Online shopping boosts e-business

In Business
March 30, 2024



KARACHI:

IT business consultants and market gurus have noted a significant uptick in e-store businesses, attributing it to the growing trend of online shopping. They highlight that consumers are increasingly drawn to the convenience of purchasing products from the comfort of their homes, saving time and transportation costs, and avoiding the urban hustle and bustle.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, these experts underscored the resilience of online sales figures, which underscore the strong demand for products and services in the market.

They stated that establishing a popular and reliable e-store in a market with varying levels of digital literacy and awareness takes time and strategic efforts. E-stores have invested resources in strategic marketing campaigns, user education, and continuous platform improvements over the years to earn the trust and loyalty of local customers.

Prioritising transparency, integrity, and customer-centricity in all operations can further enhance public trust. Transparent policies, accurate product descriptions, secure payment gateways, and responsive customer support have played key roles in fostering trust and confidence among customers.

Local online supermarkets such as FoodPanda, Daraz, Krave Mart, and e-services of Imtiaz, Naheed, and other supermarkets are experiencing consistent growth in online shoppers. Additionally, international online supermarkets like Amazon, JD, Walmart, and others are also expanding their networks among their respective customers.

IT Expert Mehboob Shar, also Founder and CEO of Icreativez Technologies, highlighted that the trend of e-stores was gradually rising worldwide before the sudden spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. He noted that disseminating awareness about e-supermarkets in Pakistan would have taken 10 to 15 years under normal circumstances. However, the pandemic accelerated the adoption of online shopping as people sought to contain the virus in their respective areas. Following the pandemic, e-shopping gained momentum and is now experiencing substantial growth.

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“Allow me to share my own experience as the CEO of an IT company. We’ve seen a twentyfold increase in e-store projects globally, as businesses seek our expertise in developing or modernising websites and apps, as well as providing solutions to challenges faced by e-store owners and their customers,” he said. “Their sales are on the rise, prompting a demand for website modernisation to enhance customer experience and provide additional facilities,” he added.

Syed Taha Magrabi, Director of Q-Commerce at FoodPanda Pakistan, underscored that online supermarkets offer unparalleled convenience, extensive variety, and seamless accessibility to consumers. With the ability to browse and purchase a wide range of products from the comfort of their homes, shoppers are increasingly drawn towards the convenience and efficiency that e-marts provide.

“Our platform has experienced a steady rise in consumer engagement, with an increasing number of users joining us monthly and annually. Since 2023, our annual user base has seen double-digit growth, indicating the growing preference for online shopping among consumers,” he stated.

“As part of our commitment to enhancing the online shopping experience, we continuously explore new initiatives to benefit our valued consumers. This includes expanding our product categories to cater to diverse preferences and implementing customer-centric policies to ensure a seamless shopping journey,” he added.

IT Analyst Mohammad Yasir noted that e-shopping stores experienced remarkable growth during the Covid-19 pandemic. Both e-commerce marketplaces and online shopping venues expanded in Pakistan, with renowned brands, grocery shops, and general stores adopting systematic and haphazard approaches alike.

He observed that the e-commerce sector continues to demonstrate demand and sustainability in the market, with a gradual increase in its market size. However, there remains a large untapped market that market players should target, not through competition, but through coordination and collaboration within the sector.

Challenges

Sellers often face logistical, inventory management, and market competition challenges. Similarly, buyers may encounter occasional issues like delivery delays or concerns about product quality. These challenges are actively being addressed to ensure customer satisfaction.

Moreover, full-day internet disruptions can significantly impact business operations, resulting in temporary service disruptions, delayed order processing, and difficulties in maintaining seamless connectivity with customers.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2024.

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