Internet technology has prompted significant changes in numerous aspects of society and human life also in shopping culture. An important phenomenon, surrounding the human life as a continuum, is shopping by the internet or through e-commerce. Experts believe that shopping through the internet has interconnections with many disciplines like; law, economics, psychology, and marketing. Many academicians, researching in various disciplines, studied this problem. However, shopping through the internet involves technological, social, economical, behavioral, and educational dimensions. They have also recorded that online shopping is becoming a suitable way to make all purchases, whether we are at home in office, or in a different country. This is particularly true for developed states, where every store has its website customers can buy from.
The trend of online shopping is recently different in the Asian region as well, particularly in Pakistan and India. India seems to have adopted the trend much faster as against to Pakistan. For Pakistan, however, the adoption of such trends has been tougher. People usually don’t trust the products being displayed in front of them. As a consequence, we can’t expect them to buy online and be satisfied with it. However, the youth of Pakistan is open-minded and has slowly embraced online shopping, even if it’s ordering food online. People, in the country, have been victims of scams both online and on mobile applications, so it’s understandable why they look suspiciously at such an activity. This recent trends have led researchers to believe that age isn’t the only factor causing the youth to turn towards online shopping. Other factors are also involved in making online shopping one of the fastest growing markets in the country, which is greatly helping the IT industry in Pakistan to flourish.
Experts recorded that internet users in Pakistan have been buying and selling items since the days of infuriatingly slow dial-up connections. But it is only in the last few decades that online shopping has transformed consumer habits and revolutionised businesses globally.
The Government of Pakistan presently underscored that the subject of e-commerce is ever-evolving and Pakistan has taken its first step in the right direction and this policy framework will bear fruits in near future and will prove to be a game changer for the country in the longer run. As per statistics, e-commerce sales during 2017 were Rs 20.7 billion, which increased by 93.7 percent to Rs 40.1 billion during 2018. Compared to this, the e-commerce sales in India is recorded $ 33 billion, while in China it reached at $ 1,526 billion. In the developed states the e-commerce sales are very high. Under the policy, there is a gradual shift of cash-on-delivery (CoD) payment method to digital payments, with a time line of September 2022 for payments beyond Rs 10,000. Furthermore, efforts will be made to convert all CoD payments into digital payments preferably within 10 years (2029). Presently, 60 percent e-commerce transactions by value are post-paid CoD transactions. Furthermore, it will be compulsory for all e-businesses, having sales of more than Rs 1 million per annum to register with Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).
The Prime Minister observed that approximately 64 percent of Pakistan’s population is under the age of 29 and is thus more open to embrace technology. This is good news that online trend is growing. But where we celebrated reduced carbon emissions, rental cost cutting for retailers, availability of cheap deals and the ease of swift transactions as favorable byproducts of online marketplaces — long and complicated procedures, shipping delays, the risk of fraud and misleading practices have put a damper on e-commerce optimism. The dynamics of online businesses in Pakistan have changed in the last few years. Today we are fortunate enough to have online marketplaces with: proper payment systems in place affordable ready-made solutions to start an online store and the help of service providers to start a business on the internet. Not only that, users have been building successful businesses utilizing nothing but their personal profiles on major social media platforms with absolutely zero technical know-how of website building.
It is also important to note that online stores today have some semblance of transparency and are more personalized. Unlike other stores in the past, e-stores are now more reachable than ever; people operating behind online stores are known, their offices are public knowledge and they organize frequent press conferences. But there also exists mistrust between buyers and sellers because of careless product entries, misleading pricing and other online services collapsing. Firms invest plenty to gain sizable business but often fail to counter campaigns that damage the company’s reputation and the reputation of e-commerce as a whole.
- Provide appropriate training to vendors to present their products properly.
- Enhance customer service also after sale services.
- Allow customers to report a seller directly and easily to the concerned management.
- Take necessary action toward incompetent vendors.
- Strict action needs to be taken against scamming sellers under cyber-crime, and affected buyers should be compensated on a priority basis.
- Stay in constant communication with other stores, share information regarding guilty sellers and discourage others from walking the same path by making the information public.