Some common words we are hearing these days. Stay home, work from home, close shops, and take classes online and what else is not shutdown in these lockdown days. Let’s discuss one point here and try to focus on it. Close shops. There are few big markets in Lahore, Pakistan and in them all of those businesses are family owned. From Grandfather to Son and then inherited to Grandson and it will go on. Out of 1000 there is hardly one who becomes a brand. I am referring to Ichra Bazar, Shah Alam Market, Azam Market, Mughal Pura Bazar and other big markets. In addition for a better understanding consider small markets as well.
Having a family business, I had always advised my Dad to have the products available online that they are selling at retail shop in Ichra Bazar. But he has not found a need for it. Similarly, I had asked my Dad’s friends Uncle Haji to have their products online but they are busy with their on wholesale shop sales at Shah Alam Market. They had never focused on online sales, maybe an extra income every month as a starter.
A business man always meant to be futuristic and must be prepared for the hard times.
There is a friend of mine Shahryar, who had done his BBA from a prestigious institute and having a shop of wholesale unstitched cloth in Azam Market. He had tried to convince his Dad Uncle Ali, a lot of times for the online business or to look for registration of their shop on some big online stores. Uncle Ali had inherited the business from his Dad and so on the cycle would go on. He had never focused on such platforms or to start their own online stores and in these lockdown days, they are at home.
I had shared three stories of three persons of three different markets. What they are doing right now? How much profit they are making now? Is there any need of such products these days that are not categorized under the category of the needs? What about the lockdown and police? Are they avoiding to start online to save the costs of advertisements, photographers etc.? Are they not literate/educated enough? Let’s have a look on all these situations concisely.
All of them are right now at home and maybe cursing the government or playing big boss and thinking of themselves as Salman Khan (LOL). But main thing is they are not having sort of work to do. Now let’s move to the next point that is Profit? What? A big NO! They can make money only when they open their shops. They had their shops filled with Maaal (Inventory) but how anyone can buy it? Is there any need of such products? Yes there is a need of it. People are at their home they are earning by doing work from home (WFH). So, where they have to spend their money after groceries all done. One very important point, I would like to share is there is Easter (Christian’s Religious Event) on its way and every shop keeper is waiting for it as they want to have their Chand Raat. But now how? Let me add that my Dad had received calls from some of such customers who want to know that if they can provide them with their products or send them some pictures. And you can also check for the 23rd March sale on every brand.
How is it possible during lockdown situation? They can gather one week orders and then go to their shop keep the shutter down get the ordered products and then pack them, close the shop again and then go delivery service office and then send them. Is it difficult to do so? But for this there must be an Online Business of yours. Many of our traditional business men are afraid of the online businesses and many of them avoid them. Why? Cost is one big factor. Cameramen capturing your products and telling you: “yeh shot kamal aya hai, islie hii hum photoshoot ka 10k lete hain” and all the Owner Uncle’s thinking: “Das Hazar Diyan sirf tasweeraan? ROFL! I have seen such cases many times. As it is an inherited business so, many of them are not able to understand the phenomena of why to go online? But these lockdown situations maybe have shown them its need.
A fair piece of advice to all reading this article. It is now an age of internet. Whatever is on internet is within the people pocket. Now days, brands are earning as they had already made their efforts for online stores, but what about our local retailers? They are always going to suffer? There is a need of hour to innovate their ways of earnings. There is a big market to capture or there is a gap in a market that Entrepreneurs can fill up.
If you like reading it or facing similar struggle, do comment or suggest. Share it with your friends/family/colleagues.
Author: Omair Nadeem
Rotaract Club of Lahore
Author: Omair Nadeem
Rotaract Club of Lahore