The conventional method of retail shopping or the bricks-and-mortar seems to be slowly fading into oblivion with more people in Oman choosing to shop online.
While most believe onlines shopping saves time and offers varied options, there are many others who are scared to plunge in fearing cybercrimes.
Jessica Asher, founder of Alatool Muscat said, ‘Online shopping is catching up everywhere including Oman. eCommerce initiatives by the government too are a big support. Telecom companies play a big role too, with better Internet packages being offered.
‘It’s plain easy, convenient and cheaper with one-click decision. Then why not. Alatoolmuscat.com tries to offer the best deals in Oman, be it services, products or even online education packages.
‘We want to ensure that our platform offers nothing but the best for our users and we give good exposure to merchants via alatoolmuscat.com.’
An official from roumaan.com, a popular shopping website in the country, said there has been a surge in online shopping.
‘We have been in Oman for the last five years and there has been an increase in online shopping. We also come up with offers from time to time. Our platform offers a varied range of products. We deliver products within a span of three to four working days for a charge of RO1.30 (within Muscat) and RO2 (outside Muscat). Over time, we are seeing that more and more people are finding it comfortable to shop on our platform because of the diverse range of products we offer.’
From home products to food items and DSLRs to perfumes, Oman’s online shopping portfolio has widened over the years.
Fatmah al Naamani, an entrepreneur, said, ‘I have been into online shopping for a long time and I find it more convenient than conventional shopping. These days I buy almost everything from sites like fordeal and Amazon.
‘The main advantage is that unlike at malls I do not have to spend time standing in queues and the choices are varied. I save time and the options are easily available on the site in various colours, sizes as well as prices,’ said Fatmah.
Another big advantage is that items are delivered at one’s doorstep, she added. ‘Many websites also offer exchange options. I shop for dresses, gardening tools, home and kitchen appliances as well. However, there are drawbacks as well. Some items like clothes don’t match the description when you get them. There are times when the size is not right. I recommend purchasing the largest size.’
Mohammad Najeeb, an Indian businessman who has been working in Oman for the last ten years, said, ‘Until a few years ago, people were sceptical about online shopping. But gradually the trust has grown.
‘Alatool Muscat came up in 2012 and it took the market by storm. There were easy, diverse and class products ranging from perfumes, restaurant deals, courses, mobile phones, household items, etc. That online platform won the trust and proved naysayers wrong.’