Monday, May 24, 2021

E-Commerce: Will Amazon Help Boost Pakistan's Exports?

Global e-commerce giant Amazon has recently added several dozen Pakistani exporters to its approved list, according to Eric Broussard, vice president of Amazon International Seller Services. "We are excited to announce that as of today, Pakistani entrepreneurs are eligible to sell on Amazon. We are eager to work with Pakistan's dynamic business community, including small and medium-sized sellers and help connect them with customers around the globe," he said.   

Amazon Global Marketplace. Source: Wikipedia


Amazon e-commerce platform has global reach. As of March 2021, Amazon Marketplace operates and sells in 18 countries, mostly in advanced economies of Europe, Japan and North America as well as in emerging markets like Brazil, China, India, Arab Gulf states and Turkey. It boasts 200 million members for its Amazon Prime program that offers fast free shipping and other benefits, including Prime Video streaming for a fixed annual fee. The company hosts millions of sellers from over 100 countries on Amazon Marketplace. Over 7,000 Amazon-listed sellers from Pakistan's neighbor India have exported goods worth over $3 billion since 2015.    

It has taken the combined effort of thousands of Indian sellers more than 5 years to achieve $3 billion in cumulative sales, indicating that it will take Pakistani sellers a lot of hard work and time  to grow their business. But Amazon e-commerce platform does offer great potential for Pakistani manufacturers and merchants to grow their sales. 

Amazon currently owns about 33% stake in Pakistani e-tailer Clicky.pk through its acquisition in 2017 of Dubai-based online retailer Souq.  Souq acquired this stake in the Pakistani company in late 2016. Amazon operates in South Korea through a partnership with SK Telecom

There is already a cottage industry of gig workers that has sprung up in Pakistan to support merchants who have been unofficially selling products on Amazon Marketplace. These Pakistani merchants have registered from countries such as the United Kingdom which are already on Amazon's approved list.

Pakistani gig workers include Amazon Virtual Assistants. These are freelancers providing services such as customer call centers, administrative tasks, fulfillment, and web development. Online freelance marketplace Fiverr lists over 7,000 Pakistanis who advertise themselves as Amazon Virtual Assistants, more than from any other country. 

To become successful on Amazon Marketplace, Pakistani exporters will need to select and learn a lot about their target countries/markets and customer preferences. They will have to design, build or choose products that are in great demand in their target markets. 

Initially, Pakistani exporters will likely need to establish a significant inventory of fast-selling products at Amazon warehouses in the United States and use FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) service to provide quick delivery to Amazon Prime customers. Pakistan exporters will also have to ensure quality to satisfy these customers and avoid negative online reviews. 

Listing of Pakistani sellers on a global e-commerce platform is good news but it is only the first step toward becoming successful exporters. A lot more investment, attention and hard work will be necessary to realize its full potential.  




11 comments:

Ahmed said...

Sir it is mashallah a good news but the question is that why is Pakistan so late in taking decisions ?

Sir the regional office of Facebook is in India .
Google has its office in India .


PayPal already has its service in India . Offcourse such initiatives are not taken without the permission of the government's of the country .

Why aren't their any regional offices of these major and great companies in Pakistan ?

Ahmed said...

Sir the question is that how will Pakistan make progress in the field of IT ,if these well known companies like Google ,Facebook and Microsoft don't invest in Pakistan ?

Pls note that when these internationally famous companies invest their money in a country then international media gives coverage to such news and this way the image of the country improves internationally .

This is the main reason why India is having a good image in the world in terms of IT . When these internationally recognized companies invest in India ,India is highlighted in the media ,and this is how when people around the world watch these news on the media channels ,it builds the positive image of India in the minds and hearts of the people in different countries .

Pakistan must adopt the same policy and should allow these companies to invest in Pakistan if Pakistani authorities want to improve the image of the country internationally .

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

Indians are very smart when it comes to marketing and presentation . It is unfortunate that PAKISTAN is lagging behind in this area . India is way ahead of Pakistan in presentation and marketing .

Indians know very well that their positive image internationally will not just allow FDI(Foreign Direct Investment ) to flow inside India but it will also increase tourism in India because when a country has a good image internationally and doesn't have security issues then foreign tourists and travellers visit that country .

When Indian lobbies and government was busy building positive image of India ,their RAW and other agents were working against national interest of Pakistan .

