How to start E-commerce business in Pakistan? Part-1

It is very impressive how Pakistan is progressing in the field of IT, telecom and broadband penetration. Pakistan’s e-commerce market is growing tremendously and it presents great opportunities for everyone.

Pakistan’s broadband penetration has grown to over 40 million (38 million are on 3G/4G), up from just 2 million in April 2014. With more than 45 million smartphones in the market, Pakistan is on track to become one of the largest internet population in the world.

Foreign players and giants like AliBaba group are planning to enter Pakistan’s huge potential market. It is still a rising market and there is a huge potential for small businesses alike.

Why e-commerce?

E-commerce has several advantages over traditional physical business. Few major benefits are:

  • Low investment as compared to physical business
  • Can target wider audience
  • You can start business immediately

Physical vs Online

For a physical business initial investment is huge. You need a place, a shop or office. If you are going to buy it will cost you millions. If you go for rental, you will still have to pay considerable amount for advance and your monthly operational cost will be high. Then there are other one time costs involved like furniture, lighting, and other stuff. You have to spend a big amount even before you start selling.

As compared to starting an e-commerce business you just need to buy a domain and a hosting or go for platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce. You can get your site developed in very cheap rates from freelancers or if you are a power user then you can setup your own site that will cost you free. Few ready-made solutions that are available are:

  • WordPress/WooCommerce
  • OpenCart
  • Prestashop
  • Magento

There are even lot other solutions available that you can search and try. If you do this on your own it will cost you free.

Setup and Operations cost is low

Next step would be to enter your inventory in your e-commerce store. That shouldn’t take more time. It could even be done sooner than setting up a physical shop. Due to this you can start online business immediately as compared to physical store.

Target wider audience

If you have a physical store then you can target only the people in your area or city depending where you are located. If you are a small businessman with a shop in your locality then your customers could only be from your nearby areas. If you have a shop in a bigger mall or market then your audience would be wider. But if you open an online e-commerce store you can target not only your city but country, or you can even go international, resulting in huge potential for great revenue.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. But remember you must have some business sense since online store is also a business. Without business strategy and marketing sense you won’t be successful.

In coming episodes we’ll talk more about setting up e-commerce store, role of technology, business and marketing tips, how to grow your online business and much more.

If you feel this is a good read and want to read more about a topic you are interested in then feel free to leave me a feedback and I’ll add it in my upcoming topics list.