April 2015

“Big Platform for Small Ventures”

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Big-PlatformTaking cue from the fast-catching rage of eCommerce, the government has initiated steps to help MSMEs sell their products far and wide using its eCommerce portal, msmeshopping.com

Selling your product online through an eCommerce portal helps in expanding your reach and building up your brand. Nowadays, you can buy apparels, machinery, gadgets as well as raw material for your business, yourself and your loved ones online.

According to a Gartner report, the Indian eCommerce market will reach $6 billion in 2015, a 70 per cent increase over 2014 revenue of $3.5 billion.

“Digital commerce is at an emerging stage in India. However, India is one of the fastest-growing eCommerce markets in Asia-Pacific,” says Praveen Sengar, Research Director at Gartner.

Keeping this growth of eCommerce market in mind, the government has also been working towards connecting small enterprises to the consumers through information technology.“Digital commerce is at an emerging stage in India. However, India is one of the fastest-growing eCommerce markets in Asia-Pacific,” says Praveen Sengar, Research Director at Gartner.

The National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC)’s B2C e-commerce portal— msmeshopping.com—aims to help Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country sell their products online.

The site offers vast range of products in various categories, like Computer and Peripherals, Mobile and Tablets, Home & Decor, Sports goods, Fashion & Apparel, Health & Beauty, Stationery & Books, Machinery and much more.

The sites have over 100 suppliers, who have listed more than 1,000 products on the site. The portal was launched on 31st July, 2014 and so far a large number of brands from Tier II and Tier III cities are already connected to it.

msmeshopping.com is a low-cost marketing platform for MSMEs, enabling them to sell retail products as well as industrial equipment and machinery all around the country.

According to MSME Minister Kalraj Mishra, “Small businesses play a very important role in nation building. The B2C portal is a holistic, innovative and low-cost marketing platform for MSMEs, where they will be able to sell retail products as well as industrial equipment/machinery online. It will be immensely benefitting for both buyers and sellers.”

How to list products 

Sellers can list their products online through a simple registration process. They need to fill up an online form with details like name, email address, company name and postal address.

Just by paying an annual fee of `5,000 + taxes (`5,618 at the moment), which can be paid either by online modes using credit cards, debit cards, netbanking or offline mode like demand draft or cheque, a person can register himself or his company.

They can also download the registration form and supplier agreement and submit those to the nearest NSIC branch.

After registration and NSIC activation, sellers can submit their products’ details for approval. These products will be visible on the site once these are approved by the NSIC team.

A user-friendly portal

Minister Kalraj Mishra

Minister Kalraj Mishra

It is not that if a person, who has never used internet or has never uploaded an image, cannot use msmeshopping.com. In order to educate the sellers to enhance the reach of bulk products, NSIC guides sellers on how to use the portal, upload images of products and other relevant details.

It also tells the sellers on how they can check the status of sale record under the dashboard report provided in the panel.

Multilingual support

The site offers an option to users to change the interface language to Indian languages like Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

This helps buyers from small cities in different states to get connected with the sellers.

This also helps the ministry reach out to merchants even in Tier II and Tier III cities, who might not be well-versed with English.

NSIC CMD, Dr H P Kumar, says, “The shopping portal will be a boon for small businesses to take their products to every corner in the country. The portal facilitates online marketing and retail selling services, wherein MSMEs shall be directly connected to millions of buyers across the country through internet with a minimum expenditure. In addition, MSMEs can also set up individual web stores, which are like retail shops, selling products without any geographical boundaries and remain open 24 x 7, being a virtual shop.”

Payment mode

The site only offers Cash on Delivery as a payment mode, with plans to add other offline payment methods like Demand Drafts (DD) and Cheques. There doesn’t seem to be any plan to introduce online payments at the moment. The site also charges a flat `200 shipping fee across the country.

MSME Secretary, Madhav Lal, says, “The shopping portal is the need of the day. In the last half-a-decade or so, particularly in developed countries, SMEs also use eCommerce by adopting completely new business practices, or changing the ways in which they interact in the marketplace.”

Other eCommerce initiatives

Similarly, the Ministry for Textiles signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the eCommerce company Flipkart. As part of one of its kind agreement, Flipkart lists products from rural Indian handloom weavers and craftsmen on its platform.

The weavers can sell their products under their brand name and Flipkart (or its business partners) sets up collection centres to collect these products from weavers and artisans.

Flipkart also provides them with infrastructural support in data analytics, marketing and customer acquisition to scale up their businesses. This includes providing market intelligence and data analytics to artisans in areas like deciding the right selling price, payment automation, proper packaging, transportation, and brandbuilding exercises.

This tie-up is quite similar to Flipkart’s MoUs with FISME (Federation of Indian Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises) and NCDPD (National Centre for Design and Product Development) in 2014. Flipkart has promised to list products from 50,000 SMEs as part of this initiative.

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