The trend of online shopping in Pakistan, while still being fairly new, is becoming more and more common these days. From fashion brands to eateries, everybody is jumping on the e-commerce bandwagon and launching their website or online shopping portal. Brands and businesses that do not have the means to go solo are listing their products on online shopping stores and food delivery websites. However, in spite of a rise in website credibility and security, there are still a lot of things to consider while shopping online in Pakistan.
Some Factors to Consider before Shopping Online in Pakistan
Online shopping in Pakistan has made life easy for many of us, who prefer to purchase goods at the touch of a button with minimal human interaction. Since pretty much anything you need is available online, there’s also no shortage of choices, and no need to head a store or market. You can even buy groceries online at some of the top stores in Karachi. However, no matter where you are purchasing from, you must keep certain considerations in mind to avoid scams and fraudulent transactions that might result in a monetary loss.
Here are some of the primary concerns and things to consider while shopping online in Pakistan so that you will invest your money in the right brands and products:
- The credibility of a website
- Customer reviews
- Delivery charges
- Modes of payment
- Security of personal data
- Comparison of prices
- Online sales
- The time duration of delivery
- Proof of order confirmation
- Return and refund policy
Let’s discuss each of these in detail to ensure that you have a smooth online shopping experience.
The Credibility of a Website
The best way to avoid a scam while shopping online is only to purchase goods/services from credible websites. A brand with a huge fan following and a considerable amount of positive reviews can be trusted, as it won’t compromise on its reputation by scamming you out of your money as compared to smaller stores. Most fashion brands and international food chains fall into this category. They will generally quote exactly what’s on offer and deliver it to a tee, to avoid negative backlash from their customer base.
Most credible websites will be well maintained, offer you complete details of their products, shipping, and delivery charges, and give you a means to contact them directly via phone or email in case of unexpected delays. It is often best to avoid buying online in Pakistan from a site that does not offer a direct method of communication for the customer.
In connection with the above, one of the major things to consider while shopping online is customer reviews. This is especially true for those random products you want to buy from generic marketplaces where every seller in the market has listed their goods for sale. Good reviews build the credibility of the store/seller, and you can then consider purchasing their products as per your needs.
While many eateries in Pakistan will offer free delivery if you meet their minimum order requirements, some will charge an additional amount to deliver the food to your doorstep. However, this is almost always the case with delivery parcels for apparel, electronics, and all other goods. In most cases, the website will clearly mention the delivery charges applicable overall. Some might even have various criteria to determine the delivery charges of your online shipment, such as your location in a particular city, or the weight of your parcel.
Modes of Payment
There is a lot to be done to make online shopping in Pakistan as reliable and convenient as it is in the developed world. For now, since most of us have a natural mistrust of any website that asks us to make a payment online in Pakistan, cash-on-delivery is the best mode of payment for every new website you consider purchasing from.
Card payments, while available, are always risky, as online security is still in its developing stages in the country. However, more and more banks are aiming to make the processes of online purchasing easier by offering two to three methods of identification for the cardholder as well as offering a One-Time Password (OTP) for every purchase that is sent only to the registered phone number and email address to confirm the purchase.
Security of Personal Data
If you want to avoid a scam while shopping online, always ensure that the website and online payment channel is secure. The SSL certificate of a website allows it to offer secure transaction processes with your personal and financial data being safe from hackers and data thieves. Additionally, as mentioned above, avoid using debit cards and even use credit cards with care. Moreover, never save your card info onto a website or server, as the data will be accessible by a third party if the server gets hacked.
Comparison of Prices
Online shopping markets offer a myriad of products. You can purchase everything from jewellery to watches, bags, electronics, gadgets, toys, books, clothes, and more. What’s more, since sellers use these markets to list the products they have in stock, you’ll often be able to find the same product from more than one seller at varying prices.
This is where price comparison and the seller’s credibility becomes crucial. What’s cheaper is not always the best quality, but what’s expensive might not always be the best either. Customer reviews and the seller’s repute can help you decide which product to go with. Even then, choose the cash-on-delivery option to be on the safe side.
If you’re eager to get the best deals while shopping online in Pakistan, then keep a sharp lookout for online sales. Many online shopping markets and delivery apps will conduct sales round-the-year. The same is true for branded clothing stores, where seasonal sales can often help you buy the best products at a fraction of the cost. Always be wary of deals, though, because most products purchased on sale are not exchangeable or refundable and might not be what they looked like online when they come to your doorstep.
The Time Duration of Delivery
Shorter deliveries have better reliability in comparison to longer delivery periods, but as long as the seller is reliable, you have nothing to fear. Simply determine how long it will take the company to dispatch your order to your address and when you can expect to receive it. Once the commitment has been made, the delivery is generally timely, especially if it is being sent via private courier services.
Proof of Order Confirmation
Another method to avoid a scam while shopping online is to always confirm the order by contacting the company and getting a receipt of the order via email, particularly if you have paid for it in advance. Calling the contact number provided by the website is the quickest and often the best way to determine whether a product is in stock and can be delivered on time as committed.
Returns and Refunds Policy
Among the many things to consider while shopping online, the returns and refunds policy offered by a seller is among the most crucial factors to keep in mind. While you might fall in love with the picture of a product, there’s no guarantee that it’ll reach you in the same state. If that’s the case, what can the seller do about it? Do they offer money-back guarantees or a warranty on the product in case of damage? Do you have the choice of returning the product to the sender within a week if it does not meet your requirements and expectations? Checking out the return, refund, warranty, and guarantee policies before you check out will help you avoid scams and getting stuck with damaged goods.
As long as you refer to our list of things to consider while shopping online, you should be able to distinguish genuine salespeople from the conmen and benefit from a fruitful online shopping experience. Happy Shopping!