There was a time when businesses relied on their physical presence to attract customers and for daily productivity. Now it’s the era of digital advertising, online marketing, selling, and procurement.
Most of the physical activities have stepped into the web. The same is true regarding several businesses in Pakistan. Customers usually create the first impression of businesses by visiting the web portal associated with that business. It is therefore, very important to have a proper online presence and preferably, a system to deal with the customer online, which is referred to as e-commerce.
The idea of e-commerce isn’t new. However, keeping our country’s current position in mind, it is a developing concept. We are still accustomed to the same old way of buying things – going to the market, visiting shops, bargaining to get a good deal, and coming home with the product. This trend is rapidly changing; customers and businesses are switching to e-commerce, because it provides a brand new experience of buying and selling.3
Online transactions have made serious head way in the past few years, convincing more consumers to digitize their shopping experience.
We still aren’t at that point where people order the smallest of things online, like grocery and food items, but we have seen people buy things from online retailers mostly due to the convenience, but also because in some way it is trusted more than a physical distributor (that might not always be the case).
Consider this example: I recently purchased a phone from homeshopping.pk, because they were offering it for a reasonable price and with a warranty. They even offered to have the phone delivered to my doorstep.
Long story short, I got the phone without the hassle of going to the market, going from one shop to another, asking about the price and other details. That’s the benefit of e-commerce, you waste less time and you can carry out transactions from the comfort of your home.
The point is to show how businesses in Pakistan are actually coming towards the e-commerce side and even giving up on physical businesses, while some are continuing both activities simultaneously.
Of course, there’s a reason why businesses aren’t totally switching to e-commerce, and that’s because of some obstacles.
Firstly, there’s a significant lack of awareness among the masses regarding e-commerce. Most of us still think of web transactions as a risky activity, while some think seeing is believing and one should always have a physical dealing.
This is not always applicable and as I mentioned, people in foreign countries even get their groceries from online stores, so why can’t we port our activities to the web?
Most of us also experience hesitation while trying something new. In reality, e-commerce is quite convenient. Since we haven’t tried it yet, we are always hesitant in doing so. All this is due to the fear of being scammed over the web or not getting the right product without visiting the actual market, or looking at the advantages of buying from a shop, instead of buying online.
Next, there’s the ultimate dilemma- if a business restricts itself to e-commerce only, it will be targeting a relatively small group of people who are aware of the online buying & selling phenomenon (not to mention, they’re a fraction of the total number of people who know how to use the internet). So that’s why the transition to e-commerce is taking some time.
once business will take initiative, customers will be attracted towards it, and that’s how the use of e-commerce will rise.
After all, e-commerce is no rocket science, in plain terms, it’s all about buying/selling from the comfort of your home, so start now!