Something awesome this way comes. The festive air, the joyous atmosphere, the excited anticipation; come on, Eid, get here already!
While Eid will take its own sweet time to get here, the shopping frenzy has already begun and how! People are swarming mall after mall in search for the perfect ensemble. The exhausting search begins with the hunt for the ideal outfit. The design, colour, cut, price; every detail is considered and innumerable shops visited before one finally finds the outfit worthy of the grandest event of the year. This, however, is just the beginning. There are still the shoes, wallet, bag, belt, jewellery and countless other accessories to think of. How many shops can you visit before your body starts cursing you for putting it under such pressure?
For shopaholics who love shopping but don't have the time or energy to hop from one store to another, shopping online is the way to go. While people around the world have been using computers to shop for over a decade now, online shopping is a relatively recent trend in Bangladesh. Although a large majority still shop at stores, there are many who prefer shopping online in the convenience of their homes.
Online shopping has opened a myriad of choices for Sameera Zaman, a full-time employee at a consultancy firm. Before discovering the wonders of shopping via the internet, Sameera had to sacrifice her only day off to endure the traffic of Dhaka streets to get her shopping done. Seeing her struggle to complete her Eid shopping last year, a friend suggested her to browse through the various online stores on social networking sites like Facebook. That suggestion changed her life, says Sameera with a laugh.
“There are a number of clothing stores on Facebook that offer new designs, competitive prices and a variety of options. You only need to browse through the options to choose the design you want, book it online and pay for it, accordingly,” she says.
Fashionistas and regular readers of the Daily Star's Lifestyle will know that the fashion brand 'Andeem' recently opened its flagship outlet in Banani. 'Andeem' has become a popular name amongst youngsters, known particularly for their creative designs and fresh ideas. Like 'Andeem', several well-known retail brands such as 'Jhijhi-Poka,' 'La Mode' and 'Adam & Eve' started their journey as stores on Facebook. The social networking site has enabled a number of new stores to mushroom with fresh and ingenious concepts.
Different online stores cater to different needs and wants. With a few clicks, you can search for a myriad of products without having to step a foot outside your homes. Online sites like CellBazaar, ClickBd and Bikroy bring you the best of all worlds. Be it clothes, books, watches, electronic items or even cars, you can get them all by visiting any one of these sites.
Online stores have proven to be a boon for both the buyers and the sellers. With over 10,000 likes on Facebook, Nadira Nasim's online store 'Trendy East' was just an experiment to begin with. She thought of opening an online shop that catered to the needs of working women who normally don't get the time to spend hours on a shopping trip. Opened last year, the store already has a loyal customer base who swear by the store's dedication to quality and services.
Even though the online shopping industry has space for new ideas and fresh concepts, some people don't hesitate to take advantage of it, says Nadira.
“Many youngsters, who are still to get out of college, open up stores online in hopes of making a quick profit. As they have limited knowledge about pricing or marketing, they often falsely advertise that the fabrics they sell are genuine products of reputed international brands,” she says.
Most people are scared of being duped by online stores and thus, stay wary of them. There are numerous stories of online shops tricking customers by not selling them the product that the client paid for. One needs to be careful when dealing with online fraud; you can never be too sure about checking and rechecking items you buy online. Check the comments section on the page of the online store to assess the reaction of existing clients. These comments will give you a fair idea regarding the trustworthiness of a store.
Research the store before you place your order. It's best to shop from well-established online stores or from stores recommended to you by a friend. Do your homework before buying products from an online store. If you are fresh on the internet shopping scene and want to buy something from an unknown store, start out with an inexpensive order to learn whether you can trust the shop. Also, remember that dependable stores will have at least one phone number where you can call to ask questions or state your doubts.
Most online stores in Bangladesh accept cash on delivery, so you can ensure that you get what you want before you are required to pay for it. Be careful to disclose only bare facts such as your name and maybe your address to the online merchant. And remember to get your receipt or pay slip from the store after you pay for the goodies.
When you are shopping online, you need to be extra careful than if you'd shop in a traditional retail outlet. However, the online shopping market is only improving every day to effectively cater to every need of customers. So, if you were asked to shop at the convenience of your home or brave the world to get your shopping done, which one would YOU chose?