NEW DELHI :
A sharp fall in store footfall has led offline retailers to take customer orders on WhatsApp and offer virtual tours of their stores to shoppers.
A clutch of footwear retailers, jewellery chains and sellers of consumer durables and electronics are taking to alternative channels to push sales as consumers remain wary of visiting stores on fears of contracting infection.
Footwear retailer Metro Brands Ltd, which has opened half of its 500 stores, is using WhatsApp to communicate with its loyal customers.
“It’s really like royal treatment. Customers take a virtual tour of the store, pick their pairs, which are then home delivered by staff of local stores. The staff also carries additional sizes and designs for their comfort," said Alisha Malik, vice-president, e-commerce, Metro.
Bata India plans to scale up a pilot run using WhatsApp as a medium to reach out to shoppers. “The WhatsApp shopping service is available to both new and existing Bata Club members. It allows customers to remotely interact and shop from their neighbourhood stores by interacting with store managers, who share catalogues of curated collections. Once the customer selects, payment and delivery is organized by the store manager locally," Bata said last month.
Several retail brands are prompting shoppers with links to their websites and are evaluating various hybrid models that will let them service shoppers in a given city or neighbourhood. This will also help the brands build a direct relationship with customers instead of relying on marketplaces to sell their products.