None of the E-Commerce Stores in Pakistan are Making A Profit!

None of the E-Commerce Stores in Pakistan are Making A Profit!

x50-700x350Surprised? So were we when Adil Hashmi of Bramerz shared this most intriguing information with us recently at Digital Advertising Seminar in Karachi. ‘The Future of Advertising’ event sure did give the audience a lot of food for thought at the end of it.

According to the GM of Bramerz, whose company handles the digital outreach of top-notch brands such as Nescafe Basement, Dominos, Samsung, Pepsi amongst others, the online marketplace is still learning the ropes when it comes to even breaking even in Pakistan.

What Does This Mean For Established Pakistani E-Stores?

It is still too early to tell whether this statement applies to all local startups or those who are in the business of retailing only. But one thing is clear: We don’t have enough data to prove this.

It’s high-time that we start getting more insight about how online startups like FoodPanda, EatOye, HomeShopping, Daraz, Kaymu, Bytes, and many more are doing.

As we have discussed before, its time for more research driven data and stats to surface from local industry so we may get a clearer picture of what’s going on.

Ensuring transparent reports can give industry watchers and ordinary folks alike some crucial insights into how startups are faring in Pakistan.

In the absence of clear-cut and verified statistics, there’s no way for future entrepreneurs to know what Pakistan lacks and where it’s doing a great job. There is an utter lack of clarity here and that puts a giant question mark over all the stakeholders’ heads.

E-Commerce Stores Can Benefit From Transparency too!

There’s been huge hue and cry over how online stores are perceived here both positively and negatively. Previously some ill-advised promotions have hurt the cause of the still-nascent online retail market in Pakistan, making people apprehensive about purchasing things online. Is this a good sign to have when there’s talk of inviting PayPal or Amazon to open up shop here?

Take the Example of Food-Ordering Startups

Pakistani are voracious foodies. And the food startups here know it. To this end, they’ve rolled out improvements in the ordering experience via their mobile apps, even integrating online payment options with partner restaurants.

Recently, even I got over my hesitancy to order food via online payment and was pleasantly surprised at how seamlessly the whole experience was. Sure beats ordering that food item and then having to jostle with an ‘errant’ delivery-wala who never seems to have the spare change. In the middle of the night that is. Hey, we’ve all been there!

But again this is something that I say from personal experience. And in the absence of concrete data, there’s no way to determining how FoodPanda / EatOye and the rest of the food startups are doing. Which is precisely what’s needed.

Concluding Thoughts

Judging by the humongous publicity we’re seeing in Black or White Friday deals, it is fair to assume that people want to trust e-stores that provide them excellent value for money.

But they need to do that without resorting to limited and gimmicky promotions that tend to make people swear off using that credit or debit card off the internet forever. If e-Commerce stores in Pakistan aren’t raking in profits like Mr. Hashmi stated, then its time for them to do some much-needed soul-searching.