With the normalisation of online shopping all over the world, it comes as no surprise that this has also become a prominent feature of Pakistan’s tech landscape. The availability of online shopping portals has changed the way we shop, and also what we are able to buy. With the introduction of websites such as eBay, it has suddenly become possible to access more than traditional retailers, by tapping into individual sellers.
Where before buying new and used items, especially tech products, was done solely through mobile phone shops and repair shops, now the need for the middleman has been eliminated. What is becoming increasingly common now is the direct sale and purchase of brand new or second hand items straight from the owner to the consumer without first having to sell the item to a shop owner, who would also take a portion of the potential profit.
One of the most popular websites in Pakistan that is providing an online portal where sellers can advertise their wares to potential consumers is HCPK.PK. This is not to be confused with Hafeez Center, the plaza in Lahore, which has its own tech products for sale in store.
HCPK.PK allows users to create an account and manage their profiles, either as a seller or a buyer. Users can post ads for free, detailing product information including pictures and specifications. Prices are listed clearly, along with the sellers name, contact number and an option for sending them a message.
What You Can Expect
The website shows classified ads by location, and covers over sixty cities in Pakistan, including the largest cities such as Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar, Faisalabad and Quetta, and others such as Sibi, Swabi and Mardan, to name a few.
Consumers can start by selecting a city from these options, or search directly for the product they want. Products range from mobile phones to video players, including: laptops, computer accessories, tablets, cameras, gaming consoles, software programs, music players, printers, fax machines, toys and CDs and DVDs, among other things. The site offers a vast range of products, which makes it a one-stop shop for anyone interested in getting good deals on their favourite tech products.
HCPK.PK Vs. Other Sites
There are other popular websites in Pakistan that rival the user base that hasfeezcentre.pk has built up, and the most prominent of these is OLX, which is also an online portal that displays classified ads, placed by individuals and businesses.
The primary difference between the two is that OLX offers a wide range of services, with classified ads available for everything under the sun, from pets to vehicles to real estate and job postings. HCPK.PK on the other hand, specialises in gadgets.
This means that while the site’s service range is not as extensive, its product range in terms of tech devices is larger and more detailed. HCPK.PK also has a blog, which gives reviews of new products that are available on the website. It also posts comparisons of different products, which can be useful for consumers who are trying to do some research on their desired product before they buy it.
A Successful Startup
HCPK.PK was started in July 2009 by a team of dedicated partners in Lahore. The CFO and co-founder of HCPK.PK, Anser Siddiqui (@imanser), has indicated that the site became successful quite early on, with the business starting to show a profit only three months after its initial launch.
The website is now one of the most popular sites for posting classified ads relating to gadgets. Having gotten such an early start, it has had some years now to build up a user base and a reputation. However, considering how many products are available and how many categories they fall into, the website does at first glance look a bit overcrowded, with too much information.
A Word Of Caution
Given the amount of information that is available online when sellers place their ads, there needs to be a process for ensuring the privacy of these users. While these websites do take some precautions, it is to be expected that some cases of fraud or misuse may happen.
A previous article by the Propakistani blog highlights the issues that can arise in these situations. For example, phone numbers may be mislabeled and misused, and cause problems for the owners of these numbers. Websites such as HCPK.PK and OLX have been taking measures to ensure the legitimacy of users and their information, but sellers and consumers alike should verify the person they are dealing with before completing their transactions.