Annachis Vs Amazon: Retailers take on e-tailers

Chennai: Diamond cuts diamond, they say. After accusing e-tailing giants of eating into their livelihood with the help of internet and social media, local businessmen are now using the same technique to take on Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal etc.

“Dear friends, please note this festive season don’t buy any clothes or electronic products through Amazon or Flipkart. Our India is a big country and lot of small business people are here. They too have family. Please go to small shops and buy. Don’t make these American companies rich,” says a WhatsApp message from a textile shop owner, adding: “Forward this to minimum three groups.”

Another emotional post on Facebook in Tamil reads, “Dear Tamil people with tender hearts, festivals are lining up. Whatever your requirement is, please don’t buy it from online sites such as Snapdeal and Flipkart. Small traders are earning their dailybread only because of you and you are their only source of income. Please buy things from them and support them. Even if you are not satisfied with products in a shop, go to some other outlet nearby and not to online giants. Your visit and purchase is a great motivation and support to them. Your gesture will wipe out their tears, fill their stomach and quench their thirst.”

Says A S Babu, who runs a small business, “I can certainly say our price is less when compared to what is offered online and we give the same quality. But we don’t have the financial muscle to do carpet bombing like the e-tailing giants with front-page advertisements in newspapers and television commercials. So we are taking the simple and cost-free route– social media.”

S R Syed Abdul Kadhar, who runs a textile shop, says, “We were initially afraid of e-tailers and it is true that they snatched away our business. But we are now determined to face the competition and we rely on our customers. With their help, we will sure emerge victorious.” He however requests the government to keep a tap on predatory pricing of online sellers.

Tamilnadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peramaippu (traders’ federation) president A M Vikramaraja, who recently called on Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and urged the State government to adopt a resolution in the Assembly against allowing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the retail sector, says, “We are totally opposed to FDI in the retail sector which has led to the arrival of foreign online sellers. Small traders are here for generations and they are the backbone of the country’s economy. Abroad companies should not be allowed to kill small businesses.”

M Bhaskar Sai