Pakistan is not yet on the level of the online market seen in many foreign countries, but it is growing at a steady rate. There are good and bad aspects associated with it. Unfortunately, the harmful elements are higher than the good ones due to the occasional dishonesty of the seller and buyers. Hopefully, the situation will likely improve with the passage of time and strict check and balance. The virtual market in Pakistan is growing at a fast pace. From stationery items to food delivery, grocery and clothes to toys, household appliances to tech products, a person can even buy DSLR camera online.
The more we see, the better we feel. Visibility is the critical aspect of selling. At a physical store, the buyer can see the product and decide whether to buy it or not based on looking at it. Shopping through a virtual store, even though it provides several pictures and sometimes a video is also available, the shopper is unsure about what they are buying until the goods reach them.
Analyzing the product in one’s hand makes it easier to decide whether to buy it or leave it to find a better thing. The feel of the substance gives tangibility, a satisfaction of having the actual product in hand before paying for it. The feeling of tangibility is absent in online shopping, making it difficult for a buyer to place an online order.
Shopping at a market offers greater flexibility in terms of assistance given by the shopkeeper regarding price negotiation and choosing an appropriate product. The physical marketplace lets the buyer employ bargaining skills to reduce the price. On the other hand, bargaining rarely takes place while shopping online. This flexibility is evident at electronics, computer accessories, and camera shops in Karachi that offer a wide range of products. Several well-known branded cameras are available in Pakistan through physical and online stores.
One of the most significant advantages of shopping online is shopping anytime; even when the shop owner is unavailable, placing an order at any time of night or day is possible. Online shopping is not limited to the opening of markets or weekends. It is available 24/7.
Quick customer support is available as needed at a physical store, while there might be a delay in response on a virtual store due to significant traffic or the absence of online support.
In the case of return policy, the customer has to travel to the physical store and get it replaced (which may not happen instantly, the store might give the pick up of the replacement at a later time or date, which will be very annoying). On the other hand, virtual stores often have a dedicated team to handle returns and replacement (which could also be problematic and time-consuming).
The attraction of shopping online lies in the fact that the buyer can search for the best product from various similar products. This flexibility of choice is very limited in shopping from the market. It will require traveling and exploring in many different markets to compare similar products, which is a waste of time and energy. Online shopping is the clear winner here when choosing the best product available in the market. Product reviews posted online on reputable forums also provide help in this regard.
It is possible to run virtual stores anywhere; overhead costs are comparatively lower than physical stores. The low prices make it better to buy from online stores as they would add less cost to running the business in the product.
The online store offers many more promotions, discounts, and loyalty points to attract customers. These promotions are possible due to lower operating costs and a lot larger reach of these stores due to their presence in cyberspace.
Waiting for the delivery to reach them is often a deal-breaker for the buyers. People want to have their stuff as quickly as possible, which might be a problem for online stores because the customer might be far away from the warehouse or in a different city altogether. Online shopping requires patience which people have less nowadays.
Most people favor buying in physical stores, which was witnessed in the days of strict lockdown against the spread of COVID, where people flooded superstores and bought stuff in huge quantities. Buying things from markets is a tradition that will take time to switch to online shopping. There is no doubt about the ease of buying through online stores. People just need to warm up to the idea of making online purchases. The threat of contracting and spreading the virus is still hovering in the current situation. It is better to get used to buying from the comfort and safety of one’s own home.