The popularity of online shopping has been increasing thereby making showroom owners in shopping malls jittery. There is more than a three-fold increase in revenue generated through e-commerce as compared to last year.

With close to 240 websites/portals available for bringing home a handkerchief to apparel to gizmos, the online shopping pattern has been changing in metros and tier-1 or tier-2 cities, where broadband internet connectivity has penetrated.

In Vijayawada, the sale of electronic goods is stagnant with people preferring websites like Amazon and Flipkart to get the latest cell phones or laptops at discounted prices. “We have not yet faced the real challenge, but those days are not very far when we will. The margins have come down to rock-bottom,” said P. Sriram a mobile phone shop owner.

There were 73.9 million net connections by March 31 catering to about 14.5 crore people, which has changed the way 75 per cent net users (aged below 35) shop.

Most popular among the e-commerce websites are Snapdeal, Myntra, Flipkart, Amazon.in, Naaptol and Yebhi etc. which have been doling out massive price cuts/ discounts on purchase of popular brands of apparels, footwear, electronic goods, coinciding with the upcoming festive season. Good grassroots level logistics and delivery/distribution network in Tier-II cities is also aiding this trend.

One of the most popular apparel and cloth showroom chain M&M also wishes to enter into online sale.

“People are looking at designer products or speciality apparel online, while it will take a long time to wean away the traditional buyer from stores as they need to touch and feel,” say Dinesh and Kiran, who represent M&M.

At Ripples Mall, Shoppers’ Stop and Lifestyle, some single brand outlets, people have started comparing prices online with those available there.

Some brands and showrooms have started giving matching discounts to ensure customers are not weaned away during the current festive season. “Impulsive buying and those not having time are definitely attracted to online shopping,” says Mr. Dinesh.

Showrooms are witnessing a decrease in the number of visitors as all branded apparel, accessories, jewellery, gifts, footwear are available at a cheaper rates and delivered at the doorstep in three to four days.

Scanning a vast variety of products from the cool confines of their homes without time barrier comes as an attraction for some. Myntra, which specialises in apparel and footwear and HomeShop-18 had been offering 10 per cent to 50 per cent discounts, while perfumes and leather bags, winter clothing are selling like hot cakes.

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