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

Surprised? 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.

Samir is the Head of Entertainment at Lens by ProPakistani. You can reach out to him at samir.ya...

  • Is there a system to regulate these online shops? if not there must be to ensure security for both (owner & customer). Trust is most important aspect here. I’ve been online shopping and sometimes I’m satisfied, sometimes not really not sure to trust it fully. the delivery and the return order system is not satisfactory for now.

  • Then why Online Stores are opening on daily basis? Surely they are making profits that’s why new people are coming forward.

  • Lie I still can’t believe this as they are still selling these things way high in some cases if you compare it with market

  • Bulls***. These online stores are investing huge money on advertising. There is no way they are not making profits. How do they pull out money for advertising then? This article is just a random crap.

  • None of the E-Commerce Stores in Pakistan are Making A Profit!
    yes this may be because of their plundering policies to rip off the consumers. if they give fair and market competitive deals, i guess most of the people would like to opt hassle-free online shopping. but unfortunately stores are trying to loot customers and giving fake offers or giving used things in the name of new. only n only “Fairness” can turn these stores into profitable.

  • Of the top 5, I know at least 2 are profitable for last 3+ years each. And as my role in DotZero Ventures, I come across many profitable online businesses.

    What Advil said is generally true for VC funded like Daraz or Yahvo, but there are a lot of exceptions. Quiet a few.

  • Business ethics and core values are what makes bussinesses. Be it Azamon, Zappos, Zara, or Giftsnideas they have strong business ethics which made them sustainable over the period of time. Jim Collins in his book ‘Good to great’ mentioned consistency over time. I at #GiftingEmotion trying to insert core values of company into my employees.

  • There is no system to monitor each product withdelivery, Yes, Pakistan is becoming huge for Ecommerce, but lawless.

  • Are they selling for free? Thing which is available for cheaper in market is available at almost double price in online Pakistan stores, oh and not to forget i am stuck with my phone purchasing with darazpk since last 31 days, payment made :)

    • If someone is selling you for double the price there will always be another one who is not charging you double and would be just enough where you and him shall be comfortable . is a big organization and I assure you your phone shall get to you eventually. Hopefully a representative of theirs shall take this up here and help the gentlemen here.

  • I don’t think so, as many of us are still ordering via Ecommerce stores but the fact is quality is all bogus yet still we can’t state that ecommerce stores aren’t getting any profits!

    • Hi Shahrukh , Very right many new online store coming to the scene are selling some real low quality stuff but then as a customer you really need to understand and filter these stores right. You have good and bad sellers not just online but offline as well. Work order and find the best that has certain set of rules and policies which they follow and hopefully you should find those sale hands.

  • There a law in place, buyer protection. But in Pakistan rich are outlaws so I don’t think anything E could perform like in neighboring countries. As a seller on ebay, how hard it is for me to maintain the reputation by providing top class services all the time, Pakistan raglatory will never be able to place such tight mechanism.

  • None of them making profit and our politicians are loyal to us and our country.

  • It is dis-appointing when the respective SBP executives on Payment System are heading to South Africa by the International Multi-lateral agency on Digital Payments with free travelling, visas, stay etc., etc., They should see this model and share with their multilateral agency partners worldwide, to look at Pakistan market as PayPal, and invite Jeff Bezos at Nehari, Halim, and free license of Windows10, Office 365 license.

  • I am quite surprised at the twist to the whole story. The conversation in general and this comment in particular was in context to the VC funded market place only and not a generic comment for the industry. We all understand and accept the fact that the Pakistan is gearing up fast to embrace e commerce and many brands, companies and payment solutions are popping up in the market which is the evidence of this acceptance.

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