We are unfortunate that Pakistan is considered as a third world country and lacks the basic infrastructure which should provide the basic necessities to its people. But it didn’t stop the people of the country to adopt new technologies and evolve with time. We are living in a modern era and the hectic schedule has forced us to shop online but is online shopping any good in Pakistan? We have been shopping online through various e-retailers for the past couple of years but mainly in the field of technology. For the first time I shopped at Daraz for clothing and other home furnishing products. So today, I will tell you about my experience with Daraz and what is the trend of online shopping in Pakistan.
Online Shopping in Pakistan: Introduction
Pakistan is not very fortunate to have big retailers such as Amazon although our neighboring country India is years ahead of us in this regard. Online shopping in Pakistan is all about buying clothes and accessories from various retailers’ pages on Facebook, most of them owned by individuals with unique ideas and designs. Corruption, misleading information and the worst after sales service is a common attribute of e-commerce in our country.
We have a lot of online retailers for technology products such as IAmExtreme, Homeshopping, iShopping, Vmart and so on. The problem arises when most of these retailers find illegal channels to get products and sell them to customers without any warranty or after sales services. Online products usually carry only checking warranty (which means you buy it, check it for a day and if it works then its fine but after a day no claims can be made). The benefit of using illegal channels is that retailers can offer low prices to customers at the expense of good quality services. The disadvantage of this method is that official distributors (who get the products via official channels) cannot achieve high sales because their prices are higher although their products have good after sales service and carry official warranty. Such an example is the Samsung Galaxy S5 which can be found for as low as Rs.56,000 ($560) on these retailers without warranty while Samsung Pakistan offers its for Rs.62,000 ($620) with 2 years accidental warranty.
To our surprise only a couple of retailers actually carry an inventory of these products, either they buy from the illegal distributor or import it when ordered by the customer which takes weeks. Daraz is the first full thought out online store in Pakistan which takes these issues into consideration and tries to rectify them. Daraz started its operations by selling only clothes and shoes for men and women but it is now slowly expanding into technology. It is now offering BlackbBerry smartphones and it is the only official online BlackBerry store in Pakistan affiliated with the parent company.
Shopping Experience at Daraz
I am not fond of buying clothes online in Pakistan because retailers mostly have misleading information on their website and they don’t have a fair return policy. I was contacted by Mr. Osman Syed from Daraz who persuaded me to buy something from Daraz and guaranteed me that I will be happy with the experience. To be honest, it was not a bad experience although there are somethings that I would want Daraz to improve but comparing to other Pakistani online retailers, it was still amongst the best.
I bought two polo shirts from Daraz because it is more famous for clothing and shoes rather than technology. Daraz has over 400 brands; more than any other online retailer so I was not disappointed in terms of product variety. Extremely competitive prices is also another advantage for Daraz and not to forget the easy navigation system on its website. Finding products is easy and the on-going sales and offers immediately grab your attention.
Daraz operates from Karachi but delivers anywhere in Pakistan and a few foreign countries as well. Placing the order is straight forward, just select the product, put in your cart and proceed with the checkout. Seeing the option of paying through VISA Debit and Credit cards made me so happy because this is the only online store in Pakistan with this payment option. Other less convenient payment options include Bank Deposit, Easy Paisa (Mobile Banking), Swipe on Delivery and Cash on Delivery. Daraz has its own delivery system in partnership with all four leading couriers in Pakistan and the website is secured with Comodo Internet Security software.
Moving on, I placed the order and immediately received a confirmation email with my order number and the option of tracking my order. After 10 minutes I received a call from one of Daraz’s representative for confirmation of my address and then I received a text message that my order has been confirmed. The first disappointment came in terms of delivery time which was provided by Daraz, I will discuss this later. Anyways, the order was delivered within two days instead of the original four days provided by Daraz. This concludes the whole shopping process.
Shopping from Daraz: The Disappointments
To check the customer support of Daraz, I selected the wrong size and opened up a ticket to change my order. I used a discount coupon courtesy of Mr. Osman which can only be applied once. The good thing is that the customer support responded to my ticket within 2 hours but the disappointment is that their representative casually denied my request without any alternative solution. This is highly disappointing because for them changing the order is a 2 minute task but instead he offered me to cancel my order and I should place another one. And when I will receive the call for confirmation then I should convince their personnel about my discount code.
A customer will never go out of his way just to shop from a store. Daraz should work on training their customer support personnel on how to resolve customer issues. In the end, I had to settle for the wrong sizes and found an alternative solution myself. The alternate solution is to use Daraz’s, 7-day return policy and change my order which is more convenient. Daraz processes the return claim and their representative picks up the product from the customer’s address and ships it back to their warehouse while a replacement is shipped to the customer. So there is a solution to this problem but not an effective and something not every customer can think of. It is also taxing on Daraz’s resources.
Second disappointment is the delivery which should be one day at most but originally Daraz provided a time period of four days. Its understandable that its better to have some excess time on hand and increase customer satisfaction by delivering the product earlier than the customer anticipated. But its not acceptable to propose four days for a task which can be completed in one day especially when the online store stocks up inventory in their own warehouse in Karachi.
The major disappointment which is common in online stores in Pakistan, misleading information. The polo shirts I ordered should have been made out of pure cotton as mentioned on their website but instead it was made out of mixed material cotton and polyester. Maybe Daraz is not aware of this but they should definitely verify the material from their suppliers.
Online Shopping Experience: Final Words
Overall, it was the best online shopping experience in Pakistan but far from International standards. Daraz certainly needs to improve on its customer support and delivery time which can be done through an effective supply chain management. The three issues I mentioned above are sufficient to disregard any online store in the US but since people in Pakistan are not that knowledgeable, retailers can easily get away with them. I blame the low literacy rate but then again when people do not demand for good services, companies will not provide them. If Daraz wants to revolutionize the online shopping experience in Pakistan then it should learn from foreign companies and implement the same structure here.
Even with these issues, Daraz provides the best shopping experience in Pakistan and I would recommend it over any online retailer especially when you are getting 100% genuine products through legal channels which also helps our country’s economy. To shop from your favorite brands, head-over to Daraz.pk now.