Online retail therapy: A guide for Pakistani shoppers

Published: November 5, 2011
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There is no need to fly to Dubai for your fix of designer goodies. Online shopping for Pakistan is here!

There is no need to fly to Dubai for your fix of designer goodies. Online shopping for Pakistan is here! PHOTO: PUBLICITY Shopping online in Pakistan was never this easy

There’s no therapy like retail therapy. Whether it’s window-shopping, trying on multiple outfits, or finding something cute on sale, shopping may lead to a state of euphoria akin to falling in love. And now, it doesn’t matter where one lives as long as there’s Wi-Fi to enable one’s virtual shopping fix.

An example of online shopper’s adrenaline rush: clicking your way through an online bidding war with a young woman in Tokyo over a handbag made in Italy that’s sold in America and, if you succeed, your prize is subsequently shipped over to you in Pakistan.

Yes, you’ve got it right; as Pakistan-based consumers, we’ve been used to visiting online shopping sites and browsing the “what country are you?” dropdown menus and seeing no ‘Pakistan’ option between ‘Oman’ and ‘Panama.’ So it comes as a pleasant surprise that our country has finally been added to a growing number of international retail sites, along with the PKR currency option (where available).

Call it a global marketplace or a shrinking world economy, retailers are increasingly focusing on international customers and franchisees to mark profits or even help keep afloat. Worldwide vendors like International Checkout and Fifty One provide retailers with a global customer base by handling the entire export process for them. For example, Macy’s (a popular US department store) expanded its international shipping destinations to include 91 countries (including Pakistan, yippee) last June reflecting a globalized outlook and customer base.

While shoppers are required to pay international retailers via credit card or Pay Pal, Pakistan-based businesses offer multiple channels of payment, including wire transfer and C.O.D. (cash-on-delivery), for shoppers uncomfortable with providing their credit card information. Along with shipping to clients within Pakistan, some businesses also ship worldwide.

Retail therapy is just a few clicks away (collective sigh):

– Department Stores: everything under the sun, from apparel and accessories to toys and furnishings.

Bloomingdales the famous ‘department store with it’s signature ‘brown bags’ offers a tasteful array of merchandise.

Macy’s frequently has great sales of mid-priced brands.

Marks and Spencer is a UK favourite for basics.

Harrod’s is a legendary Knightsbridge retailer that delivers luxury gift hampers, among various other categories of goods

Saks Fifth Avenue has an array of luxury and mid-priced labels.

Desi: Sanaullah offers lawn collections and apparel for women, men and children online as well as at its Karachi location.

– The High Street: shopping mall staples.

A Pea in the Pod carries various maternity labels for expecting mothers.

Dorothy Perkins offers fashionable apparel for young women

Athleta provides gym outfits and sports accessories for women.

Banana Republic carries preppy attire for men and women.

Bebe retails women’s apparel and accessories.

Old Navy has casual, low priced clothing for men, women and kids.

The Gap is synonymous with casual, all-American clothing for men, women and teens.

True Religion offers trendy denim collections for adults and children.

Desi: Gul Ahmed retails unstitched and stitched apparel for women and men on its site in addition to retail locations around the country.

– Boutiques: focusing on distinctive styles.

Gypsy retails Hollywood trend-inspired clothes for adults and kids.

Kitson is a trendy LA based boutique for women, men and kids.

Magaschoni is a stylish New York based women’s label.

La Redoute French budget-conscious fashion for adults and children

Miss Me carries jeans and casual apparel for women.

Posh Girl Vintage sells pre-worn styles including retro and 70s.

San Diego-Harley Davidson offers biker inspired apparel for men, women and kids.

The Row has sophisticated apparel and handbags for women.

Desi: Elan is a high-end, Lahore-based couturier that provides an online order form for clients in all locations.

Desi: Shahzeb Saeed offers made-to-order men’s formal shirts

Multibrand designer boutiques: featuring contemporary labels.

Basic includes Rebecca Minkoff.

Revolve Clothing: includes Marc by Marc Jacobs.

Boutique 1 is a Beirut and Dubai based retailer of luxury couture for women and men including Elie Saab

Shop Bop includes Alexander Wang.

Accessories and beauty

Desi: Enchanted Jewels by Saba Ghauri are sold at multibrand boutiques and shipped in Pakistan and worldwide.

Desi: Jewelicious is a Lahore-based retailer of affordable jewelry.

Desi: Krizmah showcases its handbag collections that are crafted in Chitral.

Desi: Luscious Cosmetics offers deliveries of its products within Pakistan.

Desi: Bell’a’nama retails crafted accessories including bangles

Teens and 20s: trendy and low priced outfits

Arden B featuresoutfits for teenaged girls and young women.

Miss Selfridge is a popular UK label featuring fun apparel and accessories for girls.

Wet Seal carries casual ‘Juniors’ styles for girls.

HauteLook a multibrand retailer of labels including Urban Decay.

Quiz Clothing offers low priced, trendy clothing for girls and young women

Desi: Uth Oye! offers trendy T-shirts for guys and girls.

Desi: Goddess Collection by Shen  provides trendy casuals and party wear made to order in Karachi.

Desi: MyOffstreet provides online retail listings for major cities.

Kids: newborn to 14 years.

Alex and Alexa carries children’s luxury brands including Roberto Cavalli and Burberry.

Baby Gap retails classic all-American casuals from newborn to 6 years.

Delish Apparel Imports  retails US labels like Bonnie Jean and Rare Editions for little girls via C.O.D. in Pakistan.

Dija offers online orders for children’s desi clothes based out of Lahore.

Gap Kids retails classic all-American casuals from 7 to 14 years.

The Children’s Place offers cute apparel at recession-friendly prices.

Desi: Swirly twirly Hair Bows sells handmade hair accessories for girls.

