Online firms eat into business pie of city footwear traders

Online purchasing activity has severely affected the wholesale and retail footwear business in Vijayawada, which is considered the hub of footwear business. Nearly 100 wholesalers export footwear to all districts in Andhra Pradesh.  About 60 manufacturing units are producing footwear and another 400 retail shops do the business.

However, with the increase in online purchasing activity in the city, the traders have lost 20 per cent business during the last few months.  Due to huge publicity being given by online business giants, a large number of buyers are purchasing shoes, flip flops, sandals, sports shoes, running shoes, casuals and leather footwear online.

The online companies are offering discounts throughout the year.  Due to increasing purchasing power, above middle class and rich are buying many pairs of footwear and using them for different occasions.

Buying footwear online is very easy. By sitting home, the buyers can book online and can get home delivery in ten days. G Gopi, manager of the Popular group showroom in Gandhinagar, said the customers are comparing the prices of footwear online and the retail shops in the city with the help of smart phones and bargaining for lesser price.

He said the smart phones are providing information within minutes. He said that the retailers provide service to the customers in case of damages to the product but the online traders don’t give such facility. He said nearly 100 wholesalers are involved in the footwear business in the city, and even export to other parts of the State.
He said nearly 20 percent business dropped due to online purchasing in the city. B Anil, proprietor of footwear manufacturing unit, in Hanumanpet, which is the wholesale trading centre, said the footwear industry in the city is facing many problems due to online purchasing.

He said shortage of skilled workers is the most important problem being faced by manufacturers. He said the government is also not giving support to the footwear industry. He said the traders have to bear many kinds of expenses and they can’t sell at the price that is offered by online trading giants.

Local traders have to pay shop rent, salaries to the workers, electricity bills and meet other expenses to run the shops. So, they are not in a position to sell the products at the price offered by online traders. The online traders buy goods in a bulk quantity and sell all over India. The local traders can’t buy in such a large quantity and could not sell at lower price, said K Mahesh, another trader in Gandhinagar.

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