Kozhikode: The online trade is eating into a major share of the consumer market in the region while the small and medium traders struggle to survive. Consumers opt for online purchase due to the price advantage.
Many shops are facing closure as they are unable to pay huge rents and the salaries of employees.
The online retailers just need a warehouse to store their goods and can sell them across the world through online automated platforms. On the other hand, the retailers need shops, employees, rent and security for taking shops on lease and work on a specified time, for which they take a bigger profit margin, say traders.
The traders of electronic gadgets like home appliances, mobile phones and accessories are the worst hit due to the invasion of online trade. The online marketers sell the products at Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,000 less than that charged by normal shopkeepers.
According to Mr M. Baburaj, owner of Raj Home Appliances, Koyilandy, the features of the products sold through shops and online may vary. "Therefore, the offline retailers also are trying to develop better marketing ideas," said Mr Baburaj.
Of late, the retailers of mobiles as well as other electronic gadgets have reduced the prices in tune with the online counterparts.
According to Mr P. Ravi, owner of Global Arcade, Koyilandy, customers who utilise the online shopping forums are largely middle class or upper middle class. "The lower middle class who don't have access to the internet technology still rely on the shops," he said.
"If this trend continues, it will soon eliminate the medium and small traders", said Mr C.E. Chakkunni, businessman here. "Now the online groups have systematic and foolproof mechanism to replace the damaged products which has made things tougher for physical traders," he added. "It was the fear of damaged or low-quality products that kept many of the consumers away from the online platforms," he added....