Small businesses in Pakistan are increasingly looking at international markets as new trading partners
Karachi, February 07, 2013 (PPI-OT): Small businesses in Pakistan are increasingly looking at international markets as new trading partners, and turning to the help of e-commerce to do so. Cautious buyers from those markets, however, may still harbour little trust and do not feel safe trading with suppliers abroad. In an effort to squelch concerns with global trade, Alibaba.com, the world’s largest B2B e-commerce platform, has been making ongoing enhancements to improve the trading environment for its international users.
Irfan Haider Awan, CEO for Pearl Shine Group International (PSGI), the strategic partner of Alibaba.com in Pakistan, said, “It’s a win-win scenario for Pakistani SMEs as Alibaba.com continues to take steps to help buyers make more informed decisions and offer additional protection, still allowing serious suppliers to gain exposure and earn buyers’ trust.”
By tightening its membership standards and working to purge the site of deceptive sellers, Alibaba.com shifted its business strategy away from aggressive member acquisition in a bid to stress quality over quantity.
“We’ve been listening to our members and looking for every opportunity to improve the user experience,” says Timothy Leung, Head of Global Supplier Development and Sales, Alibaba.com. “This will continue to be our focus over the next year, even if it means losing revenue and members for the long-term goal of enhancing trust in e-commerce and global trade. In this case, the end result justifies the means.”
Alibaba.com’s ongoing trust and safety initiatives may potentially lead to a slowdown in user growth or even a decline in number of registered users, but the e-commerce company says it will live up to quality not quantity.
An important trust and safety measure in 2012 was the introduction of Verified Membership (VM) available for suppliers in more than 30 countries, including Pakistan. PSGI and Alibaba.com teamed up in a strategic partnership to help verify local suppliers and bring their businesses up in search rankings.
The program encourages non-paying suppliers to undergo Alibaba.com’s authentication and verification and, in return, rank higher in searches over unverified suppliers. Buyers abroad can also view the VM logo on their Alibaba.com profile which helps differentiate VM suppliers from others.
“The introduction of the Verified Membership and other trust and safety-related initiatives are part of our ongoing efforts to raise the overall standard of our supplier members, establish trust between buyers and suppliers, and ultimately promote more trade activities on our platform,” said Leung.
Enhancements to Alibaba.com’s platform to increase trust and safety have been ongoing for a number of years, but 2012 saw these efforts bear fruit. For example, less than 0.007% of users reported fraudulent activity in 2012, compared with less than 0.03% in 2011. In Q4 2012, the number of fraud complaints lodged against Alibaba.com paying members was down approximately 60% compared with the same quarter in 2011. Also noteworthy is that only 190 Gold Supplier members were removed from the Alibaba.com platform in 2012 in spite of tightened anti-fraud measures, down from 419 in 2011 and 2,024 in 2010. The website also began posting information on the track record of suppliers on the site, such as whether they have been involved in recent trade disputes with customers over product quality or service.
As a result of these measures, Alibaba.com’s international business continues to grow, which bodes well for small businesses in Pakistan. The number of organic, unique visitors accessing Alibaba.com from outside China grew 33% in the fourth quarter of 2012.
For more information, contact:
Mr. Basharat Mustafa,
Pearl Shine Group International (PSGI)
Park Avenue, 9th floor,