Dial skype for sarees

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Retailer innovating ways  to woo online customers.

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Are you looking forward to join the wedding shopping jamboree of a cousin or relative? Hold your excitement. For all you know, she may have finished her shopping on Skype and all you get to do is be part of the conference call.

From organising Skype conference calls to emailing high resolution photos of wedding Kancheepuram silks to the entire extended family, silk saree retailers are going the extra mile to please their tech savvy customers.

While other cotton sarees and casual sarees have been popular on e-commerce sites, heavy Kancheepuram wedding silks were always preferred to be physically examined, scrutinized and draped before buying. But over the last year, silk saree retailers say they have seen a sharp increase in online sale of wedding silks. Retailers like Nalli, RmKV and Sri Palam Silks have ramped up their websites, offering an extensive range of sarees.

“I recently had an NRI customer who did all of her family’s wedding shopping online and on Skype for about Rs 2 lakh,” said K Sivakumar , MD, RmKV Silks. The company has over 3,000 sarees on its website and a lot of NRI customers buy them from the site. “But not all stores have the same sarees, and not all can be posted online. In cases where the buyer wants to see similar sarees in other outlets, we connect with them on Skype and show them the designs they can choose from,” he said.

Garment retailer Pothys too, which has been selling its products online for years now, allows customers to use video call services inside the store, says S Ramesh, managing director , Pothys.

Sri Palam Silks, the brainchild of Jeyasree Ravi, who belongs to the Nalli family, too has noticed this trend, with one of her customers buying her entire wedding collection online. The store has been selling its products on its website for a year now, but has noticed an increase in online silk saree sales, and is putting in a lot of effort to assist customers who shop online. “When it comes to silks, the photograph of a saree can be very different from the original color. There could be a 20% difference. So we share this with our customers and also send in high resolution pictures of sarees they can choose from,” said Ravi. Also, considering that wedding shopping is usually a family affair, the retailer also makes the effort to mail the pictures to the entire family so they can collaboratively decide, she said.

With so many customers willing to shop online , the market is huge, retailers say. “But it takes a lot of effort. The time we spend with customers who shop online is more than that we do with them in the store. Having large scale operations online is as good as managing a different branch of the store,” Ravi says. She is, however, counting on her young daughter Sunitha to grow this business.

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