How to start an E-commerce business in Pakistan

Alibaba.com APRIL 29, 202112 MIN READ
How to start an E-commerce business in Pakistan

All around the globe today, there are over 4.6 billion people who use the Internet,1 and in the past 12 months alone, the total number of Internet users around the world rose by 319 million. This shows that an average of 875,000 new users is added each day. These staggering statistics point to the simple fact that the Internet is speedily taking over the world.

Due to the growing popularity in the use of the Internet, there has been a shift in the world of Internet trading. Smartphones, social media, and the likes have also contributed to the continuing rise of Internet trading.

We are beginning to see marketing move from the physical space to cyberspace. Therefore, it is only natural that, as an entrepreneur, you flow with the tide. In fact, it's a smart move to want to take your business to the next level.

If you are considering kicking off an e-commerce business in Pakistan, you're in the right place to get all the information you need.

Here, you will learn everything about starting an ecommerce business in Pakistan, including what products you can sell online in Pakistan, why Pakistan is such a great market choice, and how Alibaba creates a means for you to achieve your goals.

What is E-commerce?

Simply put, e-commerce is every business transaction that occurs in cyberspace. It is also commonly referred to as Internet marketing. In this present digital age, e-commerce is definitely not a strange concept. And it's not wrong to say that wherever the Internet has reached, the idea of online transactions has also taken root. E-commerce has grown to become a huge enterprise with over 4 billion people in the world using the Internet.

As we all know, time is always of the essence. Everyone is looking for a faster way or method of getting a lot done in the shortest possible time. Very few people now want to go through the conventional means of buying products. We've come to look at the process as being time-consuming and unnecessarily strenuous. It is easier to shop with e-commerce.

You can now sit in the comfort of your room, unlock your smartphone and go online to search for an e-commerce store with a rich inventory. And with just one click, you can order almost anything and everything you want and have it brought to your doorstep. And with e-commerce, distance is no barrier. Sellers and entrepreneurs can ship products to you from literally any country in the world.

Now as a seller, you don't have to rent a building or store for your enterprise. This means you won't have to deal with the hassle of paying for electricity, water, rent, among other things. With a smartphone, you can begin trading your products and services right away without stepping out of your home. Suffice to say, the tremendous growth of the Internet has taken buying and selling to a whole new level of ease.

Today, e-commerce appears to be stifling the physical market. Both buyers and sellers are beginning to consider the Internet a better option for transactions. The reason for this is that online trading is characterized by its comfortability, 24/7 availability, its ability to save time, and most importantly cut costs. These features are what give e-commerce an edge over the physical market space.

Top reasons to invest in E-commerce in Pakistan

The Internet has penetrated deeply into the heart of Pakistan. As of January 2021, there were over 61 million Internet users in Pakistan.2 The number of Internet users increased by 11 million within the space of 2020 and 2021.

This consistent rise in the use of the net in Pakistan is astonishing. And these numbers show no sign of letting up. This obviously makes Pakistan a fertile ground for the growth and development of e-commerce.

Pakistan also holds the position of being the 5th most populous country in the world.3 Additionally, the percentage of youths in Pakistan stands at 64%.4 These statistics clearly prove that Pakistan is a gold mine that can provide a great source of income for e-commerce entrepreneurs. Still unsure? Well, here are a few reasons why you should start your online trading business in Pakistan.

