With population exceeding 180 million people, Pakistan is the world’s 36th largest nation in terms of area. Invaded and conquered by different empires and dynasties, this historical region has been home to several ancient cultures. The remnants of their knowledge and business practices have become a part of our country’s culture and philosophy on trade and investment which is inevitably contributing to the development of the entrepreneurship of the nation.
Online marketplace has much to offer in Pakistan. Its development will contribute considerably to the economic, political and cultural potential of the country. Even in the presence of several socio-economic constrictors, there exists a significant opportunity to promote the online marketing strategies.
Online marketplaces are a type of multi-channel e-commerce where a product is provided by multiple third parties whereas the transactions are processed by the marketplace operators. With an increased exposure to technology, the probability of developing favorable attitudes towards new shopping channels has also risen. Now customers directly find products by visiting the websites of the retailer or by searching among alternative vendors with the help of shopping search engines. Most online marketplaces use shopping cart soft wares to enable the customer to accumulate multiple items and also to adjust quantities just like physically filling a shopping cart in a conventional store. At most places, some big stores allow customers to sign up for a permanent online account so that information needs to be entered once. Once the transaction is complete, the consumer receives an e-mail conformation.
Various other capabilities of online marketplace include auctioning, ordering, catalogs, advertisements, trading exchange functionality and capabilities such as RFQ, RFI and RFP.
Pakistan is a country with an immense opportunity for online marketing but with weak support system and the development hurdles faced by businesses is considerably slowing down the cycle of change. Even being an emerging online economy, our country still lacks the opportunities for innovation due to absence of sound legal framework and regulations that encourage advancement. Unfortunately the government stance on improving the education system, provision of platforms for knowledge accumulation and creation of a level playing field for international entrepreneurs appears to be rather passive.
Online marketplaces provide huge employment prospects all over the world. Pakistan being a developing nation is in an absolute need of finding more and more job opportunities for its unemployed skilled workforce. According to an estimate, Pakistan will need 36 million more jobs in the next ten years due to expected population increase by 44% over the next 20 years. These jobs can only be created rapidly through online marketing. The lack of support and encouragement for online marketing saps the enthusiasm of the young freelancers as well as startup businesses for the inevitable of the migration of the talent abroad for those who can afford it leaving many of those who cannot, despondent.
Investment support for innovations by government in this sector is crucial for online marketplace to prosper. This will not only aid the employment opportunities but it will also develop a more empowered and enlightened population. There is a fear associated with taking risks in the online marketing which is attributed to political, economic and security atmosphere of the country but the government policies and frameworks can help in mounting the process of creative destruction.