Once upon a time, it was a luxury for one to own a smartphone. Today, however, smartphones are available in all sorts of price ranges that it has become affordable. Despite the fact that smartphones are more widely available to different classes of society, only 11% of the population owns a smartphone. As the availability of technology becomes more widespread across the nation, Pakistanis are exposed to gradual lifestyle changes as ride-hailing services like Careem and online shopping malls like Daraz significantly make their way into our lives.
In 2016, Daraz.pk broke records as they achieved Pakistan’s first one billion rupee sales and this shows that the online marketplace has big potential here. So what is it about online shopping which is so attractive to the public?
7 Reasons Why Online Shopping is Becoming Popular
Cheaper than Offline Retail
Ever wondered why most products being sold on a website are cheaper than those at the neighborhood mall? Well, when a merchant sets up and brick-and-mortar retail store, there will be overhead costs incurred. They would have to pay for rent, utilities, staff wages, etc. On the other hand, there would be none of these additional costs with an online store. At most, bigger online stores would require a warehouse or place to store their items. Smaller business owners can usually keep their stock at home, but it also depends on the nature of their business.
Besides products being significantly cheaper, smart shoppers also make use of discount codes which are easily available online. One such recommended coupon website is ShopCoupons as they are known to provide coupon-hunters with reliable coupon codes to help them save on their online spend. They have got promo codes for renowned online stores like Daraz, Yayvo, Khaadi to name a few. The best part is you get to use these codes for absolutely no charge! Now you’ll know where to go when you’re in dire need of a Daraz discount code.
We all know that feeling of slight embarrassment when we purchase that pack of condoms at the supermarket. Although society in general is adopting a more open mind towards practicing safe sex and family planning, Pakistan is still deemed a very conservative country and it’s because of this that people would rather not use protection. The social stigma is real and many do succumb to it to avoid judgment and unnecessary confrontation. By giving customers the option to purchase personal products such as condoms, lubricant, and pregnancy test kits online, the buyer’s privacy is guaranteed.
Ever had to urgently get something from the mall but had to commute all the way only to get stuck in traffic for hours on end? Now this is one of the reasons why the online marketplace is slowly gaining popularity. Who wouldn’t want to sit in the comfort of their own home or office and take their time shopping to their heart’s content? Besides having to brave the horrible traffic jams, some of us who drive have to spend time searching for parking. Hence, being able to shop without having to leave our safe haven is definitely a dream come true. It is so convenient that we can even shop on-the-go if you have a smartphone. Most large webstores like Daraz, Kaymu and Shophive have mobile apps available for download on your Android or Apple device so that you can shop whenever and wherever you want.
Wide Selection of Choices
We all know that traditional shopping malls have a wide range of brands and products available – so do online stores. Unlike offline shopping, we are not limited to just a selected mall or country. When you surf the World Wide Web, you are gaining access to the rest of the world. This means you can even shop from other parts of the world as long as they ship to your country. However, the delivery fee may be costly depending on the shipping rates of the seller’s country. As expensive shipping fees is a hindrance for us to purchase items from overseas, most still choose from various other local online stores here in Pakistan. Comparing similar products across online stores is basically effortless as you would only need to open several tabs or windows on your browser instead of having to travel from mall-to-mall which can be time consuming.
Fast and Free Shipping
Most large online stores in Pakistan provide free shipping nationwide but this is usually for standard delivery which may take up to a week. Customers can opt to choose express delivery (if any) but would have to pay a little more depending on the online store. Large online stores work closely with logistics services to ensure that their items reach the customers’ hands as soon as possible. Of course free shipping doesn’t apply for overseas purchases but it would be best to read the terms and conditions just to make sure. Another cool thing about shopping online is that you are able to track the location and status of your parcel. Once your item is shipped out, you will be sent a tracking number which you can check via the logistic company’s website or the online shopping portal’s website.
Multiple payment methods
A common misconception about spending online is that you require a credit card in order to shop, but this is absolutely untrue. Big online shopping portals allow multiple payment methods so that they can cater to the general public and so that no one feels left out. A popular payment method is Cash-on-Delivery (C.O.D) whereby you pay only when you receive the item you ordered. These online stores also usually partner with payment solutions like EasyPay and MobiCash to offer more options to their customers. You are even allowed to pay via monthly installments if the value of the product reaches the minimum amount which varies across shopping portals. However, very few merchants provide customers with this payment option for the time being.
Free returns and exchanges
As online shopping is still fairly new in Pakistan, lots of online stores would like to gain the trust of the people. One way to do so is by offering returns and exchanges for absolutely no charge. They do this to guarantee customer satisfaction and also to prove that the products being sold on their platform are genuine and 100% authentic. Of course, this is also subject to the terms and conditions of the store. Products from certain categories are not allowed to be return nor exchanged such as beauty products and innerwear due to hygiene. Once returned, your refund will usually be in the form of store credit which you can use for future purchases, but there are also stores which refund you in cash.