E-Commerce potential in Pakistan economy

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Amanullah Khan

Karachi—E-commerce trends in Pakistan are changing rapidly due to the growing number of broadband/3G/4G users as well as government efforts for digital inclusion. Moreover, e-commerce will gain further inducement as internet becomes accessible to the remaining unserved population. This was the crux of the workshop ‘Cracking E-Commerce 2.0,’ jointly organized by Planet N and Karandaaz to create awareness about E-commerce potential in Pakistan.
In light of rapidly increasing trends, workshop gathered relevant stakeholders to discuss essential parameters of e-commerce; the role of e-commerce in development of SMEs; policies and regulations that can help this sector grow and challenges and opportunities for Pakistan at an international level. The workshop focused on areas of customer facilitation and protection, e-payments, managing delivery logistics and using e-commerce to grow Pakistan’s exports. SMEs learnt how they could manage their own e-commerce channels.
They gained insights into global best practices and access to the latest e-commerce framework to grow their business. Participants of the workshop included members of government, leading e-commerce sites UrduBit, GameStorm, Yayvo, HBL, UBL, MCB, Eastern Garments, Well.pk, BlueX, Wavetech, Food Panda, FINJAS, Junaid Jamshed, Bakeware.pk, TPS Online, Interlink, IDG, NIFT, Leopards as well as aspiring startups from the industry.
E-commerce adoption has positively impacted revenues and profitability of SMEs. Despite high potential, a majority of Pakistani SMEs are yet to adopt e-commerce or are sub optimally engaged. Speaking about the intention behind this workshop, Mr. Ali Sarfraz Hussain, CEO Karandaaz Pakistan, stated “Although Pakistan is a latecomer to this sector, e-commerce is rising massively and e-commerce players are mushrooming in the country. It is therefore vital that tech-businesses understand the whole structure behind e-commerce to match the speed and flexibility needed in the rapidly growing industry. Karandaaz Pakistan therefore took this initiative in collaboration with Planet N to bring stakeholders together to build a sustainable and mature e-commerce industry.”
Nadeem Hussain, Coach at Planet N stated that “There are 3 bottlenecks to growth: customer protection, payments (domestic and international) and delivery. The purpose of this workshop is to obtain potential solutions from all stakeholders. We have the potential of becoming a USD 1 billion market by 2020 if we can resolve these issues.” The session was closed with Mr. Nadeem Hussain appreciating the active participation in the workshop with hope for swift transition to digital payments as the economy transition towards demonetization technology in the country.