Amazon will soon add Pakistan to its sellers’ list: adviser

Published May 7, 2021
A pilot project was launched with the help of Pakistani embassy in Washington. — AP/File
A pilot project was launched with the help of Pakistani embassy in Washington. — AP/File

• Imran calls it a great development
• Exporters will be able to sell products through the online platform

ISLAMABAD: The new era of e-commerce boom is set to start for Pakistan as e-commerce giant Amazon has decided in principle to add the country to its sellers’ list within next few days, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Razak Dawood announced on Thursday.

Pakistan’s addition to Amazon’s sellers’ list will create opportunities for the exporters to sell their products through the platform. The platform offers Amazon’s 3 P model which serves brand owners (third party relationship — retailers sell directly to buyers through the marketplace) while 1 P model is for mass producers (marketplace acts as retailers while brand is wholesale supplier), who want to produce for Amazon brand items.

Some of the Pakistani companies are already selling on Amazon from their overseas offices, but the country’s inclusion in the sellers’ list will increase opportunities for small and medium enterprises. The move will help promote more businesses and online buyers will get reach to Pakistani brands as they will be able to access all major markets through Amazon.

In the wake of this decision, Amazon will open seller’s registration of Pakistani companies very soon.

Amazon makes about $300-400 billion sales every year. China and India are major users of the platform for selling goods from the region.

Amazon is a consumer-centric marketplace, therefore customers’ reviews and satisfaction level are extremely important.

Business to consumer (B2C) and business to business and consumers (B2B2C) cross-border e-commerce is a new form of business that will now become popular in Pakistan.

Pakistani products available for sale on Amazon are mostly textile, sports, leather and surgical goods. However, Pakistan is not in the Amazon’s sellers list and Pakistani companies have to register from their offices outside the country or they are producing for other brands available on Amazon.

Official sources told Dawn that the Amazon decision for registration of Pakistani companies was the outcome of serious efforts of the commerce ministry and Pakistani missions in Washington and Los Angeles. A pilot project was launched with the help of Pakistani embassy in Washington.

Commerce adviser Dawood said in a tweet: “We have finally made it. Amazon will be adding Pakistan to its sellers’ List within a few days. We have been engaged with Amazon since last year and now it’s happening.

“It is a great opportunity for our youth, SMEs and women entrepreneurs. An important milestone of e-Commerce policy achieved has been through teamwork by many people across the globe.”

Explaining further, the sources said major difference after being added to the sellers’ list would be that Pakistani companies would be able to create IDs using their Pakistani details, including Pakistani banks. Moreover, SMEs youth and women entrepreneurs will have great opportunities to connect with the global market.

Regionally, since March 2020, more than half of new sellers in the United States are from China. China-based sellers represented 75 per cent of new sellers on Amazon in January, according to a report by Marketplace Pulse. This marks a significant increase from 47pc in the previous year.

India is a small contributor to Amazon’s total sales right now, but it’s set to become an important growth driver for the US e-commerce giant. As many as 100,000 sellers are registered from India and exporting products worth more than $2bn.

Significance of online market places such as Amazon has increased due to Covid-19 pandemic because online shopping has become a necessity.

According to the commerce ministry, private sector logistics companies have an opportunity to scale up businesses and develop international partnerships. The Pak Post is also having automation and preparing itself for parcel deliveries.

This is also a business opportunity for marketing service providers to develop Pakistani brands, content and quality pictures for Pakistani sellers. The Intellectual Property Organisation has also been taken onboard to speed up the brand registration process.

A senior official of the commerce ministry said Pakistan had a good manufacturing base and was already providing quality products to Europe and North America. There is a huge population from the sub-continent in these areas who wanted products from their region, including spices, clothes etc.

According to the official, besides traditional exports of textiles, sports goods, surgical and leather products, there are also business opportunities for marketing services providers and these can help Pakistani companies to build their own brands, content and effective representation on Amazon and similar other platforms.

Last year in June, the Ministry of Commerce had said it had shared the names of 38 exporters with Amazon for registration to promote trade and explore new markets for Pakistani exporters.

All work started on global connectivity after the e-commerce policy was approved by the federal cabinet at the end of 2019. The National e-Commerce Council (NeCC), a body of representatives from public and private sectors, was constituted to effectively implement the policy.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan welcomed the development. In a tweet, he said: “A great development as Amazon has finally approved that our sellers can export their goods through their system. Amazon starting operations in Pak will open opportunities for our youth as it will enable a new breed of young men & women entrepreneurs to join the export market.”

Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2021

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