Undies: Note to drooling male customers—models aren’t included with your purchase.

Fig Leaves features many brands for women, men and teens along with sleepwear.

Jockey specializes in no-frills cottons for men and women.

Victoria’s Secret offers swimsuits, clothing, shoes and, of course, lingerie.

Shoes: from stilettos to sneakers.

Chinese Laundry retails trendy women’s footwear in materials including genuine and faux leather.

Foot Locker is a major retailer of athletic footwear from Puma to Ed Hardy.

LK Bennett is a High Street brand favoured by the Duchess of Cambridge.

Piper Lime offers shoes, apparel and accessories for women, men, teens and kids in various labels including Kate Spade and J Brand.

Desi: The Shoe Snob retails footwear from Hong Kong and Singapore from Xenab’s Atelier in Karachi.

Reading and Leisure: books, Kindle, eReader, DVDs.

Amazon USA and Amazon UK offer a wide selection including books, clothes, gadgets and gifts.

Barnes & Noble primarily focuses on books and gifts.

Overstock provides various categories from jewelry to office.

Desi: Click DVD  is a Lahore based DVD delivery service.

Desi: Go DVD is a Lahore based DVD delivery service.

Desi: Kitabain is an online marketplace for buying and selling books, an offshoot of The Reader’s Club

Desi: Liberty Books is a Karachi based bookseller that also offers online purchases.

Home: décor, furniture and gadgets.

Crate & Barrel is a stylish destination for interior and exterior furnishings.

Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids offers a cozy array of home interiors and accessories.

Desi: ShopaholicPK is a source for discounted appliances and gadgets for home and office use.

Party planning: from weddings to kids’ parties.

My Little Cupcake specializes in cupcake pops (mini cupcakes on sticks) in various flavours and delivers worldwide.

Party Pail offers themes for celebratory events including birthday parties and baby showers.

Desi: Funky Bakes are made-to-order cupcakes and cakes in Islamabad.

Desi: Mahj Design Studio is a Karachi based design service specializing in invitation cards that delivers worldwide.

Desi: Nirala offers mithai-delivery services in Pakistan and worldwide.

Desi:Party Place is a children’s event planner based in Islamabad.

Desi: Party World Crafty Creations retails birthday themes and rentals in Karachi.

Desi: Sugar n’ Crumbs features a detailed online order form for specialty cakes in Islamabad.

Desi: Trinketz is an Islamabad based designer of birth and wedding announcements.

(Note to readers and retailers: please feel free to add more retail hyperlinks in the ‘comments’ section below).

laleen.khan

Laaleen Khan

An international columnist and media consultant who Tweets @laaleen

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://laaleen.blogspot.com Laaleen

    Some of these are huge corporations but others are small businesses that would appreciate customers’ supportRecommend

  • Faria Syed

    Thanks for this super comprehensive reference Laaleen. you are awesome.

    Recommend

  • Parvez

    When I see Laaleen Khan I make it a point to read because of the chance of learning something different and sure enough you have not disappointed me.Recommend

  • Ussama

    Well I really appreciate that a list has been organised but many of these sites ship their products with more expensive shipping costs rather then free delievery. Anyays a great list. Thanks Recommend

  • http://www.accidentallyhuman.com Sanya Shiraz

    Haha, nice.Recommend

  • MAXX

    Implying 99% of our people even own a credit card which works online. Our nation requires food, petrol, electricity and gas, not purchasing fashion wear online. Please write articles which are more useful for all our society instead of targeting 1% because We are the 99%.Recommend

  • http://laaleen.blogspot.com Laaleen

    Thanks for your kind comments, everybody.

    @Usama, international shipping is expensive but there are discounts sometimes–one of the UK sites even has a free international shipping offer going on right now (unfortunately, I can’t recall which one it was). The Pakistani sites offer free or low cost courier services so try those.

    @MAXX: Sorry to disappoint you, but you need to stop reading categories like ‘The Good Life’ and start reading The Economist. What did you expect? After all, blogs are for the small segment of our population that has internet access (duh). The title of this post isn’t deceptive, it specifies that it’s about fashion, the retail industry and consumer behavior. Doesn’t make sense for you to read it in the first place since it’s so beneath you and a waste of your time.Recommend

  • Adeel Ahmad

    Cool stuff… I’d definitely be saving this page up.. Recommend

  • Mj

    Exorbitant shipping costs and duties really sour the great bargains by making the final price 2-3x the original.Recommend

  • MBN

    Well FINALLY!Recommend

  • Sidra

    The sites usually charge shipping which is much more than what the actual shipping would be to Pakistan. I think the best way to do it is have a relative send it over. Pretty much every Pakistani I know has some relative sitting in England, US or Canada. And then you could do the same sending for them with shalwar kameez. If any girls want stuff from sephora or any other brand name stuff, maybe we could figure something out because i really need shalwar kameez and those online groups with $200 cotton suits are way out of my budget! you can message me at the email above.Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Pugnate Noman Ansari

    @MAXX:

    hahaha dude what is wrong with you?

    Also, get a UBL Wizcard. You can add money when you need to use it, and it works on most websites online.

    No, I am not a UBL employee. Recommend

  • Ess

    just4girls.pk (don’t go after its lame name :P) is a great place to shop in Pakistan for all the International makeup and other beauty stuff.
    I am a big online shopaholic. I find it so much more easy. And your guide just gave me huge list of new places. Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/#!/nadia_zaki nadia

    Niceeee! and LOL at the not finding Pakistan between Oman and Paname , thats soooo true!Recommend

  • far

    asos.com does free delivery to pakistanRecommend

  • http://www.shop24live.com Omar

    Shop24Live.com offers discount prices on all items and free home delivery in pakistan.Recommend

  • sikandar Hayat