, Patazian that helps us to educate and help our customer base during the onboarding process. Our customers can access Patazian anytime they need our support.
Considering the current exponential development of technology and artificial intelligence, what can Pataz offer to the Sri Lanka audience that is currently lacking?
We are providing Sri Lankan factories with global exposure, during this process, our AI platform will provide them the data of what global customers are looking for and how they can create the product for the global market.
How are Alibaba and Amazon different from your brand?
Alibaba and Amazon are productcentric B2B, B2C platforms powered by the technology only. Pataz is a business-centric B2B, B2C, and B2D platform that is powered by people and advanced technology.
Sri Lanka is a developing country. What factors do you think have been key in the development of e-commerce in Sri Lanka?
Connecting people locally, regionally, and globally has been essential to the development of e-commerce in Sri Lanka. The global market is now able to see what Sri Lanka has to offer!
According to your experience, what is the current state of the commercial relationship between the United States and Sri Lanka?
We are looking to strengthen the commercial relationship between the US and Sri Lanka by using our global entity and by looking at the South Asian market as a region. Sri Lanka will have an opportunity to build relationships with the USA, Europe, and other regions as well.
What is the procedure to get a placement on Pataz and become an influencer?
The first step is to sign up with Pataz through our website, and then we will take them through an extensive qualification process to vet them as well as prepare them for the influencer role.
Can you share a few examples of how e-commerce companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways consumers like to shop?
People do not shop based on their requirements only, they need social endorsements. Learning algorithms will take over the buying decisions of customers. Technology and data have never been more important than now to understand consumer buying behaviour.
Anything else that you would like to add?
We are not building a platform, we are building decision-making, selflearning algorithm that helps customers to make the right choice while connecting them to suppliers, manufacturers, and factories from all over the world.