There was a time when shopping used to be an annual affair right before the Puja season or in some parts, during the pre- Christmas season in the north eastern corner of our country. But the times, they sure are changing. First came the mall culture which changed the way the north east shopped. And then came an even bigger wave – Online Shopping! Forget the Pujas, forget Christmas, forget Diwali, nowadays, any day and any hour is shopping hour. Whether it be national pioneers like Flipkart, snapdeal, myntra or international biggies like Amazon and e-bay, the huge virtual world of online shopping is on a mega splurge!
Talking about the changes it brought to the shopping culture in the north east, virtual shopping is surely the way ahead. During the pre-mall times, shopping used to be quite a tiresome experience (not for all though), roaming from one shop to another in search of that elusive piece of apparel that finally pleases our hearts after scanning through roughly ‘millions’ of them. After that, things were definitely better when we started to have all our required accessories under one roof but even then there were some roadblocks. The major one being the hectic schedule of the modern city life which makes it quite difficult for the common man to venture out as his heart wishes. Online shopping has come as a boon for all of us busy souls. Hilly terrains in most parts of the region makes logistics a major hurdle in the north east. This in turn might prove to be a stalemate for many a brands of our liking. Establishing a retail outlet might not turn out to be a rosy affair for some as transportation and taxes might eat up a major share of their profit pie which eventually results in some much admired brands and designers showing a cold interest in the region. What online shopping has done is for them to mark their presence in the region even without having a physical outlet here. This comes as a major welcome stride for the shoppers of the region as they can now wear, use and ‘breathe’ the same names that their counterparts in other parts of the country so proudly boasted.
Although at the very onset, some doubts might have persisted with the not so net savvy shopper about the quality of the goods available online and their exchange policies. But as time went on and the wave engulfed more of the region, such ‘Doubting Thomasses’ too had to rest their quizzical minds.
The North east is surely a major developing market for the virtual marketplace. Studies show that most of the north eastern states feature among the top states i the country that search for the term ‘Online shopping’. Major online shopping sites are planning to open up more warehouses in and around the region to meet the increasing demands from the region which again proves the importance of the north east in the national schemes of these giants.
Although, not all states of the region have been properly covered by the companies and the most prominent reason for this is the problem of logistics. It is not easy to transport and fulfil orders at all locations of the region and it is mainly the states of Assam and some parts of Meghalaya that is well mapped up. The response that the online shopping spree has generated in the region, might still be much less than what the northern or southern states generate, but nonetheless, it is encouraging enough for the giants of the virtual shopping world to step up their operations in the region. More tie ups with government agencies like India post and other private transporters and couriers in the region with definitely result in much higher range of area covered and thereby result in a much wider population circle of the region getting the benefits of this revolution.