As digital adoption increases, more than 5,500 SMEs transition towards ecommerce
The COVID19 pandemic has accelerated the rate of digital adoption in Pakistan with consumers turning towards ecommerce platforms as a solution as they practice social distancing at home and reduce visits to physical stores. Small and medium enterprises – a critical sector of Pakistan’s economy – have also opted to shift towards digital operations in the midst of economic downturn, government-imposed restrictions on movement and a drop in consumer demand in the offline market.
In April, Daraz launched the Humqadam program to help revive Pakistan’s economy and safeguard the SME sector from the brunt of the pandemic’s impact. Investing PKR 80 million, Daraz invited SMEs from across Pakistan to set up their online shops on the platform and has provided them with complete business and financial support, including the waiver of commission fees for the months of May and June, dedicated one-on-one support, free business consultations, and free education and training through Daraz University. The program was designed to help all SMEs that have operated as physical businesses for generations and would encounter logistical and technical challenges while moving towards ecommerce.
It has provided financial and business support to 45,000 businesses across the country and, since the launch of the Humqadam program, 5,514 SMEs from across 88 cities in Pakistan – Toba Tek Singh, Sheikhupura, Gujrat, Sahiwal, Bahawalpur, Sialkot, Swat and Rahim Yar Khan- have set up their digital ventures on Daraz.
More than 1,600 businesses from Karachi and nearly 1,500 from Lahore have transitioned to the ecommerce platform. The businesses are supplying products across a wide range of categories including groceries, health and beauty, home appliances, fashion, mobiles and tablets, motors and jewellery. The ecommerce industry has witnessed an increase in customer demand since the outbreak of the pandemic, not just for essential products but also for non-essentials. Businesses transitioning towards online operations are able to benefit from this accelerated rate of digital adoption and reliance on digital services and a number of them have reported a significant boost int their sales since joining Daraz.