Promoting e-Commerce: Exploring Opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises in Pakistan
Author: Rabia Tabassum


In the age of technologies and the fourth industrial revolution, e-commerce is playing positive role of introducing the digital shift in businesses. Recent pandemic is one of the major factors behind this shift. Pakistan is also among the emerging e-commerce markets holding 37 position in the list of large e-commerce markets with the annual growth of 6%. Emerging digital landscape, the market potential of e-commerce along with the increasing inclination of the enterprises and the consumers to shift towards the e-commerce further adds to the motivation behind this research in terms of finding the barriers that exist in Pakistan to promote e-commerce and finding suggestions to address these limitations. Considering the importance and contribution of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the economy of Pakistan, this research focused SMEs. Mixed method is used for this research through a quantitative survey of 750 SMEs across Pakistan, key informant interviews, and expert discussions/webinars to supplement the quantitative results of the survey and to capture the point of policy makers as well as experts. Capacity constraints to adopt ecommerce, consumers’ behavior and lack of trust, digital divide, lack of access to finance, issues related to the logistics, digital payments, and cross-border trade facilitation are the key issues reported by the SMEs and identified by the experts. Furthermore, extensive efforts and initiatives by the government as well as the private sector are in progress related to these issues, however there is long way to go to expedite these efforts as explained in this research.

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Keywords : capacity building, customers’ rights, digitalization, e-commerce, e-commerce platforms, logistics, small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
Supervisor: Khalid Mehmood

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