Post Covid-19, there was a rush for online platforms. Consumers hurtled towards digital platforms to buy products. However, this did not dent the morale of traders selling products offline. They have quickly adapted themselves to the changing demands of the time what with attractive prices and offers. Gupta Distributors, a reputed brand in the state, has lined up an ambitious plan to jack up its sales. Excerpts of an interview with its owner Rajesh Gupta.

How is Gupta Distributors different from others?

We have been working to ensure the delivery of good products at reasonable prices laced with offers. This sets us apart from others. We have been in this trade from 1972 and have since maintained good rapport with our customers. We are indebted to our customers for this. We provide a variety of products to customers under one roof. Apart from electronics products, we deal in home appliances, digital products and furniture (in select stores). Customers rely on our products because of guarantees on quality. Besides post-sale services, we are giving special offers to our customers.

What kind of help do you expect from the government?

The government is now laying a lot of importance on ‘Make in India’ and ‘Vocal for Local’. If the government promotes offline sales, traders can manage to save their businesses. There is a stiff competition among commercial traders, big format traders and online sellers. There is a big difference in purchase of products from big format traders and from traders like us. There is a need for a policy to ensure that manufacturers do not sell the same products at low prices to platform sellers. Due to sale price differences, carrying out business has been difficult. Due to competitive prices, we have marginal profits. As this problem continues, it will be difficult to tackle management costs.

After outbreak of Covid, people prefer online platforms. What is your take on this market trend?

Yes. It is a big challenge for us. Now, many customers are found coming to nearby stores to buy products as personal care products are involved in their buying menu. Touch and feel matters most to the customers. Customers think buying products through online platforms is cheaper, but it is not true. We also sell products at prices being offered by online platforms. We are going to prepare an online platform for Odisha customers soon.

Due to pandemic, sales of electronic products have seen a rough time. How big is this challenge for you? How do you brace yourself up to tackle the challenge?

After Covid outbreak, sales of consumer electronic products are witnessing a lot of problems. There is a two-digit fall in sales. After July, 2020, we saw a recovery in the market. But the volume of business that we had logged last year has not been done this year. Most electronic products are from China. As a result, brand partners face problems in supply of products. Such problems will continue in future. As prices of raw material are going up, prices of electronic products will go up. Such price rise will be applicable for most brands.

Is there any expansion plan in future?

Our services are available through 22 stores in the state. Apart from urban areas, we are also focusing on rural areas. Earlier, people from villages used to come to towns to buy electronic products. After expansion of the store network, customers are getting products at their doorsteps. Prices are the same. There is a scope for store expansion in Odisha. We are yet to make our presence in southern and western Odisha. We have a plan to open 50 more stores in future.

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