If you have ever tried to get some thing online you it would be hard to assume that you donâ€™t know of beliscity.com In my knowledge (which might be flawed) they are one of the older online retailers, now the space being crowded with a lot of others and some like shophive.com giving some serious competition.
So how did beliscity come into being? what were the original business model? I got a chance to talk to about his venture.
Here is a peek into his mind, the most fascinating thing about the whole background is the adaptability, how he turned around his business from one thing to other based on change of environment, for all young entrepreneur there are real jems in his answer specially the ones struggling to break out or effected by any type of down period.
Also the other most inspiring thing is his love for country and his un shaken believe in its growth, and he not only believes it but projects like http://www.iownpakistan.com/ shows that he does not back down when time comes for action.
G n W> Beliscity is one of the very first online retailers, how did this idea occur to you? Also do we have a sizable internet userbase for making such a venture successful?
Abid Beli> Itâ€™s a long story but Iâ€™ll try to make it short, Beliscity.com started with online internet hours selling concept as I am running a company with the name of Belis netcity with 36 internet companies dealership & 6 internet companies distribution ship & Beliscity.com very comprehensive website for internet users to select internet packages but in Year 2000 lots of Internet companies closed because of Bandwidth prices low down by PTCL & because of that I face a big loss & closed all operations and sit back at home with my only system & Beliscity.com website, In 2001 I started selling few products through Beliscity.com as well as VOIP Devices & Cards like Yapjack, Komodo, IPStar & Net2phone, Then I add laptops & few unique products on it which is not easily available in the market. After 6months I change complete business module of Beliscity.com from internet hours selling to hardware selling. I have lots of my internet hours customer email data so I used it for new Beliscity.com & gradually its become a Biggest online retail shop in 2years period.
G n W> You also have your warehouses listed, how much of our current consumer still prefer to touch a commodity before buying, what is the ratio of online vs over the shelf sales ?
Abid Beli> We were open our display in 2005 at Sasi Arcade Clifton for our those customer who want to see products before buying but we closed it in 2008 because of few reasons. When I started that business then yes people want to see the product first but always use to say them that buy from market as Beliscity is purely online retail shop & we are not giving demo of our products, Now a days as we have good customer data base and also getting referral business so now 15 to 20% people call us & said that we want to see product first otherwise our 70 to 80% customer buy from us without touch or see any product physically.
G n W> Do you think most of our consumers still are vary of providing their banking details (Credit card etc) to an online entity, do you see this hesitation going away ?
Abid Beli> We are not accepting credit cards online, Our payment system is very easy & convenient, We offer Cash on delivery & Credit card charge facility for our karachi & Lahore customer, Our riders deliver the products & collect cash from them or charge their card on the spot, For other cities we offered online banking deposit system. We are going to offer very soon COD & Credit card charge facility all over Pakistan inshallah
G n W> How much of a hurdle in business growth is caused by absence of an online money solution (Paypal) ?
Abid Beli> Paypal is not giving seller protection for Pakistan shipping so we are not using it for our Pakistan customers yes we are loosing our 20 to 25% business because of online money solution but at least we are in peace & not facing any fraud issues.
G n W> With these newer money transfers solution like EasyPaisa coming in do you see an exponential growth in transactions or will it not change any thing?
Abid Beli> Yes we are in touch with them & very soon Easypaisa option available on Beliscity.com
G n W> We are seeing a steady growth in number of Online Retailers, are all of them competing for an existing number of customers or is the customer base also increasing?
Abid Beli> I think we need still more online retail shop & just an small advice for all of them that please its not a subzi mandi ( type business be professional & show your educated attitude do competition on quality services not on prices, Secondly because of new online retail shops new customers also attract on online shopping.
G n W> How much YoY growth in terms of sales (just percentages) has Beliscity seen since its inception.
Abid Beli> Our Growth is mashallah till 2007 was too good but after closing our Dubai office as well as our display our sales graph was down till mid of 2009 but now mashallah again its growing day by day in % I can say that its increase 10 to 15% per month.
G n W> Opportunity wise our internet user base is growing rapidly with more broadband users every month how big of an opportunity is an online business geared towards our local community.
Abid Beli> Its growing very fast not because of more broadband users its growing because of Petroleum prices & Traffic system as in big cities people are thinking that try to buy online first but if the product not available online then they are going to markets otherwise they avoid it also online retail shop offers good prices as compare to local markets.
G n W> On a personal level you are involved in a lot of social uplifting work, can you tell us a little about those, and how do you find time for those being the CEO of Beliscity.
Abid Beli> We started a group on facebook with the name of I Own Pakistan & that time We are only focusing to spread positivity of Pakistan through upload good images & videos about Pakistan as we feel that our nation mindset is so negative about Pakistan after 9/11 but now mashallah again our Nation specially our youth doing so good, Through I Own Pakistan Platform we launched Green News Pakistan Project then PYR appointed me as a Board of Director of their organization, Then We started Green Baba projects as well as Creative awareness of Unjustice VIP or VVIP Movement in Pakistan & Lets Revive neighborhood communities, All these activities running from facebook & twitter, We also organize few events for Dr.Aafia siddiqui & also celebrate Quaid e Azam birthday on their tomp with more then 15 youth organization last year. Last Year 14th august we also distribute Pakistan Flag Badges in our members & this year we are trying to make historical celebration of 14th August inshallah. Now about the question that how can I find time for these activities then my answer is that if Pakistan alive then Beliscity alive so I need to do work for Pakistan as well as Beliscity.com
G n W> What piece of advice you would like to give to our aspiring and budding entrepreneurs who are evaluating or working on Ideas which are targeted for Pakistan?
Abid Beli> A very simple advice for all entrepreneurs, students, professionals & others that what ever you do just remember one thing that we need to build Great Pakistan so try to be Gentle & honest with your customers as well as with your country. Pakistan grow then we all grow, Just leave individual thoughts come out from your fears that you have no future in Pakistan, We have great future with Great Pakistan. Zindabad Pakistan