Business on the line

We live in global markets where fast and good internet connectivity is the need of the hour

Online businesses flourished in Pakistan as a majority of the people quarantined themselves at their homes to be safe from coronavirus. People took to buying grocery, clothes and household items using the facility of online services. During the pandemic, e-commerce gained momentum.

According to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), internet traffic has increased by 15 percent. People are using E-Wallets, Daraz, Food Panda, etc, to buy things. Use of E-Wallets has increased 8.2 times while on Daraz digital payments reportedly made 32 percent of the consumer spending in the month of March.

Muhammad Siddique visited Daraz website and bought an air conditioner for his home at a reasonable price. He is satisfied with the shopping that did not require visiting markets.

Ayesha buys grocery items, shirts, shoes, etc, online. She says she has bought clothes and pampers for her baby during the pandemic by using the online services. According to her, she has not visited any shop during the pandemic and has been in perpetual isolation.

Many more people are using online services and technology since the pandemic caused closures and lockdowns, smart or otherwise. Pakistanis appear to have started appreciating the potential and development of e-commerce system. E-commerce can enhance and improve the livelihoods of most people in the country. It could also increase Pakistan’s share in the world trade.

Talking to TNS, Saqib Azhar, chief executive officer (CEO) of Enabler says it was a historical moment for Pakistan when President Arif Alvi, invited Team Enablers to initiate the e-commerce revolution and appreciated Enablers’ achievements for Pakistan. Enabler helps local businesses and individuals set up online stores on the world’s biggest ecommerce platform,

He says, “We agreed to initiate the action, as it has become the top priority of the government of Pakistan. He says Enablers will be helping the government of Pakistan ensure Pakistan is among the Amazon Approved Selling Countries in 2021. According to Saqib Azhar, Enablers will pave the way for a chamber of e-commerce across Pakistan.

Azhar says Enablers will work with the HEC to streamline the process and introduce e-commerce education across Pakistan.

Pakistan has started realising the potential and development of an e-commerce system.E-commerce can enhance and improve the livelihoods of people in the country.

“We will give our all to make Pakistan an e-commerce hub and will continue to establish more business opportunities,” Azhar says.

Azhar says Amazon is a big opportunity for Pakistan’s traders and it will help them access potential customers in other countries. He says the sales volume of Amazon during peak activity is $3.5 billion a day while Pakistan’s annual exports stand at $24.5 billion.

Azhar says Amazon holds opportunities for traders and investors of Pakistan to place their products on the Amazon website and send shipments to the target countries. He says that Amazon will pick up their stocks and ship these to the buyers. The sellers will get their payments via Enablers.

Amazon is reliable partner for Pakistanis, he says. Giving an example, he says a businessman based in Faisalabad is earning $1 million a month by selling textile products on Amazon. “There is a great potential for Pakistan’s trade and traders. Amazon provides them the best opportunity. Some businessmen from Sialkot are earning millions of dollars by selling sports goods on Amazon.”

“Globally and in Pakistan, online trade depends on mobile phones. The internet service provided by mobile companies is not up to the mark,” says Muhammad Jameel, a trader from Shah Alam Market in Lahore.

Jameel says the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority must ensure uninterrupted internet connectivity by mobile companies and Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL). He says, “Internet facilities provided by the private sector are mostly satisfactory. Unfortunately, the use of internet provided by the private sector at home and offices is limited.”

We are living in an age of global markets where fast and good internet connectivity is the need of the hour. “In 2020, Pakistan’s traders started taking online businesses seriously. After the pandemic, digitalisation was the only way for economic activities to take place. E-payments or digital payments during the pandemic were a good experience for many traders. E –commerce would increase in 2021,” Jameel adds.

The writer is a staff reporter. He tweets at [email protected]

Business on the line