KARACHI: Craving chips at midnight? Wish you didn’t have to run out to buy a pack of cigarettes? Need a bouquet for a wedding? The answer to your shopping problems may be here. “Now you don’t have to panic for your urgent needs — just relax and call Khadim Online,” states the flyer for the service which promises to deliver anything priced between one rupee and Rs100,000. Whether it is groceries, cell phones, DVDs or medicines, the delivery service will get it to your doorstep - for a charge of Rs100.
According to Saleemuddin Khawaja, the general manager of Khadim Online, the service kicked off last April and has had a “great response.”
“It was our boss’s idea,” he said, but chose not to name him. It is a sister concern of Zain International, which also runs Ginogenelles and Ciao Italia. “We add at least two to three new customers every day,” he said. “We are trying very hard.”
They get at least 20 to 30 orders daily but this varies. Flyers have been distributed in Karachi to advertise the service and the company is also planning to place advertisements on channels run by local cable television operators. Delivery charges are higher for areas other than DHA and Clifton, where Khadim Online is based. It employs up to eight riders and can also provide customers with services of electricians and plumbers. While the hotline is only operational for 14 hours, they hope it can be extended to 24 hours.
“We get a lot of requests for medicines and grocery items,” Khawaja said, “which we buy from high-quality supermarkets such as Agha’s and Ebco. In addition to residences and offices, we get orders from hotels as well because they do not have their own delivery services.”
Grocery deliveries is not a new concept for Karachi. Dozens of grocery stores have been offering this service for decades now, but it is usually restricted to nearby houses and apartment buildings. Last year, the upmarket coffee shop chain Espresso started a delivery service as well. You can even purchase BlackBerry phones from mobile phone operators such as Mobilink that will deliver to your residence. A service for delivering DVDs, DVD Direct, also operates in the city and “offers a vast selection of English and Indian movies, as well as TV shows.” Resourceful Karachi’ites also have a well-established network of bootleggers and drug suppliers on speed dial who make house calls.
While Khadim Online promises it “will do your work” so you can “forget your tensions and relax”, that comes with a caveat. The service “will not deliver any haram, intoxicating or banned illegal items”. Khawaja told The Express Tribune that they do not get requests for these items because the condition is listed on the flyer.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2011.