Technological revolution has changed many things drastically, by clicking a button we can talk and see to people living hundred thousand miles away. We can travel thousands miles in just few hours travel, we can cook foods in minutes with the help of latest kitchen gadgets. It is not old days story, when people spend whole day in shopping malls and local markets for shopping. Although it is still prevalent in society, but new advancements has introduced novel shopping methods. The emerging e-business in Pakistan has facilitated the people to shop online without wasting hours in markets and shopping malls.
The basic idea behind the online business was to make payments, utility bills, e-services anywhere, anytime just with a click. The access to internet services and mobile phone technologies assisted the online business to transform into m-commerce, which has made it easier to done all the transactions through smartphone applications.
There are many factors which promoted the e-business industry in the country; one of the major factors is internet accessibility. According to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) statistics, there are more than 52.5 million internet users in Pakistan. According to a report issued by State Bank, the total numbers of registered e-businessman have increased by 2.6 times. With the increased and easy access to the internet and social media sites such as facebook, Instagram has provided a huge platform to the e-merchants marketing. This has not only changed the shopping trends but also reformed other online business aspects such as online travel booking, job hunts, e-banking and lifestyle.
The e-business industry has observed the transactions worth Rs3.9 billion in 2016 to Rs9.1 billion in 2017. According to a report nearly worth Rs 750 million transactions were made in 2017. If this trend continues to increase e-business would observe the worth Rs 30 billion sale, consequently, the sale for the current financial year could be more than Rs 100 billion.
The new largest emerging economy of the world China also earns online around $550 billion for 2018, which was followed by the United States around $470 billion. However, Pakistan has a naive e-industry market. According to another statistics, in Pakistan, less than 17 percent of the people have internet access.
Nevertheless, another survey states that, around 72.90% of the entire populace has smart phones. Therefore, they also have internet facility; this has made the emergence of online business inevitable. However, e-industry is gaining momentum in Pakistan with each passing day. New mobile apps are launching and introducing new varieties of goods and discounted prices of services to their e-customers. Under these situations, it is inevitable for online commerce trends to flourish in any country.
Another important aspect of e-business is their payments methods, these include Cash-on-Delivery (COD), easypaisa, mobicash and Inter Bank Fund Transfer (IBFT) which are quite easy for everyone in Pakistan.
The businessmen have accepted the online business industry trends, thousands of businessmen, varying from furniture items to the grocery are selling to customers on different websites. The advent of several online marketplaces, such as Olx, Daraz.pk and AliExpress, has made it easier for people to retail their goods and services through online services.
One of major factors promoting e-industry in Pakistan is the entrepreneurship. Due to entrepreneurship, many people have started their online business. They have started selling goods and services to their target markets just by sitting at home. This trend has provided the employment opportunities to the youth. Similarly, there are many online business mobile apps which have also started working in Pakistan such as Uber, Careem, FoodPanda and Alibaba. These companies have not only provided services to people but also provided employment opportunities to the youth to earn and launch their business.
Nevertheless, despite being a huge e-market in Pakistan, this industry still faces some serious issues, which need to be addressed timely. One of the major challenges is a low literacy rate and lack of access to technology. There is still a large population, which is not aware about this industry. And, many people do not know the usage of business apps. This is a big hurdle for the widespread of this industry. We need to bring the people from all segments of life into this business in order to promote online business in the Pakistan just like other developed nations.
Another challenge is no acceptance for a new business mode; the businessmen are not ready to quit customary mode of business due to certain reservation in online business. This challenge is posing the huge hurdle in the inclusion of more businessmen in the online business. This mindset will take time to be changed. Pakistan cannot harness the maximum benefits of e-business unless overcoming these challenges.
Another big issue is lack of trust; many e-customers do not show trust the quality of goods and services. They have certain apprehensions regarding online buying. Their bad experiences have raised a lack of trust in e-business. For them, it is just a waste of money; they do not send the products shown in the pictures. It may be true but customers need to educate themselves. They have to learn to do e-shopping. Online shopping also requires skills.
Nevertheless, there are many customers and businesses, which have started to switch to e-business. They have strongly believed in this industry and have accepted this wholeheartedly. It provides them access to the variety of goods and services at different e-stores. They get an opportunity to analyze the goods and prices from different forums. This experience leaves them a new joy of shopping with minimum waste of energy and time.
By summing up the whole story, it is important to make a comprehensive policy aimed to secure the rights of businessmen and customers as well. The top authority should introduce policies regarding buying and selling of goods. If a customer is not happy with the product, there should be a return or refund policy. The top authority should also introduce the taxation rules for online business as well. Therefore, the economy of the country should also get benefit from this industry. All the e-business must be registered. Without registration, no one should be allowed to do online business. There should be a regulatory authority to monitor the e-business and to implement new online business policies.
Rabia is an enthusiastic News and Technology Writer at CyberVision, web design Islamabad firm. CyberVision specializes in designing websites, software solutions and mobile applications.