  • Growth of technology: The digital world is picking up at a fast pace in Pakistan. This is in no way surprising as over half of the population in Pakistan are youths. This makes it a great place to start any online enterprise. The market for your products will always be available. In addition to that, the government of Pakistan is trying its best to create an environment where online transactions can thrive. This is because online transactions have a positive impact on the overall well-being of the economy.
  • 5G broadband network and the availability of smartphones: After using the 3G and 4G broadband, Pakistan is set to launch into the 5G network broadband. This will facilitate an even stronger and faster Internet connection. The prices of smartphones have also reduced, giving a larger number of people the chance to get a smartphone and begin using the Internet.
  • Embrace of digital cash: Carrying out online cash transactions has gained tremendous popularity. Different countries are beginning to follow the trend as they can't afford to ignore it anymore. Pakistan is one of those countries that have imbibed this policy. Many payment gateways have emerged as a result of this. As time goes by, this will increase the people's trust in digital cash. The result of this would be a growth in online fund transfers. And with the ability to transfer funds online, e-commerce will become much stronger and deeply rooted in the system.
  • Advantageous environment for entrepreneurs: Pakistan has a really great entrepreneurial culture. They also have a government that encourages entrepreneurship. The government is always looking for means to create a conducive environment for entrepreneurs, especially Internet businesses. This has encouraged the growth of small and medium entrepreneur businesses in Pakistan.
  • Great export system: Pakistan is known for its exports. Here is a list of the top 10 Pakistan's exports5 and the revenue each product generated:
    • Miscellaneous textiles, and clothing: US$4.2 billion (20% of all exports)
    • Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $3.5 billion (16.7%)
    • Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $3.3 billion (16.1%)
    • Cotton: $1.8 billion (8.4%)
    • Cereals: $1.2 billion (5.9%)
    • Leather/animal gut articles: $716.7 million (3.5%)
    • Copper: $596.7 million (2.9%)
    • Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $421 million (2%)
    • Mineral fuels including oil: $393.8 million (1.9%)
    • Fish: $372.5 million (1.8)

This list proves that Pakistan is doing very well in the area of exporting. As an online trader, you can tap into this lucrative system and make a fortune for yourself.

You can become an exporter by using Alibaba.com. It is the biggest b2b online marketplace where you can get your goods across to customers and even other businesses. These businesses may want to buy and sell your products at a retail price. You can also sell raw materials to factories that will process them into finished goods.

Checklist for starting an E-commerce business in Pakistan

If you are looking for a way to break into the e-commerce world, Alibaba.com is the best option. This is because it has the biggest business-to-business (B2B) marketing platform.

As an entrepreneur, this platform allows you to buy products in bulk and sell at a retail price. Also, having a strong social media presence will help you efficiently sell your products faster. These are the steps to take when trying to establish your digital marketing business.

#1: Do your research

Before you venture into any business, you need to do a lot of research. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What is their financial capacity?
  • What are their preferences?
  • How much do I need to start up my online trading business?
  • What are the thriving businesses in Pakistan?

#2: Decide on what you wish to sell

It's always best to specialize in selling a particular product. As a starter, it won't help if you don't have a core product you can be identified with. Having a major product will help you to channel all your energy into getting as many customers for that product as possible.

In addition, you can avoid the distraction of trying to diversify your marketing strategy for each product. Nonetheless, as time goes by, you can expand and bring in other products. But it's good to start with a single product.

#3: Follow the trend

Some products are regarded as being in trend. They sell fast. You need to identify these products and begin selling them. You can start selling at a lower price to attract customers. Then when the demand is high, you can begin to gradually increase the price. In Pakistan, some products that are always in high demand include grocery items and gadgets.

#4: Get a reliable wholesale distributor

As a retailer, you need to buy the products in bulk. Otherwise, you'll make little to no profit. As such, you need someone trustworthy from whom you can buy your products in bulk. Alibaba.com can connect you to trustworthy wholesale suppliers. It's advisable to establish a solid relationship with your supplier. That way they don't disappoint you, and they sell quality products to you.

#5: Decide on the method of shipping

The term shipping as used here is simply the transport of the goods a customer orders. There are several means to ship purchased products. You can transport them by air, truck rail freight etc. AliExpress offers you a variety of options to ship your products. It's a very reliable means of getting your products delivered to your customers. The shipping options vary according to cost. Here are some of the shipping methods available on AliExpress:

  • AliExpress Standard Shipping
  • China Air Post Registered Mail
  • Singapore Post
  • EMS
  • DHL
  • POS Malaysia
  • FedEx
  • UPS

#6: Create a method for safekeeping your inventory

When you buy your products in bulk, you'll need a place to keep them until they're purchased. This has to be a secure place where your items won't get stolen or destroyed.

You can, of course, decide to keep them in your house. If the products are so many then you may need to rent a warehouse to store the goods. This is important because you can't sell destroyed or damaged products. If your customer realizes that you sold them damaged goods, they could lose trust in you. So having a safe place for keeping your inventory shouldn't be overlooked.

Alternatively, you can try out drop shipping. This way you won't need a storehouse to keep your inventory. Dropshipping involves passing the order of a consumer directly to the wholesaler. You act as a middleman who gathers the orders of people and then passes them on to the supplier. The products are then shipped directly from the suppliers to each consumer.

