Easypay: Fueling E-Commerce 2.0 for Pakistan
Switch on any Indian Television channel today, and you’ll be bombarded with advertisements from the likes of Flipkart, Myntra, Amazon, Jabong, MakeMyTrip, Yatra, and Goibibo to name a few. It seems that people in India only ever buy online! But that just goes to illustrate what India has managed to accomplish in a few years: a USD 14 billion annual e-commerce industry!
In Pakistan, we’ve had sites like HomeShopping.pk and Shophive.com around for a couple of years before the entry of the Rocket Internet sites like Daraz.pk and Kaymu.pk. However, the e-commerce industry in Pakistan is still only at USD 30 million. Peanuts compared to where India is, even on a per capita basis.
There are many reasons to why Pakistan lags behind; from customer awareness to internet access, to customer protection regulations to secure payment mechanisms. But there are initial signs that things have started to change and e-commerce may finally take up in Pakistan like never before.
With over 30 million internet users and 15 million mobile data users, Pakistan is witnessing an Internet boom. The many affordable internet bundle packages offered by the Telecom industry coupled with the increase in 3G coverage and the rise in smartphone users have made Pakistanis more tech-savvy and internet-friendly. Initiatives like internet.org have also helped build awareness and trust in using the Internet.
However, probably the biggest foundation stone for E-commerce in this country has been a secure, convenient and instant payment mechanism like Easypay. Introduced by Easypaisa, Pakistan’s first and largest Branchless Banking service, in April of this year, Easypay promises to revolutionize E-Commerce in Pakistan. Many E-Commerce merchants have already signed up (homeshopping.pk, pakwheels.com, tohfay.com, deal today.pk and onlinebazaar.pk) with dozens more in the integration process.
One of the biggest challenges faced by online merchants and customers has been the mode of payment. Both parties needed a payment mechanism that was instant, secure and easy to use. Due to the lack of online payment options, most merchants resorted to Cash on Delivery (CoD) as the only alternative. However, CoD suffers from a number of problems; increased cost for the merchants due to a high rejection rate and hence increased costs for the customers as charges are often passed on. Additionally, the settlement between the courier services and merchants take 14- 30 days and CoD coverage is limited to less than 250 cities of Pakistan. Customers also find it irksome to stay at home expecting a delivery, or holding the exact amount for the delivery person.
It is no wonder then that Easypay uptake is rapidly increasing due to its multiple benefits. For customers, Easypay provides multiples payment options including paying through their Easypaisa Mobile Account, or at any of the 65,000 Easypaisa shops across 800 cities in Pakistan, or through their Visa or MasterCard credit or debit cards safely and with no added cost through the Easypay platform.
With no signup fee for merchants and low service charges, Easypay provides an easy to integrate API bundle that gets merchant websites up and running within hours. All merchant settlements are done in a single account with real-time reporting and analytics available for the Merchants. As a holistic payment solution, Easypay can serve the over 7 million Easypaisa Mobile Accounts in the country, any person at the 65,000 Easypaisa shops open till late at night and also on weekends, as well as any locally issued or internationally issued credit or debit card.
With convenient, secure and instant payments in place, Pakistan is truly about to witness the dawn of the second generation of E-Commerce in the country; E-Commerce 2.0. Without really having to travel, Pakistanis will soon be shopping every day from the comfort of their homes, with enough trust to make payments before delivery. Many women from rural areas will setup their online business, selling handmade ornaments and crafts nationwide. E-commerce will ideally favor the women entrepreneurs in Pakistan; working from home and supporting their families. Through Easypay, Easypaisa will be directly contributing to the economic development of Pakistan and empower societies across the country.