E-Commerce is buying and selling of goods or services including digital products through electronic transactions conducted via the internet or other computer-mediated (online communication) networks. All fundamentals of life are now available at the doorstep. In return, all the payments, bill clearance and money transfer are done through credit cards, PayPal, easy paisa and online bank accounts. This has enabled the public to stay connected with the world on a single touch of cellphone or computer.
Online shopping in Pakistan is generally picking up pace with the introduction of platforms such as Alibaba and Darazpk. However, the trend of online shopping has suddenly spiked due to lockdown as people are observing social distancing. Public is preferring online shopping for edible and essential items.
E-trading website Daraz, a subsidiary of Alibaba group, also saw a rise in online orders mainly in two categories i-e D-Fresh, the department for fruits and vegetables and D-Mart, the department for other groceries. To facilitate public, Daraz.com website made a complementary announcement of providing an extensive collection of digital sahulat, including mobile top-ups, gaming vouchers and Netflix subscriptions which are sent electronically within 24 hours to keep people engaged at home.
Business executives point out that online stores have limited their product range because people are worried and are spending only on essential items, as there is no clarity about the duration of the lockdown. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Pakistan, online orders received through online application soared by 70% which reflects a major change in customer preferences.
This surge is likely to prevail even after pandemic is over, creating new opportunities in the E-commerce industry. It will complement “Kamyab Jawan program” by absorbing a skillful young workforce. It will also encourage youth in launching various initiatives for promoting digital marketing, capacity building and e-commerce enterprises. This will create employment opportunities through digital connectivity, especially in remote KP areas by raising awareness, training and financing.
KP Province has already reduced GST to 5% for e-commerce enterprises as an incentive to attract more e-Commerce companies in the Province. Provincial government is working on the draft of the new policy that will prove a milestone in the sustainable economic development of the province.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment and Trade, Policy 2020 focus is to guarantee maximum simplification of procedure and granting of various incentives to investors. Policy framework attempts to pave way for holistic growth of e-commerce in Pakistan by creating an enabling environment in which enterprises have equal opportunity to grow steadily. Such steps are the need of hour and was long due, hopefully, this will be the start of new dawn in e-commerce business within KP.