Pakistan is amongst those few countries in the world that have laid down the most advanced telecom infrastructure compared to other developing regions. Amidst its hardships, Pakistan’s telecom sector has made great progress eliminating the hurdles of the previous analogue and low-speed telecommunication networks transformed into a high speed broadband infrastructure that facilitates the most amazing forms of communications today.
The whole region has witnessed great transformation within the last ten years and this paves the way to explore new opportunities to utilize this infrastructure to create social and economic value for the country. However, the only limited factor that prevents this network to fully be extended to the next level of business and commerce is the lack of a state of the art, fully compliant, interbank ATM and mobile networked electronic payment gateway and e-commerce infrastructure.
Despite the poor payment gateway and e-commerce infrastructure for facilitating online commerce in Pakistan, certain young Pakistani entrepreneurs have proved to bridge this digital divide in the region while generating business opportunity online as well as proving that such barriers can be overcome with a bit of creativity. Their business secret is simple, let Pakistani customers choose their preferred electronic product online and pay for their purchases and receive their products offline. Though this combination of online and offline commerce has existed for over a decade, it has only been fully incorporated into Pakistani business in the recent few years by the few who believe that such issues should not be considered as barriers especially when a large population of the country access both computers and the Internet.
Shophive.com and Myshop.com.pk are two such ventures that have changed the perception that E-Commerce is still a distant dream for Pakistan. Though the fact remains that true E-Commerce is still a hard bet for Pakistan but with the creativity and talent that Pakistanis carry, they can transform hard to attempt ideas into successful businesses. The most interesting factor about these two companies is that their payment methods are all local and they employ local bank payment facilities to acquire payments while delivering the products locally again employing local delivery networks.
www.Shophive.com was launched by Zeest Group (www.zeest.com) in 2005 and has become single source of online E-Commerce shop for buying audio and visual equipment, computers, mobile phones and various related accessories. The website through its various online safety and trust services provides adequate guarantee to buyers as well as the facility for free home delivery anywhere in Pakistan.
Shophive employs both online and offline payment service facilities including Cash on Delivery in Lahore, Cheque on Delivery, acceptance of local Master and Visa Credit cards again in Lahore only, money orders, demand drafts, Western Union Wire Transfer and national level payment acceptance of online bank transfers from United Bank Limited and Muslim Commercial Bank. Shophive does not ship outside Pakistan whilst it offers free shipping anywhere in Pakistan. It provides same day delivery in Lahore through its own delivery staff and same day dispatches to rest of the cities by courier services but this may be limited to delivery in 1-5 business days depending on the size and weight of the product being delivered. The company charges an extra Rs. 500 for the installation of products like Home Theatres. Shophive also offers an online auction facility through http://shophive.com/auction where users can sell and purchase equipment through auctions.
www.Myshop.com.pk was launched in Lahore by two brothers, Nadeem and Usman Shahzad in 2007 and has positioned itself as the leading resource for making available laptops and related accessories both online and offline in Lahore. The Myshop.com.pk philosophy has been very simple; both brothers launched the company as consumers. They were lost in a plethora of laptop retailers, whose primary object was merely to sell their stuff, and who generally had almost no knowledge of the product they were trying to accompany home with clients. The brothers felt a dire need for a single place, for people, who would know what they were talking about, put their needs first and give them an honest opinion and give them solutions rather than just sell boxes.
The company originally launched with the concept of operating in a cost-controlled and paperless environment for the sales of laptops through employing the Internet as the gateway to its sales catalogue. Though the company did undertake minimal advertising activity through offline publishing means but has majorly retained its sales due to the amount of people visiting its website and making both walk-in and telephonic purchases. Myshop.com.pk today deals in all major laptop brands and hosts its laptop catalogue online where customers may first browse and choose their preferred laptop product online. The customer can then visit the Myshop.com.pk sales outlet located in Century Tower on Kalma Chowk in Gulberg, Lahore where they pay and receive their purchases.
Myshop.com.pk is one of the few companies in Pakistan that offers both local and international warranty claims on all of its products right here. Myshop.com.pk offers an online catalogue that lists all laptop product offerings from Apple, Acer, Compaq, Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway, HP, IBM, Lenovo, Sony and Toshiba. The company also hosts a sister company MyShop Value at www.myshopvalue.com that offers accessories for all the products sold through the www.myshop.com.pk.
Even though both www.shophive.com and www.myshop.com.pk are from Lahore, they both have left a positive example for the Youth and Business Entrepreneurs of Pakistan that anything is possible despite the few lackings prevalent in the local business environment and with a bit of creativity and ambition, one can overcome these disparities and build successful businesses with the combination of both online and offline business strategies.