Do you know Sir when ever foreign investors and businessmen show interest to invest in Pakistan ,immediately these Indians jump in and try to dissuade these foreign investors and businessmen from investing in Pakistan ,they say to these investors and businessmen that PAKISTAN is not an ideal place for investment .

Also when ever any foreigner sees beautiful pics of northern areas of Pakistan on Facebook and on other social networking sites ,and when these foreigners show interest to visit Pakistan ,immediately these Indian trolls jump in and try to dissuade these foreigners from visiting Pakistan .

This clearly shows how much these Indians are having influence on social networking sites and how they use their influence to harm Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Jabran Niaz, a Pakistani national, has set a new precedent in digital marketplace ranking among top 5 sellers on Amazon. According to Startup Pakistan, Niaz’s company Utopia Deals has an online presence across 5 continents and 11 countries selling more than 20 million products worth $360 million a year.


https://nayadaur.tv/2021/05/a-store-from-pakistan-ranks-to-top-5-on-amazon/


https://www.amazon.com/s?k=utopia+towels&crid=3R6G5XV01U085&sprefix=utopia+%2Caps%2C232&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_1_7

Niaz’s Utopia Deals offers products for home interior like bedding, kitchen accessories, towels and other such items that are used in home improvement. The company has over 6 million customers worldwide.

It is worth noting that e-Commerce giant Amazon recently added Pakistan to its approved sellers’ list, and some Pakistani companies already selling on Amazon were doing so through overseas offices. Pakistan’s listing as an approved seller will give great opportunities to small and medium enterprises as well as to exporters for tapping into the vast online marketplace.

Riaz Haq said...

Amazon has recently announced that it will now allow Pakistan sellers to sell their products on Amazon. This great change makes it a right time for any Pakistan seller to build their brand to maximize their reach and exposure internationally.


https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/840834-amazon-and-the-economy

It has been reported that almost 70 percent of textile products are taken from Pakistan by other sellers from different regions. So, the fact that Pakistan provides one of the best textiles in the world will help local businesses get a boost directly from now on. This will not only benefit sale of textiles but other commodities too. However, in the garment industry, Pakistan may face some issues in breaking into the biggest fashion brands as it competes with Bangladesh, India, China, and Thailand. Pakistan is still a minor player and will need to majorly improve to ensure a better position.

Some of the best products one can sell on Amazon include textiles, electronics, toys & games, books, video games, clothing, shoes, jewelry, fitness items, cameras, home equipment, kitchen utensils, handtools, and much more. If you are planning to start being a Pakistan seller on Amazon, you better choose from any of these niches. With the variety of sellers on Amazon, you just need to have unique products to stand out from the crowd.

Before choosing a specific niche, you need to know what kind of products you can source easily and what you have enough knowledge about. This is because you need to have great products to prevent your seller account from being closed down because of bad products/ reviews. If you start a reputable store it will help build your customer pool and lead to more revenue.

Some of the most in-demand business models you can choose from are Private Label Wholesale, Reselling, Dropshipping, and handmade. Choose a fulfillment methos. It can either be fulfillment by Amazon, in which as a seller you ship to Amazon’s warehouse and they sell the product directly to the customer. Or it can be fulfillment by the merchant where you store your products and send them directly to your customers.

To succeed as an Amazon seller from Pakistan, you need to first study competitors from your specific niche. Get to know what they are doing to be on top of the selling list. Look at the best sellers as well as the best selling products. Do market research before settling for a certain product because if there is low demand, you will go at a loss when no one is willing to buy it, and so it will stay in the warehouse for long. You can use a combined product listing to invite more buyers. To initiate, start with few products, and then with time you can scale up and add more products as you grow. You can start with a unique brand that will help you stand out from the other sellers. To rank better use great product images, optimized titles, and descriptions. This will help your product to be easily visible.

On top of that, you can utilize the Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) that help you create ads for your products so that users can see your products under products related to this item. This brings great exposure. However, you should still be vigilant while selling items on Amazon. If you provide the wrong information, your account can easily be blocked.

Pakistan’s government had engaged Amazon last year about the issue, and it has finally succeeded. This great move will lead to favorable outcomes for the youth as well as small and medium enterprises to sell on the Amazon platform. This will add Pakistan sellers into the international market.

Riaz Haq said...

