E-commerce Startup Delivers Pizza in Tajikistan

Speeches Shim

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Farhod Pulatov’s first experience with online sales was less than successful. In 2011, he opened an online store that only received 1-2 orders each week. He knew he needed a new business concept, but also wanted to maintain an online platform. When his friend Khurshed Fayzulloev suggested an online-only pizza delivery service, Farhod was intrigued. Shortly afterwards, the two friends developed a concept for Sor Pizza.

While the pair spent three months studying the local market, they struggled to find their first client and build customer loyalty. Farhod and Kurshed began to conduct questionnaires and collect data that tracked returning clients and analyzed why some clients chose not to return. Based on  the data, they modified their business processes multiple times, changing their work schedule, team structure, marketing policy, and operational procedures for maximum efficiency. After adopting these modifications, they started offering 18 different types of pizza.

“Family and friends tried to dissuade us,” the businessmen recalled. “They were convinced that people didn’t  want to wait for food at home if they could go out. And after the launch of the pizzeria, we were advised to open in-house dining. But we were confident that the new online-only format would be popular in Tajikistan.” They knew it was only a matter of time before Sor Pizza expanded its customer base through positive online reviews.

The pizza startup depended heavily on online advertising, including through social media networks, search engines, and text messages with bonus offers. “It was a lot of trial and error before we found our clientele,” says Khurshed.

Farhod and Khurshed’s journey was made possible by Babilon Mobile’s platform,  MyBabilon, which develops e-commerce in Tajikistan. With the support of USAID’s Future Growth Initiative, Babilon Mobile has launched a Babilon Academy to serve as an e-commerce accelerator/training center, with leading experts in the field of marketing, e-commerce, design, and visual communications. 

“We attended educational training sessions and master classes at Babilon Academy. This included comprehensive training in different areas of business. They also have a partner support program which includes the creation of a website, sales consultations, a package of services as a gift, and much more,” says Farhod.

Over the course of a year, the young business partners met with many companies. Each meeting brought new knowledge and experience, which they integrated into the business. 

“Gradually, we saw how our clients changed. In the beginning, they had to call us or write to us through messengers, Instagram, or Facebook to place an order. Now, clients can order directly through the website or leave a contact number, and we will immediately call them back. Clients take advantage of new opportunities. Perhaps we taught them this. Users have become more active. We are always monitoring site analytics: numbers at the beginning of our business and now are very different. We are honored to see these changes.”

The introduction of e-commerce payments was an important step for the launch of the business. “For example, a client corresponds with us, clarifies everything, and then at the end says: ‘Can I pay online?’ If we did not have an online payment option, then we would lose some of our customers,” Farhod and Khurshed admit. “Today, sales with online payments represent about 30-40% of the total sales. We believe that it will be even greater.”

To date, Sor Pizza has created 12 new jobs, and every role is defined in detail. Each employee is responsible for his or her specific role in pizza preparation, and knows the weight of all pizza ingredients. Managers monitor the work remotely, including the number of orders and even the cooking process. 

During the summer season, the pizzeria has received many orders for picnics and office lunch deliveries as its client base continues to grow. They have even received orders for delivery to areas outside of the city. The business operates its own delivery services and uses other information platforms, including MyBabilon, to advertise.

“In order to make the perfect menu, we have developed various types of pizza, and invited consultants and chefs,” say Farhod and Khurshed. “We are using local products to support domestic producers. Dushanbe already knows us, and we are glad that we are instilling new formats and a new culture.” The business partners have ambitious plans for growth: taking the business model abroad. 


As a result of USAID assistance, under the Future Growth Initiative activity, more than 4,900 entrepreneurs have joined MyBabilon platform, leading to more than 413,000 business transactions through 31 online stores and four marketplaces. A total of 535 entrepreneurs have participated in Babylon Academy master classes, and 1,234 people have received individual consultations on human resources, marketing, taxes, and e-commerce. Babilon Academy also offers 30 video lessons on entrepreneurship through their YouTube channel.

USAID’s Future Growth Initiative spurs productive economic activity across Central Asia to increase local competitiveness, create new jobs, and improve incomes for Central Asia’s growing workforce.

Last updated: November 04, 2022

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