by Ilhak Tantray
SRINAGAR: The transformation brought about by online purchasing and e-marketing is reshaping the offline company and entrepreneurial landscapes in Kashmir. The ease and speed of internet shopping have altered consumer behavior, leading to a preference for online shopping anytime and from anywhere.
This shift has affected offline advertising, with many small businesses experiencing reduced earnings as customers increasingly favor online over in-store visits, even when physical stores offer discounts and incentives.
Omer Nazir, a local Palhallan shopkeeper, remarked, “We consistently witness a decline in earnings, prompting the closure of small businesses.”
The price sensitivity of customers has heightened with the ability to easily find the best deals online, prompting offline retailers to adjust their pricing practices to remain competitive.
In an attempt to rival the convenience of online shopping, physical stores enhance the overall customer experience through investments in appealing designs, personalized service, events, and technology utilization to attract and retain consumers.
Rauf, a seller of counterfeit goods, noted, “Despite attractive layouts and excellent customer service, customers still aren’t turning to our small shops, leading us to make significant discounts and offers, resulting in losses.”
Dar Javed, a shoe vendor in Hyderbiegh, Pattan, lamented, “Our business has suffered significant losses due to online marketing, impacting our sales and profits.”
Imtiyaz Ahmad, a delivery boy, highlighted the efficiency of online buying, stating, “I deliver around 60 orders daily in a specific area. Online shopping saves time and energy for customers.”
Despite efforts by store owners to increase sales through promotions, buyers in Kashmir remain skeptical about this method of marketing.
Showket, a clothes vendor, expressed dissatisfaction with the impact of internet shopping on their inventory and urged clients to visit physical stores for a better shopping experience.
Zubair Gojree, an experienced retailer, emphasized, “The silent disappearance of small establishments from the market is an undeniable reality, a consequence of the formidable challenges presented by the surge of online shopping.”
While online purchases carry inherent risks, such as uncertainties about product fit, color, or condition, it is crucial to acknowledge that offline channels remain a significant source of new business. Many customers value the tactile experience and immediate gratification offered by in-person shopping.