Online retail markets are seeing a heady increase in sales. A recent report unveiled by the research and consultancy firm RNCOS pegged the Indian online retail market to grow over four times to touch over Rs 88,000 crore by 2018. The numbers are certainly doing the talking. But to a weaver in Varanasi, who has been slowly losing out to power looms and new age marketing, e-commerce would have made little sense until now.
With an aim to make it an all-inclusive growth for skilled craftsmen of India, Snapdeal, one of the leading e-commerce players in the country, has launched a pilot project with India Post.
Under this initiative, facilitation desks have been set up at Varanasi post offices to enable local weavers to sell through an online platform. “Through this partnership we want to take Banarasi weaves to customers across the country. We aim to extend this project and include as many weavers and artisans in the country as possible,” says Amit Maheshwari, Vice President (Fashion) at Snapdeal.com.
The portal already offers a selection of Indian weaves under their Crafts of India section. However, to give Varanasi weavers an impetus and a platform to showcase their indigenous products, a special page has been created on the portal under the ethnic wear section for women titled “Weaves of Varanasi”. So if you are looking for a Banarasi silk sari with a heavy pallu, you will be directed to the sari section where weavers, a handful at the moment, have listed their products. For instance, Ragul Sri Saree Factory offers a silk sari in deep chocolate for under Rs 2,500. Soon, dupattas and stoles will be added to the collection.
Though the online space will give a fillip to the weavers, the quality of images on the site definitely needs to be better for the online shopper to make a judicious choice. A more detailed description would help too. “Once the customer places an order on the portal, the post offices will act as a dropping point for sellers, and India Post will be delivering it to the buyers,” says Maheshwari.
India Post, which has a wide reach in the country, would also facilitate cash on delivery. In the past, India Post associated with Snapdeal, to offer philatelists stamps priced between Rs 300 and Rs 5,500.