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E-commerce is global in nature. Connected users from all over the world will resort to online shopping if businesses can offer safe, user-friendly online shopping experience. A recent international ecommerce survey conducted by Pitney Bowes has crossed my desktop that points out major preferences that can be mirrored anywhere in the world. As per the findings, “71 per cent international internet users look for competitive prices, 42 per cent want a broad selection of products and services online and some 35 per cent opt online-shopping for an easy checkout and other savings; deals, free shipping and taxing costs”.

In any market based economy, prices convey all of the information that consumers require to make learned decisions. On both the production and consumption sides, market prices act as coordinating signals. In order to make informed decisions about what to offer and how, businesses need to know the prices of inputs. Similarly, consumers need to know the prices of the goods and services they might buy so that they can make appropriate decisions. The internet offers a very advanced means to communicate prices that were never possible before.

The ability to access information and share it instantly has empowered consumers. In the process, consumers also get influenced by reviews, ask questions and find out the best prices. This is not pitting businesses against one another in a death match of ever lowering prices. In fact, this is the price transparency on the internet that has become one of the newest challenges in online markets. Local businesses need to adapt and learn to manage information accordingly, and more importantly, learn to handle price transparency working within this new online paradigm.

Internet is also helping consumers who want a broad selection of products and services in more than one ways. Neatly laid out, user friendly and functional ecommerce websites allows businesses to assemble, aggregate, normalise, and distribute product information and more. On the other hand, websites also provide potential buyers with an interactive interface that offers a multimedia representation of the product information as well as retrieval, classification, ordering services and innovative shopping incentives. Savvy shoppers navigate and analyse product information analytically selecting suitable products to buy.

E-commerce websites that don’t accommodate international shoppers are losing most of their potential sales. Accommodation goes much beyond shipping internationally. Businesses need to address such issues with their products and not wait until shoppers check out. The whole world does not work like we do here.

Websites intended to target foreign countries should be internationalized by offering physical features of the products, language and cultural peculiarities and differences duly localised for target markets in foreign countries.

While shopping may be an international hobby, each country requires specific types of communication in a specific way. The ease and speed of online checkouts, the ability to track an order, easy to understand return policy and taxing requirements are also important to consumers who shop online. Analysts say that availability of ‘PayPal’ alone could increase Pakistan ecommerce by 25 per cent. If it is not convenient, why should they be shopping online in the first place?

Given today’s international economic situation, international operation is definitely not out of reach. International e-commerce is even more enticing as Pakistan can offer products that are very attractive and affordable for international consumers. However, to be successful online, businesses need to ensure they can offer a simple and seamless online shopping experience, and have a clear understanding of consumers’ purchasing, shipping and communications preferences in each market. Only then Pakistan e-commerce can figure out at a global scale.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, June 05, 2017,

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