Online shopping in Pakistan : Still a long way to go.

November 24, 2011 8:53 pm 12 comments

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Recently I had a chance or urge to check out how effective the online shopping is. With a surge of online retailers sprouting every where I set out with high expectation for finding, buying and getting items I desired.

However I was taken for a bumpy ride at the end of which I backed out from buying the item and then got it from market. I tried to shop online twice in last few months, both the time I ended up not buying the item. Maybe I was just unlucky ( I would be more than glad to find out that mine were solitary incidents and things are better out there).

I wont be naming the sites just to avoid specifically targeting any one but I have a feeling most of the retailers have similar issues.

The most glaring issue I found with these sites was that their online data was not in sync with what they had available in stock. As soon as the orders were finalized I received a call in one case and an email in other case saying that the item I ordered was not in stock.

Apparently how it works is that most of these online sites do not have their own warehouses and are relying on other local providers to fulfill the orders. This means that they can never have a current and upto date information of what is listed vs what is actually available. I am sure for common items the issue would not be so much, however for items that are not so frequently ordered this would be a usuall issue, so I believe (might be wrong) the process is that after the order is placed they check with their suppliers to see if the item is available. When actual item is not available they offer you alternate items, in one of the cases the item they offered as alternative were not even listed in their online inventory.

Next comes the confirmation process, being an online shop I expected the orders to be executed without any human interactions however in both cases the ordering process went to phone calls and emails asking my confirmation to lock in the order for alternate item.

The last part is where I really freaked out and backed away. It was the payment process. Most of these sites rely on the online bank transfers to get their money. This limitation is due to extremely cumbersome process of obtaining credit card merchant account in Pakistan. However since at this point none of what I locked online was available and the order had been transferred from online order to more of an email/phone requests I had grown skeptical how my payment would be matched with what I ordered. And due to this skepticism I backed out.

I have heard from atleast one other person who was brave enough to complete the order that he had to go and pick his order in person although the site promised delivery.

We have moved a lot in right direction for online shopping in Pakistan however there is still a lot to be desired. Currently all the items offered on these sites are a bit pricier than the market price because most of these act as middle man and keep their portion. In actual scenario the success of online shopping around the globe has been because these sites cut the operational costs of having a brick and mortar shop, sales staff etc and offer better rates by just shipping items from a warehouse, hopefully retailers on our part of world will get better soon.

Facebook comments:


  • asim

    CC problem is expected to finish soon with arrival of UBL cards that are very easy to acquire.
    Online shoppers can take advantage by partnership with UBL etc.

  • Afaq

    I am working on an online shopping portal and hope to address the highlighted issues.

  • good information i like your way, i always do online shopping for saving time & money, we wanna buy cheap, designer and luxury product at best price but all branded product are expensive in shop. So, online stores offer all branded products in best price.

  • Blue Ex – we are a major e-commerce facilitator enabling online shopping across Pakistan.

  • I’ve bought some electronics from Shophive in the past. My experience was pretty good, they called me a few hours after I ordered online to confirm the order, and my things arrived at my doorstep the next day.

    I chose to pay cash-on-delivery. I paid the courier after opening and verifying the things that I had ordered, so I got the convenience of ordering from home as well as trying out the product myself before paying as I would’ve done in a brick-and-mortar outlet.

    I’m wondering if there are companies that offer delivery and COD services for ecommerce websites, as I think that’s a viable alternative for online CCs in Pakistan.

  • Well as far as I know cash on delivery is only offered by two of online retailers shophive offers cash on delivery for customers in Lahore and beliscity offers it for customers in Karachi.

  • hhahhah shopping goes well with women though men can also engage in this phenomena but let the expertise do their task :P

  • samreen chawla

    Guys …for me it was a totally new experience,and truly i was glad :)it was quite easy and economical way of getting the product with Cash on delievery terms,No hidden costs..

    Some body told me of I used it, liked their services, delivery time was little late but overall, i enjoyed the convenience they offered coz i opened the pack checked it and paid at my door step …thats all!!

  • Nowadays Online Retailers offers cash on delivery (COD). it was never easy before online shopping in offers his customers online shopping in Pakistan and cash on delivery.

  • Humair

    I understand your feelings but Pakistan is moving very fast on the right track of online shopping because there are now many sites who are offering the online shoppin experience in pakistan in very effective and efficient way, except
    are also working very good in this regard

  • nice and attractive blog about online shopping in Pakistan. i like online shopping of pakistan.
    Tohfa Xpress

  • Yes, This is right that most of website working as a medle man between seller and buyer. But website who sell imorted products from Amazon and eBay they sell original products. is an online shop who sell imported products in Pakistan as per customer order request.

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