There was a time one would probably not have expected online shopping to work well in Pakistan. But the change can rarely be managed let alone denied. Even in a country that has droves of people who are used to going out to bazaars, inspecting items with their hands, asking tons of questions and then haggling till the shopkeeper caves in.
In fact, the expectation has always been that the best quality should be available for a very low price, which is just not possible as good products cost a fair amount to produce. Not that that expectation is often met, the idea has persisted. Things changed somewhat when smartphones became common; a load of online market places popped up. With time, despite the culture, they have done exceedingly well. Come 2020 and that has changed so much more, due to an event that wasn’t in anyones control; the COVID-19 pandemic.
How COVID-19 changed things
With a scare of this scale and the dangers it presents, a huge segment of people have instantly become very careful about going out or touching things when out. This large segment prefers to stay at home if they can avoid going out. Just this alone has seen online searches for products and shopping spike, especially since people can buy their groceries without stepping beyond the gate of their home. What they order gets delivered.
This event alone has caused many new websites to come about, but still, the ones that are doing well are the ones who had established their user base long before this instance. Websites such as Daraz.pk, Shopsy.pk, Goto.com.pk, Yayvo.com, HomeShopping.pk. and a few others product specialist companies like GSS have been the ones who have seen a real uptake in their usage.
Given that the more important products that are needed in this time are household applianced and groceries, many websites have geared their homepage panels for this. There are even websites that used to essentially sell only electronics, but today are listing cleaning products for sanitisation of spaces This is a smart move for anyone who has done so, not just for the sake of business but also access to these products could literally help save lives. In the long run, perhaps the country will become a little more hygienic, one can hope.
the personal protection equipment that is needed in case one steps outside is available through these channels. This includes the sought after N95 masks gloves and overalls.
Generally, a clear change over from the market’s interest in fashion and electronics products.
How the new payment methods also help
COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease, which is what makes it such a serious concern. Touching surfaces is not a good idea, exchanging goods is already tricky enough and exchanging money is an even higher risk. The chances that money has changed a dozen more hands than a product one ordered is highly likely. The ability to pay online through various methods that makes shopping through this method even more ideal for this time. Sanitising the packages and products can be undertaken, but if one had to sanitise loose change as well it would just add to the work. The idea that that can be avoided and ones work reduced, is a great convenience.
The uncertain end
One of the other reasons this pandemic is worrisome is that there is no clear end. We have locked ourselves down. We have changed our lifestyles. We have been home for months, but we do not really know when we will be able to go out again without a cloud of fear hanging over us. This in itself means that online shopping will keep going steady with the currently increased numbers. In fact, as more people learn the benefits and reduced danger of not having to step out the number of people making use of these services will go up.
It is also important to note that delivery services and warehouses are taking the precautions they can. Not just them, also the smaller shops that are trying to survive this intense time. One sees riders wearing masks at the very least if not gloves. One can take the precaution of washing their hands after these interactions. Truly if there is anything that one can do in this time it is to take precaution, the maximum degree possible.
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Glisten Pakistan Editorial