The outbreak of Covid 19 in the beginning of year 2020 affected the global economy including Pakistan’s economy as well. Major victim of it has been Pakistan’s small and medium sized enterprises with the exception of some tech companies. Many small businesses simply had to close their doors and will likely never reopen. During this outbreak, SMEs have been severely affected and they are facing several issues such as financial, supply chain disruption, decrease in demand, reduction in sales and profit etc. besides, over 83% of these businesses were neither prepared nor had any plan to handle such a situation. Pakistan lost one-third of its revenue and exports dropped by 50% during lockdown period but fortunately the lockdown period didn’t last for long else there could be massive disaster to Pakistan’s economy.
This pandemic gave us a lesson that businesses are supposed to be treated as living enterprises. Respond to induce, align with emerging trends and anticipate changes in customer’s connectivity and interactions. Businesses need to be agile and should be ready to embrace change and manage it effectively, regardless of its scale. In short, managing the economy of the future will require a different style of doing business. Businesses need to be equipped to respond to emerging threats and opportunities rapidly.
Digital factor has occupied the core of business functioning. There are so many opportunities available for businesses in this digital era. One of the biggest indicators of opportunity lies in the degree of smartphone penetration within the country. Over half of the country’s population is considered youth and the other half are also highly connected with at least one smartphone per person. There are already existing digital systems for shopping payments etc. and all of them are widely adopted as well. Now, after COVID19 many Pakistani companies prefer e-commerce. Although various online stores are working in Pakistan, from shoes, makeup, jewellery to medicine & groceries, everything is easily available online but in e-commerce there are two main issues:
One is that the orders aren’t timely delivered to the customers and secondly the received product is usually not as good in quality as it is shown in the pictures.
Due to all these issues, many people prefer to visit shops rather than placing an online order or prefer to place an online order from a place where they have done shopping before. And due to such issues, many SMEs suffer who are running their businesses online only or don’t have enough finance to have an actual store.
Keeping the above things in mind, Mr. Azim Adil Sheikh introduced the platform of Etimad Online to reduce inflation and alleviate poverty from Pakistan by promoting local products. Etimad Online recently launched Etimad Online Groceries, which has introduced non-traditional retailing for the first time in Pakistan. It has opened over 50 stores across Karachi with an aim to have more than 200 such stores across Sindh by June 2021. Mr. Azim has a vision to connect the local farmers and manufacturers directly to the consumers so the middle man who keeps the commission in each product and artificial price rise could be controlled and that’s why Etimad Online Groceries is providing products in lower than utility stores costs.
Now, Etimad Online is introducing a meticulously designed Mall for those manufacturers who don’t have access to the masses to showcase their products. Etimad Mall is being built in the area of Saddar in Karachi which is the business center and is closed to all the hotel chains where the local and international tourists and business people stay normally. With almost 10,000 sqyd space, Etimad Mall will be showcasing the local products which will also get space of digital or live display everyday on Etimad Mall E-commerce platform so it could reach both national and international market.
Etimad mall will be taking care of the logistics needs and the quality control department will make sure that the quality of each product is up to the mark. Etimad Mall will provide a platform to all the local manufacturers to scale up their businesses specially the SMEs who are good manufacturers but still couldn’t reach the market properly. It will train all the manufacturers coming under its umbrella on how to balance demand and supply without compromising the quality of product.
According to Mr. Omer Hashmi & Mrs. Tehreem Adil Sheikh who will be running this overall project, Etimad Online group has a mission to promote local products nationally and internationally. For example as we all know that Pakistani surgical equipment are famous all around the world but still we don’t find a Pakistani surgical brand everywhere. Same goes with Footballs which we all know that in the Football World Cup, all the Footballs are made in Pakistan but still there is no Pakistani brand with international presence for that. Mr. Omer Hashmi & Mrs. Tehreem Sheikh believe that this is because our local brands don’t think globally and they don’t even try to market their products internationally. Many people feel it is because our locally made products are not that good in quality as compared to international products but that is not true, our manufacturers and producers just need a platform to guide them properly and that’s why Etimad Mall is being introduced through which we will market our local products internationally so the world know how good our workforce and manufacturers are.