(E)Id Commerce


  • 19 Aug - 25 Aug, 2017
  • Mariam Khan
  • Feature

You hear the doorbell ringing. As you walk towards the door to answer, a natural tune is heard – one that is being formed as you approach the door – a bleat, not in sync with a moo.

A delivery guy this time isn’t at the door to hand over a box of pizza. What awaits you is a live white goat, accompanied by a black-and-white-skinned cow without you having to step out of your four walls; all power to the magical touch screen.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of eBay, Devin Wenig, Pakistan is one of the world’s rapidly growing e-commerce markets.

“It’s the fastest growing markets we have around the world. Anywhere where wealth is growing and technology is being adopted, e-commerce is being adopted like crazy,” he said in a Facebook Live session on the World Economic Forum page.

E-commerce is a trend that has taken the shape of a megatrend. According to the World Bank blogs, “Mobile phone usage drives the adoption of e-commerce, and with global smartphone penetration expected to hit 50% by early 2018, analysts believe e-commerce will follow suit. Moreover, the network effect is a phenomenon whereby once a critical mass of consumers and/or corporations use a technology, their peers take notice of the technology's increasing utility and also choose to use it [and this] will further drive the adoption of e-commerce worldwide. This was seen in the global smartphone market in recent years and the Internet in years prior.”

A young, evolving market is what the local industry can be referred to as. A report issued by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in February marked out that 38.269 million users were using 3G and 4G by January end with the number of mobile phone users reaching the 137.095 million mark.

Let us now come back to the sacrificial animals, which have landed at your doorstep after making an online journey. As Eid ul-Adha approaches, Facebook newsfeeds are sprouting with photos of animals along with videos of people with their sacrificial animals, and of course something that cannot be missed – the selfies!

This season has a set regimen per household – mostly the men without missing out on the younger lot, hit the cattle/goat markets that are set up around various spots in the city – the largest one being at Sohrab Goth in Karachi.

But ever since handheld devices have become popular with the denizens, with affordable data plans, why not purchase a sacrificial animal virtually? Saving time, energy and not to forget the stench of the markets.

According to Muhammad Humair of Online Cattle Market, “In the past two to three years the online business has increased.” He has been running the website for the past nine years. “Having an online business experience helped me, despite my family opposing the idea of me starting this website,” he shares. Unlike certain Facebook pages which do not share much details like prices of the animals, those who visit Online Cattle Market have a different experience. “We provide maximum details to our customers,” remarks Humair who has a local as well as international clientele. “Our clients can book an animal a month before too and we can deliver it as per their needs. At times people want us to sacrifice the animals on their behalf too; in that case, we share snapshots after the sacrifice has been made.”

Ahmed Surmawala, of Surmawala Farms, points out the change in marketing dynamics of current times. “With marketing via SMS, email and social media, now, people prefer going through Facebook pages before physically visiting the cattle market at Super Highway,” shares Ahmed who partakes in the cattle business for leisure. “Our page is active from Ramzan and is daily updated,” he elaborates. But visitors of the page cannot find prices mentioned. “We want the customers to physically visit the stall as 90 per cent only inquire out of curiosity,” he renders. But Ahmed points out, “Because of Facebook lots of people have started visiting us in the market for many don’t sleep without going through their Facebook newsfeeds.”

Feroze Ayub of Surti Cattle Farm disagrees with Humair’s notion of people placing their trust online and placing orders. “People surely react to the pictures we post on social media but they do like to see the animal in flesh too, and that makes them visit our stall,” says Feroze who runs the business along with his nephew.

Bakra Online, an Islamabad based online portal, is another website which takes orders online. It is run by Yasir, who “after living abroad felt the need for a website of this sort”.

“All the specifics are mentioned on the website which makes it easier for our clients to make the purchase. Weight is what every client inquires about before they decide to buy an animal online,” he states. Being in the capital, Yasir is currently delivering animals to Rawalpindi, Lahore and the city where he is located. “Last year we delivered 100 orders; as for now, people are more in the analysing phase; it is in the last 10 days that we have serious buyers,” he discloses.

As Eid rounds the corner, your social media feeds will be overflowing with advertisements of multiple cattle markets. The evolving dynamics of the trade has made it easy for people to purchase through their handheld devices with just a click, making all the planning of heading out to faraway fields housing sacrificial animals, quite unnecessary.

A click followed by a swift transfer of money can land your perfect buy to your doorstep. What’s next? Make the guest(s) feel at home.