The odd-even rule has created confusion among customers and IT retailers fear it will dampen demand for IT products
Under the new, relaxed guidelines of lockdown 4.0, the IT brand stores of Nehru Place reopened on a jubilant note. The returning of customers to the stores which were closed for the last 55 days have brought a cheer to the stressed IT retailers. CRN India spoke to large IT retailers of Nehru Place to understand the early response to sales and challenges being surfaced.
Although, the first day of the sales and customers footfall to stores have met the expectations of the IT retailers, the odd-even rule has created confusion among customers and has further delayed the purchase due to logistic challenges.
On the opening of Nehru Place IT stores Alok Gupta, President of Delhi-NCR IT association, PCAIT said, “We are ensuring all the norms of government is strictly followed. It has been explained to showroom owners. Proper sanitisation at each showroom with social distancing is maintained. We are requesting administration and police to not to allow illegal hawking at Nehru Place premise. All shop owners have agreed to follow odd-even norms.”
Himanshu Gupta, owner of SSDN Techsolution and also one of largest Lenovo IT retailers in Nehru Place, owning four stores, told CRN India that the first day of reopening of stores was very encouraging. The store sales have been 70-80 percent of average sale, even customers are taking less time in buying products with focused purchase.
In the view of Gupta, organised markets like Nehru Place should be kept out of purview of the odd-even rule. Nehru Place caters to focused IT needs of consumers; hence it requires a separate status and can’t be treated like other flea markets. The odd-even formula is a big dampener for IT retailers and it has created confusion among customers, therefore they are delaying the purchase of IT products. Being a specialised market, Nehru Place cannot be treated like other unorganised retail markets. We are however, disappointed with the odd-even restrictions. Rather than applying same rule to all markets, the government should take decision market wise.”
Seconding his thought, Manoj Gupta, owner of Lapcom Peripherals, who owns six IT stores in Delhi, of which two stores are located in Nehru Place, and four rest of Delhi said, “We are very disappointed with the slow response to the reopening of stores. We opened our stores with high expectations, but due to the odd-even formula, customers are inquiring about product pricing over phone and they prefer buying online. With the lack of local transportation and parking, customers are not returning to the stores.”
Manoj also added, “Even from the point of consumers, it is very inconvenient as it will deprive the consumers from their choice since half of the shops will be closed for each day.”
One or the largest HP retailers in Delhi and NCR, Awanindra Singh, MD, ComputerLand, who owns 10 retail stores across Delhi and NCR, of which some are located in high street malls and in Nehru Place said, “The opening of IT retail stores in Nehru Place is a big relief to us, the closing of 10 stores during lockdown was a huge burden, but we are very jubilant to see the strong uptake of sales at our Nehru Place stores. We managed the overcrowding of our stores with the help of our back office. Overall, it was a good start to our business.”
However, opposing the odd-even scheme, Singh added, “Not just the customers, even retailers are very confused with this rule. With lack of staff and transportation, we are not able to run our stores optimally.”