Eid celebrations from the safety of your homes
After a long day of working from home, I decided to browse through a perfectly curated website of a prominent brand selling ethnic wear. All their products are neatly organised into different categories for ease of choosing and within five minutes, I was able to find the perfect item to gift my mother for Eid. As I went to the checkout window, I was faced with a variety of payment options – from debit cards and credit cards to different mobile financial services. I chose to pay with my debit card and within a matter of minutes, the payment was done and all I had to do was wait a few days for the product to arrive.
This is the second year in a row that we will not be visiting a shopping mall filled to the brim with people getting their last minute shopping done the day before Eid. In fact, that scenario is the last thing we would want right now.
Although Bangladesh is known to be a country that celebrates numerous festivals, popularised by the saying "Baro mashe tero parbon", Eid-ul-Fitr is without a doubt the biggest celebration. And one of the key celebratory aspects of this festival is shopping for our near and dear ones. But we are in lockdown just like many other countries worldwide and even though some of the shopping malls are open for a limited window of time, visiting them is risky.
However, this does not mean that the spirit of Eid has to be completely absent. Eid is an occasion of giving and thanks to the growth of digital payments, we can still continue to do so from the comfort of our own homes.
Digital shopping was still more or less an alien concept for the majority of us this time around last year. But, over the course of the year, we have all familiarised ourselves with this concept, because we had to. Our go-to brands have also adapted to this change and most have built new websites or incorporated safe digital payment options into their websites.
Now, of course shopping online will never equate to the actual experience. But, one thing most of us will not really miss is the price hike and haggling during Eid. Expecting any kind of discounts while shopping for Eid was a distant dream. But, not anymore!
There is a range of cashback offers and discounts that come with digital payment and most of these offers have been curated with the occasion of Eid in mind. Shops like Kay Kraft are offering 15 percent flash discount offers for shopping with select debit or credit cards while other stores have similar offers for payments via select mobile financial services. Apex Footwear has an Eid discount code which can only be availed through online shopping along with an exclusive collection of shoes only available in their website and not in stores.
Obviously shoes and clothes do not sum up our entire Eid shopping experience. Eid means cooking a range of delectable items for one's family and distributing groceries to the less privileged. Grocery shopping has also been made easy online and a few might even prefer this over carrying heavy bags of groceries home. Online grocery delivery stores such as Pandamart offer free delivery and a range of offers designed especially to cater to meals prepared for Ramadan and Eid.
In case we do not want to cook meals and just spend time with our family that is also covered by the delivery stores and restaurants. Pathao offers 15 percent discount for payment through select cards along with special Ramadan discount codes and other cashback offers. We might miss sitting in a packed restaurant with all our close friends or just trying to find a place to eat right at the last minute, but for the time being, we shall have to settle with video calling all our closed ones while ordering in the meals.
Electronics and furniture are another huge purchase that occurs during Ramadan as most people like to invite their friends and family over for Eid to a newly decorated house. And these sectors are not holding back either. Along with the discounts and cashback offers for shopping online, electronics and furniture stores are also offering free delivery and installation of their products.
Now that you have brought all the necessary items for yourself and your loved ones, how will you take it to them? There is no need to risk going outside at all as you can safely send them parcels through various delivery stores; and, with Pathao, you can also avail a 20 percent flat discount while doing so.
As I scroll through more offers, my mind still unwittingly shifts back to the days of exhausting myself by walking from store to store trying to find the best deals and making sure that I am not getting the shorter end of the stick. Now, the best deals can be found at our fingertips and can also be crosschecked with other similar offers. Although there was some sort of delight in shopping side by side with a hundred others and racing to get your hand on the best outfits before the last piece is sold out, it is not something we can hope for anytime soon.
But, Eid is an occasion of giving and giving is the true joy that Eid brings to everyone. The spirit of this festival can still be kept alive and the occasion can be celebrated much more safely and effectively if we shop online and utilise the power of digital payment.