Tons of business opportunities are there on cyber space in Pakistan: Waleed Ahmad

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Waleed Ahmad is a student of MS (Environmental Engineering) in NUST. He is an avid researcher having knack of entrepreneurship and exploring and incepting new business ideas. He started his first commercial venture alertpayshop.info back in 2009 and now he is the owner of one of the foremost online shopping site jabrondeals.com. He entails rich experience and is now a seasoned cyber entrepreneur. He shared his thoughts with Technology Times in a recent interview


Brief us about yourself, professional highlights and your interests?


I completed my graduation in Agricultural Engineering in year 2012 whereas my passion for entrepreneurship dates back to my childhood days as I was always inspired by the liberty of own business which drove me to brainstorm and search for innovative ideas which I could translate into a real business. The inception of alertpayshop.info in year 2009 was the outcome of efforts. I kept on looking for new ideas and kept luster of my online ventures intact by introduction of various innovative ideas time to time. I also continued my studies along with it and currently I am a student of MS (Environmental Engineering) in NUST. I am overly optimistic about my entrepreneurial goals that have fetched benefits to me beyond my expectations.


Your academic background is of Agriculture Engineering, how did you get idea to launch an e-commerce site being and entirely different genre?


The academic background and passion can be run parallel without overlapping. I reiterate that entrepreneurship was always my passion and keeping in view the rising potential of cyber business in Pakistan, I found it an opportunity to sneak in and establish myself as a businessman. Although, I started from a very small scale but the gradual growth was visible over the time and I didnt abandon it and carried on with perseverance; this is the main reason I am still surviving on cyber space.


What are the operational pre requisites to run an e-commerce site?


There are various pre requisites and checks that are mandatory to be ensured before practically jumping onto the bandwagon of cyber business. The main factors are the volume of customers you intend to target, the commodity you are planning to sell and its market demand. The cyber venture is an open forum and you can offer any product or service to the consumers and more efforts you put in to boost your cyber visibility, the more customers/consumers can try you out but their frequent ordering to your site depends on your quality of product or service that will prompt him to revisit you. So, a quality assurance focus is also a must and customer feedback is really important for improvement of your products/services. I am of the view that a physical outlet must be available to showcase your products to local customers.


Is it difficult to filter out the serious and malicious cyber elements as they hurt cyber space and shake customers trust?


I vividly believe that filtering is not required and scenario is not as much serious as you think; the cyber space in Pakistan is quiet mature now and every cyber business owner tends to give quality products and service to sustain and penetrate in the market therefore short term benefits from malicious elements eliminate themselves from this cyber ecosystem by default.


How much important is consumer behavior; in cyber business?


I believe number of people opting online shopping are increasing day by day. My overall experience of dealing customers in Pakistan is very good but there are always exceptional cases where customer need customized solutions and products and even argue over payment terms but maturity is gradually coming. The consumer behavior is really important and you have to give services keeping in view the behavior and responsiveness of the customers and chances of business growth will be boosted this way. The Pakistani cyber market has great potential for business opportunities but is still lagging behind giant markets like in US and UK.


What is distinct feature of your website or services you offer?


In the beginning our product profile only contained branded items whereas on this day we are working to create our own band with the name RAO. The designing and manufacturing of the product is solely done by us. The distinct feature is that we are supporting an international currency which is the perfect money to buy items from our website. This thing would help a lot of customers in the Pakistan who have money in Perfect money but do not know how to cash out them. They can purchase items from us. We always believe that innovation and improvisation brings value addition in the products and it may take a little time from customer end to accept it but once its clicked you`re done because it may become viral these days. So, opportunities are there and distinguished features can certainly aid in your business development that is why we focus on innovation although it is a bit tricky thing in the start.


Is IT knowledge mandatory for cyber entrepreneur or any other professional and layman can do that?


I certainly believe that Information Technology knowledge is a great advantage for any online business owner but terming it mandatory is still debatable. It is not obligatory to have an IT degree to start an online business but knowledge in the IT field will be a good ad-on and can incorporate IT to optimize his online business through various techniques. The layman must have knowledge about the basic business model i.e. products and services, payment methods, operational requisites, target market, customer dealing, maintenance of the site. So, IT knowledge is an allied thing and basic understanding must be there but not mandatory.


Cyber Security is also a big concern in Pakistan, especially frauds, malpractices cases are in excess due to lack of awareness? Is it also hurts your business activity as people are cautious making payments and always have “fraud” thing in their mind?


Because of lack or inadequate cyber security and transaction security protocols a customer always has some grayish ideas running in back of the mind that whether he will get the desired item or not therefore reliable e-payment solutions like Cod Cash are good addition and will help to reverse the situation.


How important is SandT development and nurturing of entrepreneurs in Pakistan?


The solutions of major challenges of Pakistan lie in SandT development. The unemployment issues can be restricted by pushing youth towards entrepreneurship and equipping them with basic tech knowledge and business fundamental knowledge. The incubators in certain universities like NUST are really commendable steps in this regard and I firmly believe that academia is working on those lines and in coming years a layer of skilled entrepreneurs will rise up on different forums.


How much potential is there to start online business in Pakistan?


There are immense opportunities on cyber space to start a online business. The cyber market of Pakistan is still under-explored a there are huge business prospects. Every day new website is launched offering various products and services. It takes bit of time to penetrate into the market. The emergence of cyber shopping trends in Pakistan has changed the social dynamics a bit as well and people feel comfortable in online shopping because they get doorstep solution instead of roaming around.


What are your comments about Technology Times and Tech TV?


Technology Times is an unprecedented effort to promote and disseminate scientific advancements in the country. It is creating SandT awareness amongst masses and I urge you to continue this noble cause because it is inspiring youth to come towards science and technology. I believe people in Pakistan are under-informed about technology and science and whatever good is happening in Pakistan remains unheard and lacks recognition; this type of ventures and newspapers are eminent to disseminate the scientific information to promote the researchers and scientists as well as technologists of Pakistan. The positive projection of Pakistan is necessary even in image building of Pakistan. I congratulate Technology Times team and wish good luck for all their endeavors.


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Published in: Volume 06 Issue 32

Short Link: http://www.technologytimes.pk/?p=14034