A new website bdok.ir has been launched which allows people with little technical knowledge to create an online store.
The locally-developed platform is the latest entry to the rapidly maturing Iranian web-help sector, which is acting as a catalyst to bring more business owners online.
Moving business online has the full support of the Rouhani administration which tasked both the Ministry of Industries Mining and Trade, as well as the Telecoms Ministry to support and help sustain online businesses.
Bdok.ir website enables sellers to create web platforms and can also help develop Telegram ‘Bots’ which can guide people through shopping process with the aid of artificial intelligence using that platform.
The service also has an administration panel which allows store owners to keep track of their inventory and sales.
Developers of the site say it will also assist with online payment gateways (Iran-only) order management, storage space and data-hosting.
It also claims to plug into private domains and is said to be optimized for online search engines like Google.com, Bing.com and Yahoo.com. There is no mention if the company has teamed up with other local search engines like Yooz.ir or Parsijoo.ir
The site offers a “free” beginners service, as well as a professional option which charges 150,000 rials ($3) per month for additional support and allows retailers to use their payment gateway.
It is not yet known whether as part of that package Bdok will go through the procedures to certify their new hosted stores with the country’s regulator. The website does not state that it does.
In early 2016, Financial Tribune reported that only 0.5% of the total number of e-commerce websites in the country have the necessary online trust logo eNAMAD.
The figure shows that online services offered by such sites are safer than websites without the trust symbols and have been verified by government authorities for their company details and permits
All websites which have the logo are SSL-secured. Secure Sockets Layer is a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server and a client.
The website created by the local company, Bidar Andishan Sabz Tarrah, was originally registered in August 2016. However, the website has been live for a little over four months with an average hit range of 1,200 users per month.
Bdok does have competitors working in the same realm, including global e-commerce hosts, WordPress Commercial , PrestaShop and Magento.
Moreover, over the past couple of year’s these US sites have also had copies of their services launched in the Iranian market offering the same website deals but for local firms.
PrestaShop and Magento cannot enter the Iranian market due to the persisting US financial restrictions on local banks. The two services only accept US-based card systems Visa and MasterCard.
The block in payment transactions allows the local counterparts like bdok.ir and prestashop.ir to fill in the gap until a later date.
E-commerce retains a small portion of the total sales recorded with only 3% of the total number of transactions in the country coming from websites, according to the Central Bank of Iran data.
However, according to the local technology website, Techrasa, in the previous year e-commerce witnessed a 25% growth in the number of transactions y/y.