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Store bust

brunch Updated: Jul 29, 2013 10:13 IST
Prateek Walia
Prateek Walia
Hindustan Times
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We’ve bid adieu to the telegram, and it seems like cards and gifts stores might be next. Why? There are a zillion reasons, not the least of which are personalisation, convenience and timely delivery.

Websites such as and are coming up with novel gifting ideas — from mugs with photos of your loved ones to traditional sweets as accompaniments to gifts and special combinations offered at discounted rates. Be it Parents Day, Friendship Day, Raksha Bandhan or Bhai Dhooj, youngsters make sure they squeeze out enough time from their lives to log on, browse, choose the perfect gift and make the payment online — all in a jiffy.

Says Hitanshu Bhalla, chief executive officer of, a Chandigarh-based online gifts store, “Busy lives, varied tastes and a plethora of choices have changed the way Indians shop. Besides, who can overlook our customisaton, such as pasting your most memorable picture on the greeting card?” With over 4,000 templates of cards to choose from on their website, it sure is a difficult task!

To sail through competition, online stores are constantly luring buyers with interesting deals and discounts throughout the year. So much so that they have even surpassed free e-card websites such as in terms of popularity. Suffice to say, customers who have shopped both online and offline feel comfortable shopping via the internet, which saves them time and the hassle of maneuvering through traffic jams and crowded parking lots. “There is no reason for me to go to a store anymore, as I can customise a card as per my needs and even get it shipped overseas,” says Megha Sharma, a general manager in a private firm in Chandigarh, who often gets greeting cards shipped to her friends across the globe.

Another such online consumer Chitwan Sharma, a city-based IT professional, points out that most branded cards and gifts stores are fast fading out. “Store culture is definitely phasing out in the region. It is easy to see how very few Archies stores are running now as compared with a store in every sector market previously,” she adds, while recounting how special a dear friend of hers felt when she got a birthday card mailed to her last year with their picture pasted on it.
“When physical distances increase, a gift from your loved ones back home brings cheer. My brother, who is settled in Australia, loves traditional items. So, I make sure that I send him an Indian treat along with the Rakhi,” quips Rekha Magan, a 40-year-old working woman who has witnessed the growth of online shopping.

Store owners might be at the receiving end, but many insist all is not lost for them. “Online shopping sites are thriving, but they have made little impact on our business. There are still customers who like to come, feel the product and choose after having seen it in 3D. Not everyone is tech savvy,” says Raminderpal Singh, proprietor of Archies Gallery, Sector 22, Chandigarh.

Cost: Customised greeting cards bought online range anywhere between R150 to R200. Their delivery within the country is free.

Special offers: Special days invite special offers, such as this one by, wherein sending a postcard to your pal in any corner of the world on Friendship Day is free. All you have to do is log on to their Facebook page ( What’s more, even if you don’t have your friend’s address, you just have to give his or her phone number to them and they would get the address without revealing the surprise.

They also have interesting combinations of gifts to choose from, such as a ‘happiness bouquet’ comprising 12 roses in pretty packaging, a 500 gm butterscotch cake and Cadbury’s chocolates worth R150 — all at a total cost of R1,650. There is also a ‘carnation of paradise’ that has 50 red carnation flowers, a 500 gm butterscotch cake and a six-inch-tall teddy bear delivered at
midnight, costing R3,200.

You can also check out: Other websites offering interesting gifting options are,,,, and

Go, splurge!