What is E commerce ?
E-commerce, which is short for Electronic Commerce is a type of business in which companies or individuals employ electronic mediums, primarily internet, to conduct business. With the emergence of more technologically advanced era, e-commerce is becoming a trend all around the globe. In Pakistan too, e-commerce is becoming increasingly common. As internet is becoming cheaper and more accessible, consumers are resorting to use to e-commerce in all spheres of life.
E-commerce sector can be divided into several smaller divisions, with shopping industry being the most prominent of them all. There are many multi-category online stores spread all over the internet. The giants in this category are Daraz and Kaymu, with other e-tailers operating on a smaller scale. These stores are providing the customers everything from home appliances to apparel. With a smaller marketing team, Facebook and Instagram groups are bringing various good to customers in the comfort of their homes.
With new creations of textile designers gracing the markets every month, distinctive trends in fashions are appearing frequently. Women make the largest percentage of consumers when it comes to the fashion industry. Brands such as Khaadi, Sana Safinaz , Sapphire and Alkaram are also expanding their services online to customers. Along with providing easy payment through credit or Debit Card, these stores are also offering Cash on Delivery. It provides ease to those customers who do not have a bank account. 90% of the e-commerce sales were collected through Cash on Delivery last year.
Other than these brands, there are also other e-tailers that bring an extensive selection of clothes, both formal and casual, to the consumers. Umarposhakmehal is the best example in this category. It is due to sites like this that shopping for womenâ€™s apparel is literally just a click away.
Food and takeaway online market has also become a trend in the country thanks to FoodPanda and EatOye. These service providers have join hands with various eateries and restaurants to come up with matchless deals for their customers. Most of the sales conducted by pizzerias such as Pizza Hut are through these websites. Nowadays, everyone has a hectic schedule which does not allow people to have the pleasure of eating out. With advent of E-commerce, everyone can enjoy the comfort of a warm food package in their l as on their beds. And Pakistanis seem to be loving that. Banks are further fuelling these sales by providing special discounts on particular eateries for the Credit or Debit Card holders of these respective banks.
Travel and Ticketing trends are also on a rise in Pakistan. Sites like Jovago let consumers book hotels online saving them time and energy which they would have to expend otherwise upon arrival to their destination. Online ticket booking is also becoming a common practice. According to Adam Dawood, the Head of Yayvo, Pakistan Railways earned 100 million from online ticket booking alone in 2016. Recently, Daewoo has also brought the option of buying tickets online to itâ€™s users further amplifying the trend.
Online Classifieds such as OLX and Zameen.com are also increasing the e-commerce trends in Pakistan. Long gone are the days when people scanned through newspapers to look for jobs or find property for rent/sale. With these websites, all it takes is a click and you have hundreds of options displayed in front of you. Selling and buying of used and second hand goods is also becoming a common practice through these websites.
E-commerce is not only limited to goods and products. It also opened the doors of services in the country. International travel companies like Uber and Careem have started their operations in Pakistan. Thousands of people use their services everyday everyday. Local companies like Travel and Shahi Sawari are now giving competition to these global service providers by offering cheaper rates and better services.
Rise in E-commerce trend in Pakistan can be attributed to many factors:
- Cheap 3G and 4G
- Easy Payment Methods
- Increase in users of recent technology e.g. mobile phone users
3G and 4G packages mean that consumers have the access to the market through their smart phones. As more and more people are getting familiar with the use of cell phones, E-commerce is getting massive exposure. Furthermore, easy payment methods such as Easypay, Jazz Cash and Timepey are a valuable source of bringing new customers to the market. Also, campaigns such as Black Friday are also a reliable way of customer acquisition. Estimated sales of about 133 million were collected during the Great Shopping Festival organized by Google and Jang Group.
Since it is a new industry, there will obviously be challenges like making these services accessible for consumers that are off the radar i.e. living in rural areas or smaller cities. Pakistanâ€™s neighbour Chinaâ€™s e-commerce earnings are 18-20% of the total retail sales. Hopefully, by 2020, if we overcome the challenges ahead, Pakistan can earn up to 1 billion in revenue from e-commerce market. It is up to the retailers to ensure that they satisfy the customers that come to avail the services online and create an ecosystem which is both comfortable and beneficial for the consumers and the businesses.