In a major development for local brands, Pakistani food products will now be available at American retail giant, Kroger Company.

https://www.brecorder.com/news/40096897

The news was shared by Advisor to Prime Minister on Trade and Development Abdul Razak Dawood in a tweet post on Tuesday. “The Ministry of Commerce is pleased to inform that Pakistani food products are now available at the Kroger Co. USA,” tweeted Dawood, while sharing a picture of Pakistani food items put on display in the retail store.

The development could pave way for other Pakistani brands to make inroads into the US retail market, the US retail sales figures in 2020 stood at $5.58 trillion. Dawood thanked the US retail giant for placing its confidence in Pakistan’s products. “Our food brands will now be available in these stores,” he said.

Founded by Bernard Kroger in 1883 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kroger Company is the US largest supermarket by revenue, and the second-largest general retailer behind Walmart. In 2019, the retailer recorded a revenue of $121.2 billion.

Dawood, however, stressed upon local exporters to emphasize on brand development in order to approach other international markets. “In order to further enhance our exports, we have to be attentive to brand development. Our local brands are still not recognized in the world market and hence more effort is required by our exporters,” said Dawood

Riaz Haq said...

USA, UK, China top three destinations of Pakistani exports in 10 months


https://dunyanews.tv/en/Business/604156-USA-UK-China-top-three-destinations-of-Pakistani-exports-in-10-months

United States of America (USA) remained the top export destinations of the Pakistani products during the first ten months of financial year (2020-21), followed by United Kingdom (UK) and China.

Total exports to the USA during July-April (2020-21) were recorded at US $ 4019.722 million against the exports of US $ 3368.090 million during July-April (2019-20), showing growth of 19.34 percent, according to State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

This was followed by UK, wherein Pakistan exported goods worth US $ 1691.314 million against the exports of US $ 1386.999 million last year, showing an increase of 21.94 percent.

China was the at third top export destination, where Pakistan exported goods worth US $ 1640.629 million during the months under review against the exports of US $1411.004 million during last year, showing growth of 16.27 percent, SBP data revealed.

Among other countries, Pakistani exports to Germany stood at US $ 1245.122 million against US $1116.232 million during last year, showing increase of 11.54 percent while the exports to UAE were recorded at US $ 1215.939 million against US $ 1377.287 million last year, the data revealed.

During July-April (2020-21), the exports to Holland were recorded at US $922.819 million against US $850.421 million whereas the exports to Afghanistan stood at US $ 828.727 million against US $809.685 million.

Pakistan’s exports to Italy were recorded at $629.917 million against the exports of US $ 642.617 million while the exports to Spain were recorded at US $ 668.773 million against US $751.606 million last year.

The exports to Bangladesh stood at US $497.396 million against US $ 599.658 million.

Similarly, the exports to France during the months under review were recorded at US $ 361.699 million against US $ 358.620 million while the exports to Saudi Arabia stood at US $ 401.643 million against US $ 388.610 million.

Pakistan’s exports to Turkey were recorded at US $218.069 million during the current year compared to US $240.196 million last year whereas the exports to Canada stood at US $253.928 million against US $ 231.242 million, to Poland US $ 247.839 million against US $ 218.654 million whereas the exports to Australia stood at US $ 216.939 million during the current year against US $ 170.321 million during last year.

Overall Pakistan’s exports to other countries witnessed growth of 6.54 percent in ten months, from $19.703 billion to $20.992 billion, the SBP data showed.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistani Marketplace For Small Stores Tajir Raises $17 Million In A Series A Round Led By Kleiner Perkins


Tajir had previously raised a $1.8 million seed round in the summer of last year and since then, revenue has increased by 10x. The company allows stores to purchase over 1,000 stock-keeping units via its platform, and it has been adding approximately 100 SKUs/month to continuously expand selection.

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Pakistani B2B marketplace for mom and pop stores Tajir, cofounded by brothers Babar and Ismail Khan, announced today that it has raised $17 million in a Series A round led by Kleiner Perkins. Other investors in the round include YC Continuity, AAVCF, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Flexport, Golden Gate Ventures, Liberty City Ventures, VentureSouq, and angel investors including Under 30 honoree and CEO of Figma Dylan Field, and Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen.


https://www.forbes.com/sites/igorbosilkovski/2021/06/02/pakistani-marketplace-for-small-stores-tajir-raises-17-million-in-a-series-a-round-led-by-kleiner-perkins/

The Lahore, Pakistan-based Tajir’s customers are mom and pop stores which struggle to purchase inventory.

