Online shopping, a.k.a e-commerce has seen an exceptional increase in Pakistan over the recent years and there is no stopping it. Almost every other day you come across a new e-commerce website or a Facebook Store/Page selling items of daily use and exciting new products at amazing prices. The reason for such a boom in online shopping, and these stores, is simple » convenience «.
Like everything else, this new localized revolution is not without its downsides. There are increasing number of bad customer experiences, online frauds and customer satisfaction problems. While we shall be giving a few tips on how to minimize these problems and to have a smooth and satisfying online shopping experience, below is a brief on the advantages of Online and Conventional shopping
Ease and comfort of Shopping from home or office at any time of convenience. Saves commuting time and cost.
Products from across the country/world at your fingertips. Unlimited options to choose from.
The experience the personally feeling, inspecting, trying and comparing a product is unmatched.
You buy and you own it, then and there, no waiting.
Tips for a good shopping experience
- If you are new to online shopping, than start with small purchases of under 500 or 1000 rupees.
- Online shopping is about finding a good bargain i.e. a low price. One of the biggest advantages of online shopping is that it allows you be on different stores at the same time, which makes it very easy to compare products and their prices. Comparing a product on different stores is easy and simple if it is a branded product since there is only the price factor to look for and the quality is guaranteed to be the same. But the same is not true for non-branded products as the quality can also vary with price and it is very difficult to judge the quality by just looking at the photographs and reading the details. A common factor which is often ignored while calculating the final price is the delivery charges and delivery-time. Its important to keep these in mind instead of just focusing on the product price tag.
- ‘If it is too good to be true….it is probably a fraud‘. If you find an ‘unbelieveable’ deal than you should better not believe it. For example, a pack of 3 items for the price of 1 (or 2) than it will probably have the 3rd item damaged or faulty. An item at a very less price as compared to what is generally available on other stores than it will probably also have half the quality.
- If the above advice got you a little worried than here is the place to find a good deal. Always shop from reputable online stores. These are the stores who deliver what they say and claim about their products. These are the online stores which are in business for at least a couple of years. Stores with good reputation are comfortable with disclosing their physical location. Checking their ‘Contact’ page and also try looking them in a credible online directory listing for their physical location. When you find a great deal from a known and reputable online store, you can be confident that you be be delivered the same.
- If you find a new online store with little reputation, it is always a good idea to start with buying less expensive or limited items to judge their ethics, products quality and overall standards and store services.
- Never pay in advance. What I mean is to, not pay in advance on online stores which you dont know very well. Try avoiding this as much as possible and only do so when you have complete confidence in the store. Most online stores offer cash-on-delivery and if some store is not offering this than there should be a good solid reason for it which you should inquire by making a direct call. You should also use this call to inquire about the product details. This call will also help you with developing confidence in the product and the store.
- Using Credit or Debit cards for online payments is a risky business. Avoid these modes of payment as much as possible. If you have a choice between using Credit or Debit card, use your Credit Card as it offers you more protection as Credit Cards have spending limits where as Debit Cards are only limited by the abount of balance you have in your account. Also, with Credit Cards you can dispute a fraudulent transaction. While using a Credit or Debit card, make sure that the online store uses encryption and is secure with the necessary security measures in place, and that they do not store your card details. The standard of online security is generally poor throughout the world and Pakistan is no exception. Incidents of hacking are a common phenomenon. Likewise, provide only the very basic information while creating an account on the online store’s website and avoid going into unnecessary details.
- Do not fall for money back and exchange guarantees. I am not saying that these guarantees are fake or do not exist with online stores in Pakistan but only because this is not what you want. Remember the ‘convenience’ part above? which started the whole online shopping thingy? Products exchange also costs you extra money as you have to pay for getting the product delivered back to the store, and than there is all this wait and wasted extra time in following up with store and getting the right item delivered to you. Getting your money-back is the really hard part. Hardly any store will give you full money back, and mostly it will be in the form of a voucher or store credit of the original amount which you can only use to buy items on the same store. The whole idea of money-back and exchange is not worth it, try avoiding it as much as possible.
- A Word of Mouth is the best source of know the review/repute of a business. This review can also be in the form a Facebook status or post/update from a “friend” of yours, but remember, the same is not true if its a review on a stores main page or a random website, or even the Facebook page maintained by the online store. These reviews can be faked. The word of mouth travels fast enough and you will probably hear about a good or a bad stores from others around you. Trust their experience and judgement.
- Online stores selling poor quality products or following bad practices often bound their deals and offers with tactics like “Limited Time Offer”, “Last few Days” or similar gimmicks. These tactics are used only to create a rush feeling and divert customers’ focus from things like we have mentioned above. Be careful when you come across an offer like this.