It’s still early days for Pakistan’s ecommerce market, as general-purpose estores like Kaymu.pk and Homeshopping.pk grow in line with the nation’s wired citizens. But that’s not deterring highly specialized sites from entering the country’s online shopping market. Online grocery shopping is one area with a lot of potential – because we all need groceries, they’re not a luxury, and they’re such a tedious commodity to go out and buy.
A number of online grocery stores have popped up in Pakistan in the past year. These sell staples like rice, lentils, daals, oils, fruit, and vegetables – and also household and personal items like washing powder, shampoos, and toothpaste. It’s not just the boring stuff – Pakistan’s egrocery sites also stock items such as coffee, tea, fruit juice, cookies, and ice cream.
There’s so much action from startups in this space that a new site came online this week in the form of SmartMart (pictured above). The new estore focuses on the capital, Islamabad, and gives free delivery on orders over PKR 5,000 (US$52). SmartMart says that delivery will take a maximum of eight hours in the capital so long as the online order is made before 6 pm.
A chance to build on online shopping empire
Aside from SmartMart, three other notable online grocery services have emerged in Pakistan and seem to be well stocked with the right array of goods. These are AaramShop, PakistanGrocery, and Doorstep.pk.
That first one, AaramShop (pictured above), might prove to be a tough rival to beat in this sector. AaramShop is an Indian ecommerce company that expanded into Pakistan in August last year. It operates in Pakistan in conjunction with local retail chain RedBox Groceries, which allows the website to ship items quickly – and requiring no cumbersome warehouse inventory – direct from RedBox shops. It’s currently focused on the city of Karachi.
With no oligarchy of supermarket chains in Pakistan – unlike in the US and many other nations – it’s a chance for startups in Pakistan to build an online shopping empire around the foodstuffs that we need to stock up on every week.
(Creative Commons-licensed photo by Flickr user katerha)