By Imran Khan
In the past few years, online shopping has really taken off in Pakistan. Currently more than a hundred e-shops that cover the whole spectrum of what somebody could possibly want to buy are operating in the country. This has resulted in competitive prices and great add-ons like cash on delivery and other features. I’ve managed to create a list of parameters which can serve as a helpful guide while deciding which shop to pick when you want to order something.
Before buying anything, you need to check out the shipping charges policy of the shop. Most of the e-shopping companies in Pakistan offer free shipping service. However, certain conditions are applied for some stores like Daraz.pk which require that your total-checkout-bill be above 1500 PKR for free shipping service. It also depends upon the weight of item. If you are shopping internationally, there are more taxes and charges involved.
Cash on Delivery
Cash on delivery is a nice feature offered by some companies in Pakistan. You simply pay once the item is at your doorstep. In some cases, that is a bit complicated since the deliverymen require ‘tips’ to release the item into your care. It doesn’t happen that often but it’s something to keep in mind when doing business with an online shop that isn’t established per se.
Online shops are designed to get you to spend money. Sometimes a great interface affects your decision process and you might end up paying more than you should. That’s why I suggest you always do a price comparison before buying an item. And if you have access to the local market, check there as well since prices are often lower in brick and mortar stores.
Debit/Credit card information
If you decide to use your debit or card for shopping, always choose a secure connection for the transaction (SSL). I don’t think it needs mentioning but never ever send your debit card information to someone by email.
Credit card have a different process, as you can challenge any suspicious transaction. Personally, I use my UBL wiz card to shop online. The best part about it is that I activate a session for a limited time to make any online transaction. As I am the only one who can activate it, even if someone manages to get my card information, they can’t do anything with it. This scenario might not be the same in your case.
Check for Discount Coupons
With increased competition in the market, online stores are now tending to offer discount coupons for various kind of buyouts. For example, Daraz.PK offers its first time customers a 10% discount and another 12% discount for second time buyers. So its a good idea to check out if there’s any discount coupon offering for a particular store available or not.
Most e-shopping companies aim to deliver an item in 2-5 days. Some of them offer same day delivery but that usually comes at a slight extra charge. Sometimes a delay happens due to traffic jams, weather or some other conditions. So just to be on the safe side, ask for a tracking number. Lastly, always mention alternate posting address as well in case you aren’t present at the time of delivery of product.
When confirming your order via phone, do check with the store if they have the stock available or if they are going to arrange your order after the completion of order.
Online stores usually list all sorts of merchandise on their website, even those items that are available with them or even with their suppliers. If you are ordering a non-running item then your store might delay your shipment until your order is arranged from back-office or from another city in some cases.
Warranty of Product
Warranty of product really defines the “quality of service” of any company. Some e-shopping companies in Pakistan offer 7 days or above return policy, which is a symbol of quality. But your responsibility is that you will have to take care of that product. In case of any damage to product, they are not responsible to get that item back.
How to build trust
To buy anything, you need to be able to trust that company. Unless you have had past dealings, the best way is to check public opinion. There are many online forums in Pakistan where real customers review companies. That way you can watch out for any possible scams.
You should also always look for direct contact details of company, like mobile phone number and physical address. In that case, you can easily file a complaint about any misleading information.
I managed to create a database of online shopping websites in Pakistan with some useful information like shipping charges, delivery, products and warranty information that you can consult while researching your latest purchase.
- Always check shipping charges before buying.
- Prefer cash on delivery method and check “delivery time” as well.
- Compare prices with local market.
- Never send your card information to someone by email.
- Prefer warranty offering shops.
- Check customers review before placing an order.