“When consumers walk into small mom and pop stores they often find the products they want out of stock,” Babar, who serves as the company’s CEO, says. “Stores are often unable to provide the brands that consumers actually want to buy since retail is so fragmented in Pakistan.”

According to him, shop owners often spend hours to make all the orders, and sometimes they would have to close their stores, or find a friend or relative to go to the wholesaler physically —a pattern that would repeat too often and would take too much time.

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Tajir lets stores place orders for inventory through its app and allows customers to compare the prices of goods, purchase inventory and have access to 24/7 ordering with a next day delivery.

“We’re doing for stores in Pakistan what Amazon did for consumers in the U.S.,” Babar says.

Ismail Khan, the CTO of the company, says that 90% of the retail economy in Pakistan flows through mom and pop stores.

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“These are small, difficult to access, it’s a problem for brands to deliver in a reliable way.”

Tajir primarily sells convenient store items, packaged consumer products, like biscuits, soft drinks, home and personal care items, soaps, shampoos etc. The company generates revenue through taking a percentage of the orders.

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Prior to cofounding Tajir, the Khan brothers, whose father owned a distribution business in Pakistan, both received U.S. diplomas. Babar got his Bachelor degree from Tufts and an MBA from Berkeley, while Ismail got a computer science degree from Brown. With Tajir, they participated in Y Combinator’s winter class of 2020.

Mamoon Hamid, partner at Kleiner Perkins (who is himself originally from Pakistan), who led the round says that given Pakistan’s prevalent bodega model, what Tajir was doing was very compelling.

“Their software and mission to improve that supply chain and availability of products and pricing and digitizing that process made a ton of sense,” Hamid says. “I thought that would be the first foray for a company to make an attempt at doing a lot more to be a consumer company, not just a wholesale company.”

Riaz Haq said...

Data compiled by the Ministry of Commerce showed on Friday, Pakistan’s exports of 13 sectors including value-added textiles posted double-digit growth in the 11 months of current fiscal year (11MFY21) compared to the same period a year ago.

https://www.paktribune.com/news-details/double-digit-growth-in-pakistan-export

Growth in exports of value-added sectors contributed to an increase in overall exports from the sectors. One of the reasons for growth in these sectors is due to low-base of last year when export-oriented industries remained closed due to the Covid-19 lockdown and cancellation of orders from international buyers.

Exports of home textile products were up by 27pc to $3.642bn in 11MFY21 against $2.879bn over the last year, followed by a 16pc increase in men’s garments to $3.505bn against $3.019bn last year. An increase of 33pc in women garments to $646.49m was noted against $486.52m over the corresponding months of last year.

Similarly, in the vale-added leather sector, exports of leather apparel posed a growth of 11pc to $584.02m in 11MFY21 against $528.02m over the corresponding months of last year, followed by an increase of 57pc in exports of jerseys, pullovers and cardigans to $530.14m against $337.39m in the same period in FY20.

Pakistan is one of the main suppliers of global surgical instruments. However, these instruments are re-marketed from western countries with famous brands. As a result, the export value of these products remain very less. The export of surgical instruments posted a growth of 17pc to $398.88m in 11MFY21 against $341.51m over the last year, followed by 23pc in gloves to $285.13m against $232.44m over the last year.

The export of pharmaceutical products posted growth of 27pc to $240.04m against $188.47m last year and worn clothing by 33pc to $228.47m against $171.18m over the last year.

Export proceeds of copper and articles thereof posted growth of 44pc to $463.17m between July to May 2021 against $321.95m over the last year, followed by 14pc in t-shirts to$453.4m against $398.79m last year, 15pc in made-up articles of textile materials to $432.47m against $377.24m of last year and 38pc in pantyhose, stockings, socks to $417.41m against $302.67m over the last year.

Riaz Haq said...

South #Punjab set to get its first #Amazon facility. A #warehouse for #ecommerce platform will be set up at GPO #Multan, #Pakistan. The facility will provide local handmade and cultural products access to the international market. #exports https://www.dawn.com/news/1634399

Pakistan Post is set to inaugurate south Punjab’s first Amazon Fulfilment and Facilitation Centre (AFFC) in Multan after Eidul Azha. The facility will provide local handmade and cultural products access to the international market.

One-and-a-half months ago, Commerce Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood had announced that e-commerce giant Amazon had added Pakistan to its sellers’ list. Following the development, Pakistani entrepreneurs became eligible to sell on the platform. Small & Medium Enterprises (SME), youth and women entrepreneurs will have ample opportunities to connect with the global market via the Amazon platform.