#7: Choose the right channel to get your products across to consumers

You can create a website where you sell your retail goods. You can also make use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the likes to get your goods to the consumers. If you decide on creating a website, you'll need to do the following:

  • You need to buy a domain name and get good hosting services for your website.
  • You need a registered name and you also need to install a good content management system (CMS) like WordPress.

If you are buying a website, then make sure you:

  • Take note of the website extension. Do you prefer '.pk' or '.com'?
  • Buy a good domain name. This is what gives your customers their first impression of your business.
  • Make sure you purchase a hosting service from a trustworthy company.
  • Install secure socket layer (SSL). This tells you that your website is secure and safe for usage.
  • Buy a website with a great theme. This will make it very easy for your customers to maneuver their way around your website and purchase whatever they want.

#8: Start advertising your products

The importance of social media when advertising cannot be overemphasized. With a large number of people on social media, you have a very wide audience. If you're running a website, make sure the content on your website is search engine friendly. This means that they must be SEO optimized.

You must design your content in such a way that whenever a question that relates to your product or service is imputed into the Google search engine, your website will appear at the top of the search engine result page (SERP).

This will generate traffic and may translate to more sales of your products. You can advertise by offering your customers discounts. Giving discounts raises the popularity of your products. People always go after items of cheaper price.

6 Online marketing business ideas to start in Pakistan

Before diving into the E-commerce industry, you need to consider the type of online marketing business ideas that are very profitable. Some of them include:

  • Children's clothing: As of 2018, the fertility rate in Pakistan was an average of 3.51 children per woman.6 Due to the steady increase in population, children's clothing is always in demand.
  • Sales of footwear materials: Pakistan has a high rate of raw materials production for footwear. You can export these raw materials to shoe making companies. Creating an ecommerce store around this can be very profitable. You'll be getting the raw materials at a cheaper price and then selling them at a higher price.
  • Trading of gadgets: With the massive increase in technology, gadgets such as smartphones, laptops, pads, and the likes will be readily bought when available. IT is gaining ground in Pakistan and a lot of people are beginning to see the opportunities available in this sector. You can import the gadgets and sell them off on your ecommerce store at a higher price.
  • Marketing of textile materials: Pakistan is a large producer of textile. Even with the pandemic, the textile production sector wasn't affected. You can benefit greatly from this area by standing as a supplier of textile materials to clothing companies. You can make a lot of money shipping textiles to manufacturers.
  • Sales of personal protective equipment (PPE): Pakistan bagged export orders worth 100 million dollars from the sale of PPE. As a result of the dreadful Coronavirus, the demand for protective gear has been on the rise. Governments are ordering their citizens to purchase and use them. This has made them essential commodities. Pakistan also has the raw materials available and is one of the top suppliers of PPE. You can also tap into this and begin selling these protective gears on an ecommerce store. You can even export them to other countries.
  • Selling herbal medicine: The global herbal medicine market was valued at $138350 million in 2020.7 It is expected to almost double this figure ($218940 million) by the end of 2026. You can carve a niche for yourself by transacting with herbal medicine. It has a demand locally and also internationally.

Sell on Alibaba.com

Alibaba.com’s goal is to give small-scale business owners the needed support to sell their products in Pakistan without stress or excessive capital. Alibaba.com is a platform that cares a lot about small-scale businesses and as such, tries to provide a platform for them to transact without so much cost.

With the help of Alibaba.com, you can purchase in bulk and sell at retail prices in Pakistan. Learn more about Alibaba e-commerce platform and get started on your online trading business.

References:
1. https://datareportal.com/global-digital-overview
2. https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2021-pakistan
3. https://www.census.gov/popclock/print.php?component=counter
4. https://www.undp.org/content/dam/pakistan/docs/HDR/NHDR_Summary%202017%20Final.pdf
5. http://www.worldstopexports.com/pakistans-top-10-exports/
6. https://tradingeconomics.com/pakistan/fertility-rate-total-births-per-woman-wb-data.html
7. https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/herbal-medicine-market-size-sale-2021-drivers-challenges-and-their-impact-on-growth-and-demand-forecasts-in-2026-2021-02-07