Shopping.lk has been around for quite some time, albeit a bit under the radar. On paper, it sounds impressive. The Sri Lankan online retail store makes a business out of directly importing stuff, and right now it’s one of the easiest ways for Sri Lankans to get stuff down from Ebay: apparently they connect directly with the Ebay API, allowing Sri Lankan consumers to buy stuff without a credit card or Paypal account – direct bank deposits, credit / debit cards and even Dialog ezcash is accepted. Money processing, delivery and refunds are entirely handled by the team. Which, once you think of it, is a rather neat and easy way of sidestepping the whole Sri Lanka-Paypal issue and getting down those Bose earbuds.
Estimated Time Remaining Before Launch:
5 Days, 17 Hours, 35 Minutes, and 39 Seconds
As it turns out, Shopping.lk is down – they’re reskinning the site into a more user-friendly version. Based on the demo we were pointed to, Shopping.lk is going to look like Ebay Sri Lanka – complete with bidding. Anyone who’s been on Ebay will immediately feel at home here. In fact, if you want to know what it’s going to look like, just go to Ebay: there’s not much point describing something the world knows so well.
Despite the Ebay-ish interface, browsing the selection can be slightly frustrating. This is mostly due to poor categorization. There are main categories, but no subcategories available, leading to a lot of vague searches: “Computers / memory” is one such example. As any netizen will point out, almost anything that can be plugged into a computer can be thrown in that rather bloated category. “Electronics and Gadgets” is similarly vague and contains everything from MicroSD cards to portable LED lights to cloth cover cases for tablets. Shopping.lk attempts to make up for this with a very decent set of criteria / options in the left-hand search bar. Unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, it’s going to be quite difficult to find what you want.
From an item perspective, Shopping.lk is impressive. Everything in the store has clear (and lengthy) explanations, specsheets, with detailed information given on shipping, refunds and so on. What makes the deal sweeter is that you don’t have to look for high-rated sellers and pray your item arrives properly. Shopping.lk’s sellers are vetted for accountability and everything else is handled. All you (literally) have to do is click and pay. The site however lacks the recommendation systems we’ve gotten used to – what it displays instead are items by the same seller, often without any relation to the stuff that you’re interested in.
Overall, shopping.lk has a very solid concept, a thorough back process and a passable site design. This is only based on the site preview / demo we were pointed to, so here’s hoping they look into the details and user experience: once they do, this’ll be a rather useful site for everyone in Sri Lanka.