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.  




Comments

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.

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