Business to consumer E-Commerce (e-B2C) is on the rise in Pakistan as 571 local e-commerce merchants are already accepting payments through banking channels as of end-June 2017, with cumulative annual domestic sales worth Rs 9.8 billion.
In addition to that, transactions worth Rs 20.7 billion were carried out by consumers on international e-commerce websites, stated State Bank of Pakistan in its quarterly report while quoting latest e-commerce data.
According to the report, growing incomes, coupled with advancement in communication technology and expansion of internet access and branchless banking, have been propelling the sector forward. Various benefits such as comfort of shopping from home, wider selection variety, ubiquity of 24×7 service, and interaction possibilities like reviews to make an informed decision were the main sources of attraction to the consumers.
Businesses, meanwhile, are venturing into digital platforms to increase their reach, the report added. “Additional benefit comes from low operating costs and flexibility in inventory management (based on feedback, recommendation, and just-in-time mechanisms) which results in increasing margins,” the report said.
Thus, a range of businesses have shifted to this medium to cater to the growing demand and to remain competitive in the changing market environment, it added. This is an encouraging trend as it provides a potential to document transactions that would otherwise not become part of the formal retail segment.