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  • Varsha Jaiswal

E-commerce - A New Way For Artisans

India is the world’s largest producer and supplier of handmade crafts. After all, itis the home to a about nine-million-strong weaver and artisan community that has formed 600 handloom clusters. Such artistic talent flows throughout our country.These artisans work hard every day to bring out cultures and traditions to our daily lives through their beautiful artifacts. But, although these lakhs of artisans are creating handicrafts in bulk, they couldn’t reach a wide mass as expected. Furthermore, these artisans are exploited by middlemen and traders, resulting in their wares going for low prices. Unfortunately, the sector is plagued with challenges — producer communities are hugely disaggregated with low capacities, lack of a transparent and traceable system that can ensure an equitable supply chain, inability to market the products nationally, high interference of middlemen, and low selling prices. The major problem was providing a massive marketplace for these products, and thus restricting its reach to a larger mass. These local artisans require indeed a global marketplace to sell their products. These gaps were recognized by various e-commerce companies like Flipkart, Amazon, CraftsBazaar, Shopclues, GoCoop etc., and, so are working on bridging it. Whether it is having a larger reach for their creations or demanding a better price for their crafts, these online platforms assist gifted rural artisans to continue their livelihood.

AMAZON KARIGAR:-

Feeling the requirement to provide a special place for such sellers on Amazon to catch everyone’s attention, Amazon has launched a dedicated program for artisans- AmazonKarigar program to enable and aid the Indian artisans and their platforms.The store is designed to encourage such artisans to sell handicrafts and encourage people to support them and buy their products. Amazon Karigar engages with various government and handicrafts bodies to on-board more sellers. The online store includes products in different categories like handloom, handicrafts, and other Made in India products. Amazon has partnered with several government bodies to help the artisans come forward and gain recognition for their work. They support the sellers in kickstarting their business by facilitating all the required help like documentation, registration, etc. Amazon Karigar offers various benefits and services to the sellers to help them grow and establish their brands, such as Subsidized Referral Fee. This is the fee that every seller has to pay to sell on Amazon. For Artisans, this fee is capped at 8% or less. To make their experiences easy and smooth, Karigar sellers are provided personal training to help them through the marketplace, and these trainings are both offline and online (through webinars). Understanding the seller account and its management on their own can get a little trickier for some or most of the Karigar sellers, that’s why Amazon steps up to help the fellow artisans in handling their seller accounts during their business launch. Amazon representatives guide them through the entire selling process so they do not lag behind. As the sellers launch their business, Amazon helps make these products more appealing by providing an HD photoshoot. Amazon also assists Karigars in product cataloging. This helps them get their accounts live quicker and start selling.


FLIPKART SAMARTH

Flipkart Samarth has been designed to support artisans in their e-commerce journey from onboarding till they get familiar to selling products online. Walmart owned Flipkart on Wednesday launched a new initiative ‘Samarth’ to bring Indian artisans, weavers and handicrafts makers on its platform. The e-commerce giant, which is locked in an intense battle for leadership in the Indian Market, has partnered with five non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to help artisans use the online marketplace to sell their products. It provides various benefits such as dedicated assistance in terms of registration, listing your products, and cataloging; support of an account manager who’ll help artisans to run business smoothly, free of charge for six months. It also provides a space in their warehouse for artisans’ products, send artisans need only 3 documents and 1 product to start selling. It organizes several sale events every month to give artisans opportunities to grow, and sellers events are organized very frequently where artisans can get in touch with Flipkart leaders and get answers to their queries. Apart from offering the most wholesome e-commerce platform to sell and become financially sturdy and independent, Flipkart Samarth also provides them with assistance to registration, listing and cataloging their products on the website. Beneficiaries are also provided with an Account manager as part of the program, who helps them set up and run their business smoothly. Basically, Flipkart Samarth ensures that their products are showcased in the most efficient possible way and are given the reach of the whole country.


SHOPCLUES

India’s first and largest marketplace SHOPCLUES has launched IndiMarket, a platform which will promote the Make in India vision by bringing the rich heritage of traditional crafts of Indian minorities into the limelight. It will not only showcase the crafts of India, but also brings the real craftsmen of India into focus. IndiMarket has more than 500 merchants on board and it includes a wide variety of items from footwear, fashion, home and kitchen, accessories, sports and other categories from different states of India. Interestingly, all merchants are trained through multiple modes to use the ShopClues interface for uploading their products, pricing, description mapping and quantity updating, shipping and other operational guidance to ensure that they have a smooth seller experience on the platform. ShopClues has been working with artisans and other Institutes such as NIFT, NID and Indian Institute of Packaging to train and help artisans under the USTAAD banner to sell their products on its marketplace. At IndiMarket sellers are trained in the use of the Shopclues interface for the purpose of uploading products, their prices, description mapping and quality updating and shipping. Merchants are also provided guidance in other operational aspects through multiple modes to ensure a smooth ecommerce experience on the online retail platform.Shopclues has been collaborating with government associations and bodies which team up with indigenous artisans and SMEs. The online marketplace also promotes rural entrepreneurship through specialized activities.


GOCOOP

It is an online social marketplace for India’s cooperatives and community-based enterprises which is working with more than 70,000 producers and aims to impact a million weavers and artisans, in the next five years. It connects artisans, weaver co-operatives and clusters directly with consumers across the World. It enables sustainable livelihoods for artisans by ensuring fair prices to them, and authentic handlooms and crafts to you. This national award winning Global platform brings together handloom, handicraft artisans and cooperatives, delivering authentic, handmade products, ensuring fair prices for both buyer and seller. The aim is to create and support sustainable livelihoods for India’s 9 million weaver and artisan community, while promoting handmade, natural and sustainable products to consumers globally. It is the winner of the first national award for handlooms marketing (e-commerce) by ministry of textiles, govt of India. Fundamentally, GoCoop was started to bridge these gaps and provide a sustainable livelihood for the producers. With a firm belief that technology can drive social change, Siva established the company in 2012 as the first online, easy, and transparent sourcing platform in India. It is a transparent organisation wherein there’s no differential pricing. We share the same price that is quoted by the weavers. GoCoop charges a commission of 12–15 percent which is taken in to consideration by the weavers before they quote the final price. Its financial practices are extremely fair. Every producer receives their payment within two working days as opposed to 15 working days on other e-commerce portals. With an inventory-less model and cluster-based approach, GoCoop has less than one percent product returns.


CRAFTSBAZAAR

To enable skilled artisans to sell directly to Indian and global consumers and earn better, Kashmiri girl Aparna Challu launched CraftsBazaar in 2016 in Bengaluru.Encouraging direct sourcing, bootstrapped CraftsBazaar eliminates middlemen and thus increases income for artisans. As a social impact venture, CraftsBazaar also provides a strong supply chain and consumer-centric marketing. It takes care of the entire process for artisans, from the setting up of a store to delivery in India and abroad. It takes care of the entire process for artisans, from the setting up of a store to delivery in India and abroad. CraftsBazaar crossed Rs 1 crore in revenue in its first year.


According to a report, government will “soon” launch an ecommerce portal for artisans and rural weavers across India to showcase their traditional craft. According to two senior government officials, the idea is to make sure that artisans can directly sell their products to consumers, eradicating middlemen. The platform, spearheaded by the Ministry of Textiles, will help consumers get sought-after products at affordable rates. The artisans will also get the right value for their time-tested skills.



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