Headquartered in Wah Cantt in the Punjab province of Pakistan, Impex Pakistan is a family-owned Himalayan salt craft, Onyx marble craft, and gemstone manufacturer that has been led by the young and driven Haider Ali since 2015. Having been in the industry for five years prior to assuming responsibility for his family’s business and armed with an MBA degree, Ali is proud of the effort he has made in leading the company into the digital era through working with Alibaba.com. Not only did the leading e-commerce platform help them expand into different markets and navigate the obstacles brought on by Covid-19, Impex Pakistan was also able to realize their return on investment on Alibaba.com within 23 days since joining. After less than one year on the platform, the company is currently realizing $2.5-5 million US in annual revenue. The platform generates approximately 70% of Impex Pakistan’s business and all of its international exports.
How did Ali and his team of 47 employees do it?
A profound understanding of the e-commerce landscape
Prior to 2020, Impex Pakistan relied on marketing email campaigns to drive traffic to their company website for sales, but Ali realized this method was not sustainable. Not only was it slow and difficult to foster customer trust, it also did not generate significant business. Ali decided to investigate the e-commerce marketplace for an efficient complement, or even replacement, for their sales channel. After trying out the features on Alibaba.com, he discovered how easy it was to use compared with other platforms, and how much trust Alibaba.com promoted due to verification of both the sellers and buyers. When Covid-19 paralyzed all exhibition and trade show opportunities, that served as the catalyst to leap head-first into e-commerce. Choosing a platform was an easy decision. Many of SMEs, as far as I know, has problem to continue their business under Covid period. Business need to carry on, and going to Online is a wise decision to survive in this special period. “Alibaba.com is such an impressive and attractive B2B e-commerce site and it has such as a strong brand centered around providing customers with outstanding value and a superior shopping experience. Its functionality helps to find relevant, authentic, and verified buyers and suppliers on Alibaba.com.” Other B2B platforms have broached collaboration with Impex Pakistan, but Ali has turned down such offers as his experience with Alibaba.com has been immensely satisfactory.
Establishing competitive advantage
Impex Pakistan knew it possessed unique product positioning—Himalayan pink salt products are a Pakistani specialty and the company was poised for explosion onto the international scene. By combining a differentiated product portfolio with Alibaba.com’s capabilities, Impex Pakistan established an advantage over its competitors.
After building a visually appealing mini website—with extensive training and support from the Alibaba team—and drastically improving the quality of product listings, Impex Pakistan saw an immediate change in results.
One of Ali’s favorite features on the platform is the keyword analysis tools. “I like it because you can optimize the rank your product by using the tool. You can check product views on a daily basis and easily replace the keywords that are not performing well. This also increases valid inquiries from buyers.” He also uses keywords to conduct market research and learn from the competitors even under the pandemic period.
Mastering operations on the platform
“I have five dedicated marketing team members who manage five Impex Pakistan sub-accounts on the platform and all of them are well trained, experienced, and have marketing expertise to sell on Alibaba.com.” In addition to ensuring his staff acquires the necessary operational knowledge, Ali also invests his own time into mastering the platform’s functions. “Self-learning plays a vital role in understanding any features. I have spent several hours daily to learn new updated features on Alibaba.com.” Comprehensive services offered by the platform also made Impex Pakistan’s onboarding process effortless and efficient. Ali took full advantage of new seller webinars with the Alibaba.com verified service team and has also completed six free onsite training sessions with his account manager to upskill himself and his marketing team. He also consults with his account manager three to four times weekly when additional questions arise.
Ali’s journey with Alibaba.com has proved to be a fulfilling and enriching experience. He has recommended the platform to his friends and hopes to encourage other sellers to join by sharing his story. “Joining Alibaba.com was a defining moment in my life, especially in this pandemic. I am confident that the decision of joining Alibaba is best and I have taken an excellent step towards achieving my goals of bringing innovative and competitive products to the international market."