Abrar Ahmed is a dignified cyber entrepreneur exhibiting rich experience in cyber business development. He is the owner of Webiz Media and hamariweb.com. Abrar started several online ventures including KFoods.com, PakBiz.com, UrduWire.com, and ShopRex.com. Abrar, shared his journey with Technology Times in an interview recently
Tell us briefly about yourself and ventures you feat in?
I am a serial entrepreneur and launched several successful online portals in Pakistan. My online portals are generating over 20 million monthly traffic now. I earlier had 7 years of experience in back end office of US e-retailing store. In 2007, I launched my own company named as Webiz Media. I proved myself as true online marketing expert in short span. I am also owner of Hamariweb.com. My online shopping portal ShopRex.com is the sister concern project of Hamariweb.com.
How you plunge yourself into cyber entrepreneurship?
7 years working for US online stores as backend office in Karachi was the major motive to do similar ventures in Pakistan. In 2007, there were very few quality website could be found here. So, me and my team of seven energetic IT people at that time decided to develop our own online entities that fulfill the requirement of our own people.
Resulting, Hamariweb was the first project and then by serial we launched KFoods.com (a food and recipe web portal), PakBiz.com (B2B web portal), UrduWire.com (first ever Urdu News Meta search engine), and in 2012 we launched ShopRex.com now it is being manage under the experienced team head Abdul Rehman Mani.
Where do you see yourself after 5 years?
Pakistan has a great potential by all the ways, a country of 200 million people and 70% considered as a young population that is highest numbers among some of few countries. Simply, world is moving towards the online or digital platform and we also have to move in a similar way as sooner or later.
There is no doubt that earlier people although have some difficulties but they also have great potential of growth with industry growth. Therefore we are optimist that ShopRex will grow in a faster mode every year and we consider among top e-commerce marketplace of Pakistan in next 5 years.
How do you identify the potential of online business?
Again, we know that internet is speedily easing the life of people and everyone looking to adopt this to save the time and make easier life. When we talk about Pakistan, still very few online stores exist here with limitation of products and choice.
ShopRex is not selling direct, we first provide the information of product and price (of over 20000 products data) and then try to offer the contact information of particular seller either it is online or physical seller. Most of Pakistani buyers take much time in search the products from brands to seller and best price to any offer, so strategically we are doing first job at the moment.
What was the turning point of your career that led you to take shoprex.com to the level it attains today?
My carrier started with the job of selling online products for the much matured internet market of the world. So, I was always keen to implement those similar practices here in Pakistan. In, 2011, first we launched online direct selling category at Hamariweb.com, but very soon we realized that online selling is still not easier from product selection to shipment and from profitability to security risk.
After shipping more than 200 orders, we closed shipment and launched ShopRex as a Price info web portal that is going successful since its launching.
How shoprex.com is different from other online shopping portals and how it has changed the trends of shopping in Pakistan?
ShopRex is primarily focusing to offer the legitimate information about the verity of products and related prices as well as genuine seller those are offering these products. Potential buyer feel convenient to find their desired product as first finding with price either by a seller or average price in a particular market.
ShopRex team regularly conduct the market survey for several categories of products and update every day on the website. If a product searcher wants to know the price of any available product in Pakistan, then potential buyer may call directly to Shoprex support team and they will find the products price and available market for the product seeker.
Currently in Pakistan, only ShopRex is doing this job where other marketplaces are offering those product who selling it directly either their own or by selling partner. So they do carry limited number of products and their information comparing with 30,000 products data at Shoprex.com
How did you manage to cope with the difficulties that hindered you in attaining your objectives, both professionally and psychologically?
“Business is the game of risk.” This is very common saying that every business entrepreneur must have to know it. So, you must find the variable conditions in any field of business and must have to be prepared for any uncertain condition in business.
Online Shopping is just in crawling age in our country and you may find the condition that you couldn’t project in your business plan. It is necessary that you must prepare for any sort of unexpected challenge. First, we always prepare mentally and psychologically for these sorts of challenges as well as we always do a group discussion towards either achieving the target or resolving any challenges as we found.
Most of team members here are in online business from 8 to 14 years and their experience is provide best guidance to this team. All the Shoprex team also believes firmly about the future growth in this category, so this is also a source of consistency in their work.
What is the part of initial capital in success of any business?
It is never easy to start a business for anyone. But you may find that most of international successful online ventures had been started with young college age with a limited amount of investment. By passing an initial time of evaluation then they got help with legitimate funding companies for their faster growth.
One best example is from our neighbor India as SnapDeal that had started by his co-founder Kunal Bahl from his Bedroom PC and it is touching now US $ 3 Billion business entity in just 4 years. Young people must give a value to innovation, change, openness, honesty and ownership drives them to press for greater success.
What are the necessary tools of success in cyber business?
I suppose that “Passion” is the greatest tool of success in young people but oppositely “in-experience” threat always stands in their front. So, what is the best recommendation of success to young people?
I recommend that young entrepreneur must do a SWOT analysis first regarding their skills to find and differentiate their best qualities and weaknesses as well. Then, plan accordingly to improve further their strength and potential opportunities and reduce weaknesses that ultimately dilute the threats.
Hardworking in a well-defined way is also a must carrying skill and without it nothing can be achieve. I always recommend to young people about getting a mentorship from legitimate people or forum that reduces the failure risk because experience is main ingredient of among the key factors of success.
What future of cyber entrepreneur do you see in developing countries like Pakistan?
Comparing with the world, Pakistan is far behind to get the advantage of cyber opportunities. I can refer our neighbor country where you can find several websites of each category and in Pakistan there is hard to find and several categories have none of a single website. We can “translate” it as “opportunity” for young entrepreneur to work in their own way of their choice of category.
Similarly, online shopping is meanwhile in an early age and still has several types of opportunities. But it is true that opportunities come with certain issues as every ecommerce entrepreneur is facing here. These difficulties not only associate with entrepreneur but also as a whole system that can be find both sides from seller to buyer. From seller prospective, online payment and secured delivery are major concerns. From Buyer end, product quality and secured delivery of ordered products is always a concern.
But bottom line is that world is moving very fast to technology world and we cant stay too behind. Our young entrepreneur have great potential to accelerate Pakistan with their hardworking in a right direction.
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