Approaching your closet after a long hectic day at work, it may be close to impractical to expect a long line of color coordinated clothes, ironed and hung neatly inside the closet. Instead, you come across outdated shirts and blazers, close to fading. Well, the answer to that problem maybe just a click away.
Considering the wide array of online options to choose from, the choices are unlimited in modern day markets; this is mainly in terms of clothes, gadgets, furniture or even pets. There seem to be an online store present catering to every consumer need. Looking back, this wasn’t always the case.
When the concept of e-commerce emerged, due to a minimal amount of people having knowledge and access to the internet, setting up online ventures was not a viable option.
Yet the considerate number of Pakistanis settled abroad became the perfect target market for already established corporations here in Pakistan.
However, after the internet population in Pakistan grew rapidly there was a significant growth in this area, noteworthy amount of business decided to switch to e-commerce. Later, with the emergence of facebook, instagram etc with active users increasing on daily basis the gap in the market was further reduced. As the concept of online stores further nurtured in Pakistan, the barriers to entry were also eliminated with time.
Nowadays it is very convenient to set up an online store, not just for giant corporations but the general public as well. It has been estimated by experts that the market share for this intangible market is said to be $25-30 million in Pakistan.
“More and more people in Pakistan are adopting the idea of online shopping in Pakistan. In the years to come, I believe, Pakistani ecommerce market will have much more money and competition as it has today.”
- Farhan Ismail: Product head, Jambo.pk
Although e-commerce is growing immensely, it still has certain problems associated with it, such as constrains in the payment system. The credit card model is said to be the most widely used method of payment when it comes to online shopping.
However, with a vast variety of these internet users comprising of the youth population who do not have access to credit cards, this model may prove to be ineffective. Although the number of credit card holders in recent years has doubled, people are still wary of providing their personal information to online ventures, as cases of fraud are far from being reduced in the cyber world.
Moreover, poorly designed websites may be another problem prominent in the online market. Customers online are more likely to shop from professional looking stores rather than stores with poorly designed websites, therefore the online vendors may have to go through the hassle of improving the shopping experience.
As most business corporations along with infant firms switched some of their operations online, great expectations have been placed on these online stores by customers. Here’s what to expect in the years to come:
- Total cost calculator: Although, this feature is not evident in most online stores. The growing importance of this feature has been considered by many online stores and still is. A virtual shopping cart calculating costs along with shipment and other taxes is expected to be included in the coming years.
- Search function: The wider the products catalog the better relevance this feature has with the store. Even though it’s rare for online stores to not include this feature, the functionality is said to be dealt with in more detail, catering to specific user needs and improving the usability of this feature.
- Visually appealing websites: This may include showcasing the best sold products on the front page of the website, along with a professional design, displaying store ratings and security badges to improve the store’s trustworthiness with the online customer.
- Proper product display: A more improved product display may comprise of an image zoom and a thumbnail option. This feature is mainly to avoid fear of deception present within online customers. However, this feature will not be common in Instagram or Facebook stores.
- Privacy statement: This is one of the most common reasons for reluctance in purchasing from online stores by customers. To end this problem a privacy statement along with contact information will be of easy access to every customer.
Although online stores in Pakistan took the market by storm, it is yet to grow. Different problems still persist in this online portal. However, even though Pakistan is a developing country with a slow growth rate, it still has much more potential for e-commerce.
Moreover, if these online stores set up their main aim to keep their promises and provide customers with value products, Pakistan could soon observe an e-commerce revolution.
Stay tuned to Brandsynario for more updates.
Contributed by Haroon Hemani