BENGALURU: Fouzia S usually starts preparing for Eid celebrations almost a month in advance. From clothes to jewellery, she plans for everything way in advance. But this year the scene is very different. She went shopping at all her favourite boutiques and jewellery stores, but without actually visiting them: The stores had all made arrangements for customers to make purchases online. With Eid on Friday, Fouzia says that people would have been out shopping on streets, buying things for themselves and their loved ones had it not been for Covid-19.
“Since we fast for one whole month, shopping is one of the ways you keep your mind off from fasting. And the last 10 days before Ramzan, it is difficult for people to stay indoors,” says the IT professional. However, she didn’t want all the fun of festivities to be gone. “So the places I checked out all had a video call shopping option, where they exhibit their products online and I get to choose what I want,” says Fouzia, adding that since she has been a regular to these boutiques she is familiar with sizes and fits.
Not just high-end boutiques, some of the shops on Commercial Street, which would have seen a huge footfall at festival time, have also gone online to keep business going during the pandemic. Clothing store Clove in Shivajinagar is also testing the waters. “Business definitely is not the same but somehow we are trying to make do with what we have, and customers, especially regulars, have been quick to respond to this new way,” says Syed Zabi, a sales executive at the store.
He explains after the video call, once products are chosen, customers pay the bill online and get their products Dunzo-ed to their homes. Aruba Mariam, who runs a boutique called Aruba in Cooke Town, is also doing something similar. “I had tried video call shopping earlier but not like this when it’s almost a norm. This time I am only taking orders from freestyle fits because going back and forth to alter clothes could be an issue,” says Mariam who has been running the boutique for the past oneand- a-half years.
Gold stores too have had to make adjustments to cater to post-pandemic Akshaya Tritiya (also on May 14) customers. Sunil Nayak, CEO at Reliance Jewels, says the gold rush is very much there. “Consumers have expressed their interest to buy gold as a harbinger of good times, so we want to offer an enhanced online shopping experience. Gold coins bought will be delivered post lockdown and gold grammage vouchers can be redeemed once showrooms open and will be valid till June 30,” says Nayak. Validity of these vouchers will be extended if restrictions continue.