COVID-19 has been a boon for e-commerce startups the world over, with the quarantined masses having had no choice but to fulfill their needs via online purchases and digital transactions. Thus, it’s hardly a coincidence that so many ventures peddling e-commerce solutions have sprung up in recent times.
Pakistan itself has witnessed an e-commerce boom. The country’s e-commerce market size grew by over 35 percent in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2021, settling at Rs96 billion compared to the figure of Rs71 billion during the same period last year. Clearly, there is an excellent opportunity here for budding e-commerce vendors, created by the massive usage of online platforms to purchase everything from edibles to gadgets.
Serving as an e-commerce platform is one thing, but helping businesses out there create their own online stores is something else intriguing altogether. And let’s not forget its significance, considering how businesses across Pakistan, especially small/micro businesses, have been severely impacted by COVID-19, either because they had to shut down or contend with low consumer activity as a result of all the SOPs.
For such businesses to be able to shift their services online is a godsend for them, especially because not everyone has the requisite technical knowledge to launch an online platform and it helps to have the right solution that allows you to create your own web store in the cheapest and easiest way possible.
This brings us to two super exciting local e-commerce solutions – Dukan.pk and Chikoo – that allow their customers to set up an online store in pretty much the time it would take you to make instant noodles. They have both been founded in 2021, both of them are the culmination of the work put in by some of the nation’s leading tech veterans, and ultimately, both of them are helping floundering businesses survive during these difficult times by giving them an online space.
Without further ado, let’s dive right into what makes these e-commerce tools so good and what distinguishes them from each other.
What they offer
While both Dukan.pk and Chikoo empower their customers to conveniently create an online outlet for their business, there is some nuance that separates both of their offerings.
Built using state of the art technological tools like Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Progressive Web Applications (PWA) alongside infrastructure like Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services, Chikoo “provides a single-window solution for web, conversational commerce and aggregator-platform e-commerce orders”. It comprises an easy-to-use system featuring merchant-first ordering, out-of-the-box payments, and logistic integrations.
On the other hand, Dukan.pk provides a platform that not only takes care of payments, but also handles delivery of goods/supplies and basic accounting. Plus, upon analysis of the business’s track record, it even hands out “instant affordable loans” to the business to help it grow.
Therefore, upon a cursory glance, it appears that Dukan.pk has more to offer and is willing to work more closely with businesses to keep them afloat.
Ease of use
Both Dukan.pk and Chikoo feature an incredibly user-friendly interface, and all you need to do to get things going is to enter your phone number. For people with minimal technical knowledge, you can’t come up with a simpler way of kick-starting an e-commerce journey.
However, Dukan.pk ultimately takes the cake in terms of time taken to launch a web store. While Chikoo will “setup your online store in 3 minutes”, Dukan.pk allows you to “create your web store in 29 seconds”. That is an incredible lead, and one that will definitely sway consumer decisions.
With 201-500 employees as per LinkedIn data, Chikoo is definitely the larger of the two startups. In contrast, Dukan.pk has no more than 10 employees.
I personally find this one to be the most interesting metric for comparison, because if there is one thing that would compel business owners from a diverse set of background to trust your solution, it’s testimonials from other business owners like them. Naturally, both Dukan.pk and Chikoo have used made sure to use that fact to their advantage.
Both startups have taken a different approach here, however. Chikoo’s testimonials come about in the form of pictures of apparently satisfied business owners on its home page. Dukan.pk, meanwhile, has a whole YouTube channel featuring short clips of business owners explaining how the ecommerce solution has helped them.
And that’s pretty much it as far as a comparison of these two e-commerce solutions is concerned. Having recently graced the local space with their presence, both of them have already had a considerable impact on a variety of businesses.
What is for sure is that both Dukan.pk and Chikoo have taken a significant step towards empowering budding businessmen and entrepreneurs, regardless of their backgrounds and technical skills.
As Chikoo co-founder Raza Matin said, “We are incredibly excited to see what Pakistani entrepreneurs, in all sectors, male and female, achieve when we finally give them the tools to compete on an even footing with everyone else.”