Online stealing offline festive sales thunder

On Brigade Road, sales are going downhill for the fifth year in a row, says traders’ body, blaming online deals

The boom of sales at online stores has affected Deepavali sales at brick-and-mortar stores, say traders in the city’s central business district. 

Suhail Yusuff, secretary of Brigade’s Shops and Establishments Association and owner of SonyCentre, Brigade Road, says shops on Brigade Road have been losing out on festive sales.

“Online sales have affected our sales. There are just too many options for the public now. Traffic is a big hurdle; earlier, Bengalureans used to head from Sadashivanagar and Jayanagar to shop here but that is not feasible now,” he says.

Parking isn’t easy to come by in shopping areas, and that adds to the traders’ woes. Sales have tapered over the last five years, according to Yusuff. “And there is a 10 to 15 per cent decrease in sales as compared to last year’s festival sale,” he estimates.

Brands with full-fledged online websites say the overall impact hasn’t been so bad, though online does draw customers away.

Chaya Vathy, store manager of Trends, Kamaraj Road, says festive sales pick up because of the deals on offer. “Our sales have grown by 10 per cent since last year. We have Deepavali offers both online and offline,” she says. In some cases, customers check out products in physical stores and then buy them online. Accessory brands such as Fastrack on Kamaraj Road see this all the time.

A staffer says many potential buyers visit the store to check out sunglasses and watches, and some eventually pick them up online.“They compare prices after checking out the products at the store. Our business has gone down by 50 per cent despite attractive discounts,” she says.

It is not just the central business areas. Shops in other areas also report a decline in sales.

Jayakrishan Parthan, owner of Show Your Shoes, Chikka Banaswadi Road, Maruthisevanagar, says, “Combination offers online are robbing us of our customers.”

“Our Deepavali discounts are attracting our regular customers, and not new ones. We have a ‘buy one, get one free’ offer on our shoes and bags, but sales have dipped by 40 per cent as compared to 2017,” he says.  At Bollywood Shoes and Bags, Brigade Road, sales have dropped by 45 per cent compared to last year, according to Syed, who mans the store.

“More people opt to shop online as they don’t have to bargain. And they can shop from the convenience of their home,” he says.  

Golden Touch, a garment and shoe outlet on Commercial Street, is offering big discounts, but is not happy with the volumes.

“Offers on online platforms have affected our sales throughout the year. Despite our 50 per cent discounts on shoes and clothes, our sales numbers have gone down by 30 per cent since last year,” says M D Owais, owner.

He believes physical stores must take up the challenge. “Readymade clothes became a fad 30 years ago, and stitched clothes went out of fashion. Trends keep changing,” he says. Online shopping is the latest, and physical stores have to figure out ways to sell their wares, he reckons.  

‘Made in China’

Suhail Yusuff, owner of SonyCentre, Brigade Road, says online shopping comes with some risks. “Many products are made in China and they have no patent law. These items are imported and sold online,” he says.

 

Touch and feel

When buying things at outlets, customers can touch and feel the product. Size also becomes an issue. That is why some customers are still heading to physical shops.

- MD Owais, Owner, Golden Touch, Commercial St.

 

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Online stealing offline festive sales thunder

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