Bangladesh’s largest private-sector group is making it easier for all 40,000 of its employees to buy necessities at an affordable price.
Beximco Group, the owner of vertically integrated textile and garment companies and operations in pharmaceuticals, ceramics, construction, trading, energy and more, opened the Beximco Fair Price Shop at the Beximco Industrial Park located near the capital city of Dhaka.
The affordable grocery store launched in partnership with bKash, a mobile financial service company, and Apon Wellbeing, an omnichannel marketplace of affordable products and services for industrial workers in Bangladesh. There, Beximco employees have access to more than 1,500 SKUs with most products featuring below-market prices.
Products span commodities like rice, flour, pasta and snacks to household items such as cleaning and washing products and reproductive health and hygiene products. The store also sells skincare, hair products and baby products. Workers have access to a free health insurance credit facility and other wellbeing benefits by purchasing groceries from the store.
Beximco, which counts Zara, Calvin Klein, H&M and Macy’s as clients, said “everything is managed digitally.” Through Apon Wellbeing’s app, employees can order products online and pick up purchases after work—saving them up to an hour each week.
Funds are automatically deducted from their salaries. Beximco provides credit facilities—30 percent of an employee’s salary—for buying products from the shop. Employees receive a 4 percent discount if they buy with credit, or a 10 percent discount on cash purchases.
Apon Wellbeing was founded in 2017 as a solution for industrial workers who do not traditionally have access to superstores in cities or e-commerce, which typically serve the middle and upper class in Bangladesh. Factories provide the space, fixtures and utilities for onsite stores, while Apon sets up the software and hardware and secures inventory.
The company, which won the 2019 “Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge,” reports that factories see productivity increase 5-7 percent and absenteeism fall 2-3 percent.
Since its launch, Apon reports that it has served more than 72,000 customers. It has established 28 shops with factory partners including Elite Garments, Esquire Group, Saturn Textiles Limited and more. Supply chain partners include Unilever, Nestle, ACI, Square and others.