For years, girls and women have had to go the market to buy rakhis ahead of Raksha Bandhan. Now, in the age of booming e-commerce, a slew of websites have launched attractive offers that make buying rakhi a simple online experience.
Praveen Sinha, founder and managing director of Jabong.com, says "Online shopping has not only saved time and (helped people avoid) long queues at post offices (to mail them), but also made the experience worthwhile. Online stores offer a refined variety of valuable gifts and rakhis to its customers. We are offering a limited and exclusive collection of rakhis as we know there are people who are looking forward to online shopping rather than buying rakhis from overcrowded markets," Sinha told IANS.
According to a report by industry lobby ASSOCHAM, the overall online retail industry in India is likely to be worth Rs 7,000 crore ($1.1 billion) by 2015 and the credit goes to easy internet access and availability of broadband services. However, sectoral figures were difficult to estimate.
Other than Jabong, portals such as Amazon, High5store.com, Giftxoxo.com and Giftsmate.com are focusing on easing the process of rakhi purchases by letting them choose from a wide array of products and delivering the products nationally as well as internationally.
"We see Raksha Bandhan as a great occasion to connect with our consumers. In line with our vision to enable consumers to find, discover and buy anything, we have worked towards bringing more selection and variety in our rakhi store, which is a perfect blend of traditional and changing trends," Vikas Purohit, category lead (Fashion), Amazon India, told IANS. "Customers no longer need to fret over an appropriate choice of gifts, especially for their loved ones in faraway places," he added. Some like High5store.com and FabFurnish.com even offer a complete pack with a gift, rakhi, sweets and tika (vermillion).
"People living in a city do not get enough time to visit relatives, even those living close in the next block. In this culture, buying rakhi online is coming up as a much-preferred option," Vineshkumar Kunhiraman, founder and managing director of High5store.com, told IANS.
Simple threads with trinkets, cartoon character inspired ones to Rakhis with zari-work, studded ones and those in silver or with precious stones are some of the hot-picks at e-commerce sites.
"Rakhis with cartoon characters are a big hit with kids. Rakhis with zari work, designer rakhis with American diamond work and Thali rakhis are making a trend," said Purohit.
Customised rakhis are also making a trend this season. "A lot of people are going for personalised rakhi
options, where one can personalise the thread with a name or message. Also, threads with Rudraksh, pearls and beads are grabbing customers' eyeballs," said Manoj Agarwal, co-founder of Giftxoxo.com.
Additionally, many websites are luring customers with additional discounts and gift coupons for the occasion.
"At Giftsmate, we have come up with an enticing range of Rakhi gifts for all. So, be it a newly married brother, little brother or your sister, one can choose gifts amongst various categories - regular and personalised rakhi threads, greeting cards, personalised t-shirts for brothers and sisters," Amit Sharma, director of Giftsmate.com, told IANS.
Jabong is offering free silver-plated coins with the rakhis, while High5store.com is offering 50 percent off on rakhis, and products are also offered with sweets and gifts to complete the celebration. What's more, prices begin from as less as Rs 50! So, what are you waiting for