In Pakistan. starting an E-commerce business could be a complex and challenging process amid a lack of payment processing facilities. The e-commerce industry is continuously growing at a fast pace.
In the current year 2023, the market size for eCommerce is predicted with a revenue of US$6,724 million. This number places Pakistan ahead of many developing countries such as New Zealand, The current revenue is expected to grow at 6.1% which would create a market volume of US$8,500 million by the year 2027
New and aspiring entrepreneurs are stepping up for seeking new eCommerce opportunities. In this article, we discuss all the major steps that can help you start an eCommerce business in Pakistan in 2023.
There’s high competition in Industry so the first step is to identify the business model. There are four basic types.
Business-to-customer (B2C): The B2C model aims at selling to consumers directly online. A prime example in Pakistan is Daraz. Individual customers go to the website, search for a product and order online. The majority of online businesses fall into this category. If you have a product or service to sell, set up your website and start selling online.
Business-to-business (B2B): B2B models aim to facilitate businesses selling products or services to other businesses (not individuals). Amazon Business and Alibaba are prime examples of B2B eCommerce models.
Identify Your Niche and Target Market:
It is very important to identify the niche of your business and targeted audience. A niche is a specific area that the business aims to operate in and the target market is the group of people who may be interested in your business. Remember, a business could sell a product or a service. You can set up a website and sell online or you can set up a shop (marketplace) on Facebook, Amazon, Instagram, or Daraz.
Develop a Business Plan:
After establishing the niche and target market of the business, the next step is to develop a business plan. A business plan is a document that identifies business goals, and strategies. The strategies particularly focus on marketing avenues to spread out the word and reach out to the audience who may be interested in that business.
Here’s a quick list of 5 things you need to take care of.
1- Select a business name and start building your brand:
When choosing a business name, following steps you need to keep in mind:
- Make it memorable and easy to pronounce.
- Check that the domain name is available.
- The name should be unique.
- Consider the potential for future growth.
- A positive connotation should be attached to the name.
After choosing the name you can start building your brand by developing a brand identity. This includes creating a logo, brand colors, and a tagline. Also, you can create a website and social media accounts to help establish your online presence.
In order to establish a strong and identifiable brand it’s also important to maintain your brand image and message across all marketing and communications materials that can engage your target audience.
2- Register Your Business:
After choosing a brand name you will need to register your business and obtain any necessary licenses. To register a business in Pakistan, you will need to take the following steps
- Get registered with FBR and obtain NTN (National Tax Number)
- Register with SSCP
- Register with the Local Chamber of Commerce
It is recommended that you consult with a lawyer or accountant for specific advice on how to register your business name in your city.
3- Create your e-commerce website:
After you have taken care of the business mission, and legal aspects, the next step is to get your online presence and it begins with developing your eCommerce website. A website can be developed in WordPress or Shopify.
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4- Build Your Inventory and Create Product Listings:
Once the website is set up, the next step is to populate the store with products. You will need to upload inventory that includes product name, description, price, pictures, and item number (quantity) available in stock. Next, you’ll need to arrange logistics such as branded packaging, warehousing, inventory management, and shipping.
5- Marketing & Advertisement:
The last piece of the puzzle is to identify the marketing and advertisement budget and avenues. In Pakistan, people use Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube a lot. It won’t be a bad idea to head to these social media platforms and start advertising your online store.
When you select creatives for social media paid campaigns, videos work best. People like to see what they want to buy and when a brand story is attached to the creatives, the decision-making gets a lot easier. In Pakistan, celebrity endorsement in videos works best for eCommerce. It is important to keep a track of return on investment (ROI) when spending money on advertisement.
The best and fastest paid advertisement approach is Google PPC. When you choose Google for driving traffic to your website for your business-related keywords, people only come to o your website when they want to buy or at least they are interested in your business because they’ve come to your website after searching a keyword on Google. Your sponsored listing is shown on the very top which prompts users to click on the link and land on your landing page.
The landing page must have these three elements
- Facebook Pixel
- Email Opt-In Form
- Social Media Icons
The following video explains the whole process in detail.
What is the cost involved in launching an e-commerce business?
Website development and hosting: eCommerce requires a website and the website needs to be built on a reliable hosting company that is fast, scalable, and has 99% uptime with 24/7 support available. The website and hosting cost vary from product to product.
Product sourcing and inventory: This cost depends on the number of products you want to have in your warehouse (inventory). Also, product sourcing avenues are the most cost intuitive.
Marketing and advertising: A typical marketing and advertisement budget in Pakistan is set aside from $1000 to $10,000. The budget is spent on
- Google PPC
- Facebook Advertisement
- TIKTOK Ads
- Instagram Promotion
- YouTube Advertisements
Starting an e-Commerce business in Pakistan is not difficult. It is encouraged on many fronts including the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Information and Technology, and aspiring e-Commerce businesses are encouraged with lots of facilities, and mentorship. You can identify your niche, build an online store and start selling after marketing your business.