Staff at Maya Handicrafts Jewelry in Thamel, are busy these days managing delivery for handmade silver jewellery ordered by customers in Kathmandu, Butwal, Pokhara, Dharan, as well as from outside Nepal.
The store has seen its online sales peak despite the pandemic, making for up to 70% of total transactions. Encouraged by their success, the owners opened Nakkali, to sell gold-plated jewellery. Up to 90% sales are currently conducted through digital platforms.
“Nepalis now have an easy access to online shopping because of increased Internet connectivity. This, coupled with better online service has translated into healthy digital sales. The pandemic has only accelerated the growth,” says Samir Shakya of Maya Handicrafts.
Following the Covid-19 lockdown, Glambisque, an up-and-coming Nepali cosmetics brand, shut down its stores in Lazimpat and Labim Mall. Since then, the two-year-old company has been operating only online. The sales have been more or less the same, but 100% driven by digital transactions.
“At this rate we won’t even need to have physical stores anymore when things get back to normal,” says Shalini Rana of Glambisque. “People weren’t comfortable with online shopping in the past. Lockdowns and safety protocols however forced them to try it out. And upon finding that it’s reliable and convenient, they have now gotten used to it.”
Small and medium businesses like Maya Handicrafts Jewelry and Glambisque use social media sites like Instagram and Facebook, to market their products. Increasingly, more companies are also using e-commerce platforms like Daraz and Sastodeal to advertise their goods.
Payments are usually made via e-wallets (e-Sewa, Khalti, IME pay) or by cash on delivery. Goods are either home delivered or couriered if clients are outside Kathmandu.