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   Thursday, 22 April 2021
Lifestyle

NOT ESSENTIAL, BUT ESSENTIAL

Sandeep Sen

Illustration: Ratna Sagar Shrestha/THT
Illustration: Ratna Sagar Shrestha/THT

NOT ESSENTIAL, BUT ESSENTIAL

With shift in customer behaviour, people have adopted online shopping; are ordering books, clothes and skin-care products in the latter days of lockdown

KATHMANDU

Reading books has very much been a part of Dinesh Karki’s lockdown routine — he reads books during his leisure time, and finishes one in one sitting if he likes it.

The businessman who began to read as a way to utilise his free time during his work-related travels is a voracious reader. He has completed about seven books including the Bhagavad Gita in PDF format during the lockdown.

“I was done reading the books I had during the lockdown,” shares this Kirtipur resident who has a collection of around 400 books.

He even reread some of books from the collection including Palpasa Café, Mayur Times and Khushi.

“I was looking for new books to read,” when even books started getting home delivered more than two weeks ago. And Karki got what he wished for. Now 10 more books have been added to his collection amidst the lockdown.

Earlier it was only groceries and other edibles that were being delivered to the doorsteps as they were considered essentials. As the lockdown was extended, other items like books, clothes, skin-care products and make-up items have started being delivered to homes much to the delight of customers.

Bhupendra Khadka, Founder Chairperson of Book Hill Publication, began delivering books two weeks ago, after he felt people had finished reading the books they have in their possession as “they had started looking for e-books and the likes”.

Books are being delivered making sure that safety guidelines and measures are being observed. He offers fiction to non-fiction books and a few English-language books to select from.

According to Khadka, it is the intellectual group of people who are ordering varieties of books as per their interest.

This shows that books are also essentials in a critical situation like this, opines Khadka.

“Reading books has not only remained as something to pass time during the lockdown but something to gain knowledge and to share with your family members,” he adds.

Tara Nidhi Regmi, Proprietor of Sunbarsi Book House in Kathmandu, also felt the need to take books to readers.

“People are trying to read new books but they don’t have access to them due to the lockdown — book lovers were/are waiting for new books to read as it is their habit to read,” he believes.

He started to deliver the books to the readers of the eastern Nepal from his brother’s book store in Itahari on June 7.

“I feel we should have started delivering books earlier,” he says.

A few stores have resumed or started selling clothing items online and deliver them at customers’ doorsteps. Basemark is one of them. As people are not able to come to their three stores in the Valley, they have opted to deliver their offerings to customers’ homes since June 2.

“We thought it was not possible in the beginning but our customers inquired and suggested to take this path,” shares Gaurav Pathak, CFO with Basemark.

Winter was coming to an end when the lockdown began. Now it is summer and they are selling summer wear. As per him, they are getting about 17 orders a day in which summer apparels and sportswear are going well.

Twenty six-year-old Anita Pandit recently bought summer outfits like tops and pants online. “I didn’t have summer clothes,” the Sorakhutte-resident shares.

She couldn’t buy new summer clothes before the lockdown as it was the end of winter then. As she saw good designs of summer wear and cute tops, she immediately bought 10 pieces.

Another reason why she bought new clothes was that she was out of new clothes to wear for TikTok videos. “I try to wear new clothes for the videos,” she shares.

With nowhere to go due to the lockdown, she shares she will wear those new clothes to take pictures apart from TikTok videos.

Make-up and skin-care products are also being delivered. “There were orders since the beginning of the lockdown but we were not being able to deliver due to safety concerns,” shares Neha Sharma, Founder of Prettyclick cosmetics.

She believes skin products like moisturisers are as essential as toothpaste, and thus they resumed to sell online and delivery service from the beginning of June. People are placing order for skin care products as well as make-up, Sharma shares.

Lockdown has been difficult for all and Sharma believes there has been a shift in customer behaviour.

“People were hesitant to order online and would prefer to go to a store and buy things after going through a lot of options,” she explains adding, “Now, they have started to use websites and social media to shop due to the lockdown.”

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 15, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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