Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Shopaholic's Guide to Online Retail Therapy

A Shopaholics’ Guide to Online Retail Therapy in Pakistan
Laaleen Khan’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 pleasurable 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 U.S. 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 (listed below in green) 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!); here are 80 useful links to dent your wallets:
·      Department Stores: everything under the sun, from apparel and accessories to toys and furnishings.
o   Bloomingdales is synonymous for its signature ‘brown bags’ and offers a tasteful array of merchandise.
o   Harrod’s is a legendary Knightsbridge retailer that delivers luxury gift hampers, among various other categories of goods.
o   Macy’s frequently has great sales of mid-priced brands.
o   Marks and Spencer is a UK favourite for basics.
o   Saks Fifth Avenue has an array of luxury and mid-priced labels.
o   Sanaullah offers lawn collections and apparel for women, men and children online based out of it’s Karachi location.
·      The High Street: shopping mall staples.
o   A Pea in the Pod carries various maternity labels for expecting mothers.
o   Athleta provides gym outfits and sports accessories for women.
o   Banana Republic carries preppy attire for men and women.
o   Bebe retails women’s apparel and accessories.
o   Dorothy Perkins offers fashionable apparel for young women.
o   Gul Ahmed retails unstitched and stitched apparel for women and men on its site in addition to retail locations around the country.
o   Old Navy has casual, low priced clothing for men, women and kids.
o   The Gap is synonymous with casual, all-American clothing for men, women and teens.
o   True Religion offers trendy denim collections for adults and children.
·      Boutiques: focusing on distinctive styles.
o   Elan is a high-end, Lahore-based couturier that provides an online order form for clients in all locations.
o   Gypsy retails Hollywood trend-inspired clothes for adults and kids.
o   Kitson is a trendy LA based boutique for women, men and kids.
o   La Redoute French budget-conscious fashion for adults and children.
o   Magaschoni is a stylish New York based women’s label.
o   Miss Me carries jeans and casual apparel for women.
o   Posh Girl Vintage sells pre-worn styles including retro and 70s.
o   San Diego-Harley Davidson offers biker inspired apparel for men, women and kids.
o   Shahzeb Saeed offers made-to-order men’s formal shirts.
o   The Row has sophisticated apparel and handbags for women.
·      Multibrand boutiques: featuring contemporary designer labels.
o   Basic offers contemporary fashions from designers including Rebecca Minkoff.
o   Boutique 1 is a Beirut and Dubai based retailer of luxury couture for women and men including Elie Saab.
o   Revolve Clothing: provides labels including Marc by Marc Jacobs.
o   Shop Bop retails contemporary womenswear including Alexander Wang.
·      Accessories & Beauty
o   Bell’a’nama retails crafted accessories including bangles.
o   Enchanted Jewels by Saba Ghairi are sold at multibrand boutiques and shipped in Pakistan and worldwide.
o   Jewelicious is a Lahore-based retailer of affordable jewelry.
o   Krizmah showcases its handbag collections that are crafted in Chitral.
o   Luscious Cosmetics offers deliveries of its beauty products within Pakistan.
·      Teens & 20s: trendy and low priced.
o   Arden B features trendy outfits for teenaged girls and young women.
o   Goddess Collection by Shen provides trendy casuals and party wear made to order in Karachi.
o   HauteLook a multibrand retailer of labels including Urban Decay.
o   Miss Selfridge is a popular UK label featuring fun apparel and accessories for girls.
o   MyOffstreet provides online retail listings for major cities.
o   Quiz Clothing offers low priced, trendy clothing for girls and young women.
o   Uth Oye! offers trendy T-shirts for guys and girls.
o   Wet Seal carries casual ‘Juniors’ styles for girls.
·      Kids: newborn to 14 years.
o   Alex and Alexa carries children’s luxury brands including Roberto Cavalli and Burberry.
o   Baby Gap retails classic all-American casuals from newborn to 6 years.
o   Blush Fashions carries children’s apparel and costumes.
o   Delish Apparel Imports retails US labels like Bonnie Jean and Rare Editions for little girls via C.O.D. in Pakistan.
o   Dija offers online orders for children’s desi clothes based out of Lahore.
o   Gap Kids retails classic all-American casuals from 7 to 14 years.
o   Swirly Twirly Hair Bows sells handmade hair accessories for girls.
o   The Children’s Place offers cute apparel at recession-friendly prices.
o   The Kids Window retails children’s apparel and costumes.
·      Undies (Note to drooling male customers—models aren’t included with your purchase):
o   Fig Leaves features many brands for women, men and teens along with sleepwear.
o   Jockey specializes in no-frills cottons for men and women.
o   Victoria’s Secret offers swimsuits, clothing, shoes and, of course, lingerie.
·      Shoes: from stilettos to sneakers.
o   Chinese Laundry retails trendy women’s footwear in materials including genuine and faux leather.
o   Foot Locker is a major retailer of athletic footwear from Puma to Ed Hardy.
o   LK Bennett is a High Street brand favoured by the Duchess of Cambridge.
o   Piper Lime offers shoes, apparel and accessories for women, men, teens and kids in various labels including Kate Spade and J Brand.
o   The Shoe Snob retails footwear from Hong Kong and Singapore from Xenab’s Atelier in Karachi.
·      Reading & Leisure: books, Kindle, eReader, DVDs.
o   Amazon USA and Amazon UK offer a wide selection including books, clothes, gadgets and gifts.
o   Barnes & Noble primarily focuses on books and gifts.
o   Click DVD is a Lahore based DVD delivery service.
o   Go DVD is a Lahore based DVD delivery service.
o   Kitabain is an online marketplace for buying and selling books, an offshoot of The Reader’s Club
o   Liberty Books is a Karachi based bookseller that also offers online purchases.
o   Overstock provides various categories from jewelry to office.
·      Home: dĂ©cor, furniture and gadgets.
o   Crate & Barrel is a stylish destination for interior and exterior furnishings.
o   Pottery Barn & Pottery Barn Kids offers a cozy array of home interiors and accessories.
o   ShopaholicPK is a source for discounted appliances and gadgets for home and office use.
·      Party planning: from weddings to kids’ parties.
o   Essence Baking Studio is a Karachi-based cake and cupcake business.
o   Funky Bakes are made-to-order cupcakes and cakes in Islamabad.
o   HoMey Cupcakes is a Karachi-based ‘cupcakery.’
o   Mahj Design Studio is a Karachi based design service specializing in invitation cards that delivers worldwide.
o   My Little Cupcake http://www.mylittlecupcakepop specializes in cupcake pops (mini cupcakes on sticks) in various flavours and delivers worldwise.
o   Nirala offers mithai-delivery services in Pakistan and worldwide.
o   Party Place is a children’s event planner based in Islamabad.
o   Party World Crafty Creations retails birthday themes and rentals in Karachi.
o   Sugar n’ Crumbs features a detailed online order form for specialty cakes in Islamabad.
o   Trinketz is an Islamabad based designer of birth and wedding announcements.
o   Wedding Star retails wedding favours and accessories.
(Note to readers and retailers: please feel free to add more retail hyperlinks in the ‘comments’ section below).


Anonymous said...

omg! This is amazing! i got my sisters invitations from Mahj Design studio delivered to New York and they did an awsome job with it!

osama ahmed said...

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