Over the past decade, online shopping has become a viable option in Pakistan. Especially, ever since Daraz brought the ‘Black Friday’ shopping custom to Pakistan, more and more people are flocking to buy stuff from online stores. Although most outlets now avoid using the ‘Black’ term with Friday. But that only fueled the industry.
In fact, in 2018 alone, the entire e-commerce industry of Pakistan doubled in revenues, reaching 40.1 billion rupees.
Why do online shopping?
Aside from the obvious benefits like shopping from the comfort of your home at any time, there are other factors which makes it a more desirable option. For instance, you can browse a greater number of products and even find the best price for a single product from multiple websites.
You also get to read reviews from other customers which can be a big help in deciding the authenticity of a product. There are frequent sales, but you can’t do any bargaining so that’s one downside.
What you save on personal transportation is usually more than the delivery charges, if applied at all. Mostly, on purchases exceeding Rs. 1000, delivery is free. Although there are some things that are best bought physically. For instance, vegetables and fruits. Yes, even those can be bought online nowadays.
However, online shopping can be daunting for someone who has never bought anything online. The first order can be tough, especially if it requires payment by credit card. There is a lot of trust that’s needed to make large payments. We will talk about trusted stores and stores that you should avoid.
But first, let’s take a look at some payment options and help you decide which one’s best for you.
Different web stores offer a different combination of payment options. But most of these stores try to have as many payment options available as possible. However, there are some products which are limited to only one option.
This is the easiest but option. Although it is not the most accessible one; you need to have a bank account with a Credit/Debit card and most banks require any account holder to be at least 18 years of age. It also requires trust as the payment is made before the item is delivered. You also need to verify the site’s trustworthiness before going for this option.
However, it is also the easiest option. This is the way e-commerce is meant to proceed. Once you have a card, you won’t need to leave your house for any transaction, that is unlike some of the other payment options.
In fact, card payment is usually the only mode of payment in several international web stores. It is only to assure people’s trust that other payment options like Cash on Delivery was introduced.
Virtual debit card
Another option to do payment by card is using a Virtual debit card. Various banks offer this service, even payment services like Easypaisa. To obtain one, the bank will ask for verification of certain documents and will check your citizenship, address, contact number and bank account. Once it’s done, you will be able to use it anywhere.
The difference here is that this card works like balance on your mobile phone. You can choose to add as many funds to it. In other words, you will need to transfer money in the card that is separate from your bank balance.
Cash on Delivery (COD)
COD is easily the most popular option of online shopping, at least in Pakistan. It eliminated all the problem of trust and you can pay when you have the product in hand.
There is one issue though, someone needs to be available with the cash whenever the postman arrives. That is a problem especially for working people who get home late.
However, this does require some effort on the company’s end as some people may refuse to pay or ask for a refund.
Mobile Wallet (Easypaisa etc.)
Mobile wallets are swiftly becoming mainstream. The idea is really simple. Your mobile number becomes your bank account number and on making an account you get to avail almost all the services offered by a bank, sometimes even more. Just like doing an easy load on your mobile, you can top up these accounts through retailers or other banks.
Easypaisa pioneered mobile wallet in Pakistan but now there are others like JazzCash and Upaisa. This is another viable option of paying for your online shopping. It even works if you don’t have an account at all; you can just pay the product’s amount to an authorized shop within a set amount of time.
This option is good for those who either can’t have a bank account or don’t want a bank account specifically for online shopping. Moreover, e-commerce stores like to have a partnership with one of these services. They regularly offer discounts. For instance, Easypaisa users get regular discounts at Daraz.
Some trusted names
There are a plethora of websites that offer things to sell. There are specialized websites which only offer certain categories for products and others which offer a wide range of products. Below is the list of all the viable options that are trusted:
Daraz has been around for a long while. It offers a large range of products, but it came into focus for clothing and other related items.
Shophive specializes in technology-related items. They offer computer components like graphics cards and RAMs. They also deal in other gadgets like laptops and cameras.
iShopping hosts a wide range of products. It has a design similar to Amazon and it has products from famous international brands like Samsung to local brands like Bata.
Yayvo, being backed by Pakistan’s best logistics company, TCS has a good advantage over its competitors. This also means fast deliveries and good discounts.
Shoprex deals in women clothing as a priority. They have a wide selection of clothing brands. They also offer gadgets and mobile accessories as well as lifestyle.
HomeShopping offers a wide range of products. They occasionally have running partnerships with banks that offer some products in installments with no markup.
Symbios is a viable option for online shopping in Pakistan. Their design feels a bit dated and we don’t see much marketing of the brand but it is a trusted source.
AliExpress may have expressed in the name but it takes two weeks minimum to get your ordered product with free shipping. Although they offer faster-paid shipping, it makes it too expensive. Don’t order high priced products like mobile phones or laptops from AliExpress as it may have issues in customs.
Stores you should avoid
Facebook only stores
Facebook only stores tend to offer unrealistic bundles which promise a lot of things but fail to deliver. You should stay away from Facebook only stores especially if they ask for online payment. However, there are a few exceptions. Its best to carefully look for user reviews and the seller’s authenticity before making a purchase.
Any store with an address beginning with ‘http’ instead of ‘https’
There are tons of e-commerce websites in Pakistan with new ones coming almost weekly. Instead of listing each of them a good general rule of thumb is to look for SSL. If the site has a padlock as shown in the picture, then it’s good to go. Or you should also check that the site begins with ‘https’ instead of ‘http’. Only purchase from sites which begin with ‘https’.
We hope you learned how to do online shopping in Pakistan. Hopefully, now you will not fall into scams and risk losing your money. Happy shopping!