KARACHI

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

The ecom­merce in­dus­try has been flour­ish­ing in Pak­istan for the last many years as num­ber of com­pa­nies have reg­is­tered a record growth in the sales of their prod­ucts ahead of shop­ping sea­son for Eid and post-Eid wed­ding sea­son but un­for­tu­nately the sec­tor growth is not sup­ported by bank­ing sys­tem de­spite the avail­abil­ity of var­i­ous op­tions to cus­tomers for online money trans­ac­tions.

Lead­ing E-com­merce web-por­tals said that their busi­nesses have been grow­ing in Pak­istan with ev­ery pass­ing years, how­ever, the use of online bank­ing by the cus­tomers is very lim­ited to stand at 2 per­cent of over­all trans­ac­tions.

These com­pa­nies of­fer var­i­ous op­tions to cus­tomers for de­posit­ing their money against the or­der and goods supplied to them but the ma­jor­ity of cus­tomers give pri­or­ity to cash on de­liv­ery which con­sti­tutes 98 per­cent of over­all in­come.

There are many op­tions given to cus­tomers for trans­fer of money to sup­pli­ers in­clud­ing credit card, online bank­ing, IBFT, E-pay­ment gate­way like Easypay.

Sales through online shop­ping in­creased man­i­fold this year but not through bank­ing chan­nel said, Kam­ran Shamim, founder of Buyon.pk. He said, "I think there is a re­li­a­bil­ity is­sue at the end of cus­tomers to trans­fer money online to sup­plier in ad­vance, Kam­ran Shamim, founder of Buyon.pk. How­ever bank­ing chan­nel will be uti­lized in the com­ing years once the trust is built be­tween buyer and seller". The num­ber of visi­tors and or­ders has in­creased by three times com­pared to the nor­mal trad­ing on renowned online shop­ping por­tals in the coun­try show­ing the ris­ing trend of tech­nol­ogy in the lives of peo­ple, they said. It is be­cause of ar­rival of 3G/4G tech­nol­ogy cou­pled with ris­ing aware­ness among cus­tomers but use of bank­ing chan­nel is pa­thetic.

There was a mas­sive hike in vis­its on Daraz.pk dur­ing Ramadan be­cause of Eid shop­ping as we see an av­er­age of 250,000 visi­tors on our shop­ping web­site on a reg­u­lar day, dur­ing Ramadan, the fig­ure shot up to 300,000 visi­tors, said Fa­ress Shah, co-founder Daraz.pk.

New dis­count or­ders and avail­abil­ity of new de­signs also at­tracted scores of cus­tomers to use our online shop­ping web­site, he added. In­ter­est­ingly, or­ders from women are def­i­nitely higher than men but the dif­fer­ence is less in clothes than it is in footwear. He also men­tioned that cus­tomers pre­fer do­ing pay­ment as the mode of cash on de­liv­ery com­pared with online bank­ing op­tions which are equipped by online shop­ping por­tals. How­ever, the use of bank­ing chan­nel will im­prove in com­ing years, he added. Ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try play­ers, the trend of online shop­ping im­proved this year sig­nif­i­cantly in the peak sea­son of sales be­cause of fa­cil­i­ta­tion of ser­vices for the cus­tomers and in­creas­ing cred­i­bil­ity of the has­sle free shop­ping model.

There are two cat­e­gories cus­tomers use var­i­ous shop­ping por­tals; one from elite class liv­ing from posh lo­cal­i­ties but they are re­luc­tant to visit shop­ping cen­ters or hav­ing no time to visit bazaars, the other class is of those cus­tomers liv­ing in the sub-ur­ban cities of the me­trop­o­lis with no ac­cess of shop­ping cen­ters or branded prod­ucts. Some of the por­tals are busy in meet­ing the or­ders of sub-ur­ban cities whereas some online shop­ping por­tals lay their fo­cus on the mar­kets of big cities. The busi­ness mod­els also vary as some of them al­low shop­keep­ers to set up their vir­tual stores on the web­sites and con­nect their cus­tomers through bridg­ing them. On the other hand, some of the shop­ping web-por­tals main­tain big in­ven­to­ries of the branded prod­ucts to meet the cus­tomers' or­ders.

More­over, the lo­gis­tics net­work is the most im­por­tant for all web por­tals to make the de­mand of the cus­tomer well on time within the pe­riod of three days. One of the fac­tors is in­creas­ing aware­ness among the public and use of the in­ter­net on mo­bile phone which has given im­pe­tus to online shop­ping sales from 80 per­cent in the last cou­ple of years mainly af­ter ar­rival of 3G/4G tech­nolo­gies. Usu­ally, peo­ple do shop­ping from this web­sites in­clud­ing cloth­ing, footwear, cos­metic and fash­ion ac­ces­sories in the month of Ramadan. Cus­tomers in­clude both males and fe­male who usu­ally make pay­ment on de­liv­ery of their or­ders at their places but few of the cus­tomers also use online mode of pay­ments such as in­ter­net bank­ing.

Ex­perts said there is a need to in­cor­po­rate tech­no­log­i­cal and fi­nan­cial tools for pro­vid­ing greater eas­i­ness to the lives of peo­ple along with se­cu­rity of their money. In this re­gard, banks should cre­ate aware­ness of online bank­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with online web por­tals, giv­ing in­cen­tives like re­ward point sys­tem to give im­pe­tus to use of bank­ing chan­nels, which will bode well for fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion in the emerg­ing sec­tor.

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