Ever increasing traffic, Road jams, population pressure, pollution, intense weather, round the clockwork routine are the factors that have increased the importance of online shopping. E-commerce in Pakistan has opened new horizons for online business. E-commerce involves the online buying and selling of goods and services. It has proved its importance and became the order of online shopping all over the world. Advancement in internet services and convenient payment methods pulled buyers and sellers equally towards the virtual marketplace.
Round the Clock Services
E-commerce has made it possible to place online orders with one click while sitting at home or busy in the job. Pakistan has recorded a massive increase in online shopping in pandemic days of covid-19. Research by Picodi.com shows, average online Pakistani shoppers shopped worth Rs. 9695 during the lockdown.
Alibaba, E-bay, Amazon, Flipkart, Daraz are some of the examples of online market tycoons. They are rendering their services for millions of customers with a huge variety of products 24/7. Running a shopping store online reduces the cost 6 times as compared to brick and mortar stores. Reduction in cost leads the seller to serve its customers at very reasonable rates.
Online payment modes curtail security risks. Online payment applications being run by Jazz, Telenor, u-fone and other multinational networking corporations have given birth to branchless banking.
Factors affecting success
Pakistan due to poor infrastructure, illiteracy, less technology how-know, power shortfalls, and unavailability of internet services in far-flung areas, although entered comparatively late in online shopping market yet the e-commerce trend in Pakistan got strong footholds within no time. Only 27.5% population of the country has access to internet technology which is expected to rise to 42% by 2025. The advent of 5G and LTE services will open new doors for of online business for local as well as foreign investors.
Online Business Stakeholders
Online shopping tendency in Pakistan not only catered products market but also propelled services industry. Rozee.pk, Uber, Careem, Olx, Zameen.com are providing job hunting, riding, home appliances, and real estate services to a larger segment of the Pakistani market. Social media platforms like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, linked-in, etc have played a very encouraging role in boosting e-commerce in Pakistan. Social media representatives of online businesses spread positive word of mouth for their clients to promote the virtual industry.
Role of Financial Institutions
Financial institutions ABL, MCB, UBL, HBL, Askari Bank, and others alike are playing vital roles in promoting an online business. They have launched debit, credit, visa cards as well online payment applications to facilitate both buyers and sellers. Customers with a cheap android mobile and an active internet connection can avail online money transfer options with a glimpse of an eye.
Role of Courier Services
Courier services like Pakistan Post, LCS, DHL, FedEx, etc are also imparting a considerable input in delivering products at doorsteps. Formerly, their services were readily available in metropolitans and other big cities.
Now, they are doing their best to increase their outreach in villages, countrysides, and other remote areas. The sitting government is planning to attract foreign investors and make the online operations smooth. The entry of the world’s largest online business giant-Amazon is its live example.
Future of E-business
Online business trendsetters in Pakistan have also given a boost to the domestic and cottage industry of Pakistan. A good no of women sitting idle at home has started online kitchens, beauty parlors, gardening, handicrafts, yoga centers, etc. Stats show that 62 percent of online shoppers shop electronically per month, 26 percent shop per week while 3 percent shop per day. Pakistan is enjoying less than 10 percent of the international online market share which shows that there is a huge gap available for online business operations.
Work to be done
It is need of hour that govt. is required to take following initiatives to boost up Pakistan’s e-commerce business sector:
- Garner cutomsers’trust
- Provision of security to investors
- amelioration of infrastructure
- advancement in technology
- Establishment of Online Research and Development (R&D) department