Gone are the days of long distance commute to wholesale or flea markets in search of competitive prices and wholesale rates. With the advancement in technology, like everything else, the shopping experience has taken a 360 degree turn, making it significantly less time consuming, manifold increase in variety, and efficient all the same. Not only do customers have it all at the click of a button, from the convenience of their homes, but also compare prices, have better after sales experience and a much wider variety due to the emergence of several e commerce portals.
One of the many examples, now catering widely to the Pakistanis is the website Pakistani Stores which claims to be the one stop solution for all shopping related problems. How so? By aggregating e-commerce platforms across Pakistan in one place.
The website has a very inviting homepage with a search bar which asks the customer “what are you looking for?” The customer may enter their query and the website will show hundreds of search results from different vendors, which in this case are the online e-commerce stores, with the prices, product specifications and details making it easy for the customer to compare the various options available across the e-commerce platforms. Inevitably, the customer ends up on the portal of the vendor to place an order directly from the platform. It caters to a wide variety of products from fashion to gadgets to clothes and more. The website states that it does so by applying the same techniques employed by all major search engines, such as e-commerce giants Kaymu.pk or Daraz.pk. It has a section for interesting blogs, shows reviews and allows customers to share their experiences.
Till date, the website boasts of 305,002 products in their listing, a total of 9,243 queries served and 3,797 users redirected. The website does not have search results based on any rank, but
An e-commerce platform can simply fill out a basic form through the website or email them at email@example.com to get themselves registered.
However, with the increase in internet access and the introduction of 3G and 4G in Pakistan, not only has the competition between these portals increased, but also the traffic these portals receive. With this increase in traffic on these portals, the demand for a robust system (to keep it running!), while at the same time addressing customer needs is now more important than ever. An example is of the Black Friday online sale on Daraz.pk in 2016. The giant e-commerce portal trained and worked with vendors for weeks prior to the sale, and held what was the first of its kind ‘Sellers Summit’ to introduce these sellers to the idea of massive online sales, discount schemes, customer protection and handling as well as the overall experience.
It prepared them for the sale and made sure the top products were well stocked so that no customer was left out of the fun. Deals between different vendors and these portals help to increase the outreach of these vendors such as the deal between Zong and EasyPay to help the customers. A lot of these vendors do not have outlets or products available in some remote areas of Pakistan, so the availability of these products and options to have them delivered increases their customers, enabling a greater presence and outreach they couldn’t have had otherwise.
As Pakistan is a more mobile-first country, meaning most people use their phones to access the internet, the increase in cheap 3G and 4G phones will increase the customers online and thus increase the outreach of these businesses. According to the forecast, the country’s revenue from e-commerce is expected to grow to $1 billion by 2020. Things are only going to get better for the customers as the competition gets harder for the e- commerce giants and otherwise.
Written by: Hamna Jamshed
Edited by: IDG Pakistan