A warehouse of e-commerce platform will be set up at GPO Multan

The platform offers Amazon’s 3P model (third party relationship) where retailers sell directly to buyers through the marketplace which serves brand owners. Under Amazon’s 1P model, the marketplace acts as retailers while a brand is the wholesale supplier for mass producers who want to produce for Amazon brand items.

Post Master General (PMG) Zulfiqar Husnain said the opportunity would bring dynamism to the country’s manufacturing sector to compete in the international market.


“Most of the work has been completed on the AFFC at the General Post Office Dera Adda and it would be functional after Eidul Azha. An Amazon warehouse would also be established at GPO Multan. Work was also in progress to set up Amazon centers with warehouses in Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Muzaffargarh, Sahiwal and other districts of south Punjab,” he added.

In this regard, the Pakistan Post officials also held a meeting with the Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) to jointly work to promote local products in the international market.

MCCI president Khawja Salahuddin and others were present in the meeting to discuss working with Amazon.

Mr Husnain said Pakistan Post, MCCI and Amazon should collaborate to increase economic growth in the SME sector. “We would provide state-of-the-art facilities to the business community. Craftsmen would be given the opportunity to promote their products at international level by registering it on Amazon,” he added.

Riaz Haq said...

How Shein Became the Chinese Apparel Maker American Teens Love

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-shein-became-the-chinese-apparel-maker-american-teens-love-11627896600


In the span of a few years, Chinese fast-fashion firm Shein, pronounced She-in, has developed a loyal following among American teens and 20-somethings with low prices, an ever-changing inventory, and partnerships with Instagram influencers and celebrities like Katy Perry and Lil Nas X.

“I would say 90% of my clothes come from Shein,” said Jennifer Cobo, a 20-year-old in Ashburn, Va., who started shopping on the app in 2018. Since then, she has converted others in her family into Shein fans, including her 51-year-old father, who buys his jeans from the app.

“Now my family buys as much as I do,” said Ms. Cobo, who estimates that she spends an average of $250 every month on the app.

Third-party suppliers say Shein has a sophisticated supply chain where orders are distributed to thousands of factories in China, enabling Shein to pump out new products at low prices.

Less clear are the company’s sales or profit. Shein is privately held and doesn’t disclose its financial figures.

In social-media posts, Shein had said sales exceeded $3 billion in 2019 and have at least doubled annually. However, the post revealing 2019 sales data is no longer online. Shein said the post was removed because it is updating public posts and data about the company. It declined to comment on whether the 2019 sales figure was accurate.

The quality of Shein’s products has also been questioned by apparel-industry insiders and consumers, in online posts and interviews.

Shein is backed by investors at Sequoia Capital China, and has offices in Guangzhou and Singapore, the company said. Shein has no physical stores and exports to customers in more than 220 countries, but it doesn’t sell to mainland China, where competition among low-price apparel makers is intense.

Like other Chinese brands that have recently broken through with American consumers—such as short-video sensation TikTok, created by Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd.—Shein’s Chinese roots aren’t immediately obvious to consumers. On its app and website, Shein doesn’t promote where it is based, but the company takes advantage of its home country’s strengths.

The fast-fashion brand leverages China’s well-developed garment-manufacturing industry and efficient logistics system, enabling it to sell online and ship to customers around the world at low cost. Shein relies on thousands of third-party garment makers mostly in the southern province of Guangdong, the heart of China’s manufacturing and export hub, according to Shein suppliers and the company’s recruitment ads to factories.

Orders are cranked out in small batches of 100 to 500 pieces, with some factories following patterns provided by Shein and others pitching their own designs, suppliers say. This system lets the app maintain an enormous inventory that features thousands of new products daily, including handbags and pet accessories.

One supplier estimates that at least 5,000 factories were working directly with the brand. In Panyu district, where Shein’s main Guangzhou office is, “Almost every company supplies Shein,” said Jin Ping, a designer at a loungewear company whose main client is Shein.

Shein’s large number of third-party suppliers has made competition especially fierce, with some suppliers having to lower their prices to win orders, Ms. Jin said. Still, the brand has won over factories with its punctual monthly payments and large volume of orders, the 25-year-old said, estimating that her firm makes less than $1 per item. A Shein spokesman said its purchasing model ensures fair pricing for all suppliers.