Before the advent of modern day online shopping the Postal Service had long been delivering parcels to any person it had been addressed to. In the olden days students from the districts even purchased books through the Postal Service.
The present form of online shopping and the delivery of the purchased goods to the customer started in Myanmar with the delivery of bottled purified drinking water. Then it progressed to delivery of goods purchased online after the advertisements of the goods on TV or the Social Media. These were mostly dresses and beauty products ordered by customers, largely females. It is learned that sometimes the goods delivered were somewhat different in form and quality from those advertised. However except for those who were “once bitten, twice shy” the local online shopping culture has grown immensely drawing in many customers.
With the coming of the Corona Virus-19, and the limiting of peoples’ mobility, online shopping, especially for food items, increased “leaps and bounds”. Nowadays we see food deliverers of many delivery services flitting all over the city on their bicycles and delivering food to customers wherever in the city they are. The delivery charge is mostly added on to the price of the delivered item, be it food or other items, though some food shops have the ordered items delivered free of charge. The cost of the food item plus the delivery charge is given to the person delivering the goods at the customers door-step. (In some cases now at the gate of the housing complex if the delivery man/boy is not allowed to enter the premises for fear of bringing in the dreaded Covid-19 virus.)
Online shopping and the delivery of goods is somehow keeping many small and medium businesses running in spite of the Pandemic. From that perspective on line shopping or as some label it, “e-Commerce” is like a “silver lining to the dark clouds” of retail business slow down. However there are some online businesses which are not very “honest” so to speak. There have been cases where the quality and physical characteristics of the purchased items, particularly food items, have not been as expected. When a complaint is made to the seller, all sorts of excuses are given. Such happenings are fortunately rare and online shopping especially for food and medicines are a boon indeed in the time of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Fortunately the Covid-19 Detection, Prevention and Treatment Central Committee’s quick action in checking the spread of the Pandemic has controlled both the Infection Rate as well as the Mortality Rate to some extent. It is expected that e-Commerce and online shopping will continue to thrive even after the Corona Virus-19 Pandemic has hopefully, died down. If so e-Commerce has to be regulated so that the people are not swindled by dishonest online “shops and establishments”. First of all, those wishing to conduct trading over the internet would need to be registered and/or licenced like all other “businesses”. There must be rules made in order to protect the citizens (customers) from being “conned”. Perhaps the present Consumer Protection Law can be extended to cover consumers and the businessowners in the domain of online business. Most online businesses shops and establishments would be more than willing to abide by the law considering the amount of business online shopping culture can bring them.
With charity to all and malice to none.