Pakistan shortlists companies for first ever registration with online retail giant Amazon
Statesman Report
KARACHI: Pakistan has forwarded a shortlist of 38 exporters to international e-commerce giant Amazon for registration, in a bid to boost trade and exports in the global market, the ministry of commerce said.
At this time, Amazon does not allow sellers to register directly from Pakistan in its global marketplace, and any retailers selling Pakistani goods have to do so via shadow accounts registered in other countries.
“Pakistani brand names will be up on Amazon straight from Pakistan,” Aisha Humera, a spokesperson for the commerce ministry, told Arab News.
“Currently, Pakistani made sellers and products are available on Amazon but those sellers and brands are registered from other countries. This [development] will enable Pakistani sellers to directly get registered from Pakistan and have interaction with buyers,” the spokesperson said.
The new list of forwarded exporters includes Pakistani companies belonging to the sports, surgical goods and textile sectors. After a trial run, registration will be expanded to other companies. “The registration of these 38 companies will not be done at once rather the process will be carried out in batches. Initially this will be a trial period and at the end of this, it will be opened for other companies,” Humera said, and added the trial period could run for a year.
“The selection of the companies was made on their export performance,” she said.
“These companies have financial muscle, production capacity, the best quality control, and the capacity to spend on marketing, and offer discounts.”
Pakistan’s e-commerce industry was estimated to stand at Rs99 billion in fiscal year FY18 as compared to Rs51.8 billion in FY17, showing growth of 92 percent, according to the State Bank of Pakistan.
But Internet retail in Pakistan remains at a nascent stage with modest online sales despite 166 million cellular subscribers, 80 million 3G/4G subscribers, 82 million broadband subscribers, and a total tele-density of over 78 percent, data from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority shows. Approaching Amazon was part of the country’s first ever e-commerce policy approved in October 2019.
Exporters say the registration at Amazon will allow local manufacturers to enhance their capacity and quality to meet international standards and services.
“This is like a first drop of rain,” Khalil ur Rehman, a surgical instruments’ exporter told Arab News.
“Amazon is a major portal where Pakistan will be directly present and through direct interaction with end-customers, Pakistani manufacturers will benefit,” he said.
“Due to reviews and customer feedback, you can’t afford to stay there for long with inferior products and services.”
Restrictions placed on mobility and assembly as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the world has resulted in many companies expanding their supply chains locally and globally, with focus shifting from brick-and-mortar stores to a greater emphasis on online shopping.
Prominent Pakistani-American businessmen have lauded the move.
“Amazon stocking facilities are massive and very automated. Amazon is able to ship next-day delivery from its centers. What is not in their centers, they get from their supplier members and ship in a few days,” Pervaiz Lodhie, a Los Angeles based former member of the US-Pakistan Business Council told Arab News via telephone.
“Guaranteed deliveries, guaranteed quality, zero repeat mistakes and zero excuses,” Lodhie warned.
“Otherwise this experience will be a failure.”