Ecommerce retailer ShopClues has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC), Delhi to market products made by artisans and craftspeople belonging to minorities, assisted by the NMDFC. ShopClues will offer upgrades by means of the quality of products, marketing skills and training and will help them upgrade their catalogs periodically.

The training will be provided to vendors through phone or Skype and will include topics like merchandising, quality management, packaging, soft skills and shipping. It will add a new page called ‘e-karobar’ on its portal. NMDFC works towards providing concessional finance to minorities for self employment or income generating activities.

ShopClues claims to have over 100 million monthly visitors on its site, 3.5 crore listed products and 400,000 merchants. It ships to over 29,000 pin codes in the country and was founded by Sanjay Sethi and Radhika Aggarwal.

Funding & IPO: In January, ShopClues raised an undisclosed amount of funding to focus on building and rolling out new products to enable SME merchants to digitize their business. YourStory pegged the deal at $100 million. At that time, Aggarwal said that the company is looking to hit the markets with an IPO in 2017. In January 2015, the company raised $100 million.

ShopClues made multiple hires in the last year:

– In October 2015, it appointed former PayU India’s director of engineering Gyanesh Sharma as AVP of engineering.

– In September, it appointed Arun Goel as its Vice President for products, to focus on developing scalable products.

– In June, it appointed Nitin Kochhar, former senior director of business development at Flipkart, as AVP of Categories and Animesh Kumar, who is a founding member of the online fashion store Fashionara, as Associate Director.

Recent developments in the Indian handicrafts space:

More and more ecommerce marketplaces are seeing value in offering unique/specific products from the Indian arts, handicrafts and apparel industry, giving rise to multiple partnerships.

– Last month, the Telangana State Handicrafts Development Corporation tied up with Amazon India to sell their local hand-made ‘Golkonda’ handicraft products on the e-commerce portal.

– In August 2015, NDTV’s ecommerce platform IndianRoots tied up exclusively with Government of Bihar’s Upendra Maharathi Shilp Sansthan to showcase the artisanship of Bihar’s handicraft makers on the platform. A month before that, it partnered with Banka Silk, a handloom brand from Bihar to sell products made by local artisans of Banka district in Bihar on its platform.

– In June 2015, Snapdeal launched a special ecommerce zone at Dharamshala, in a partnership with the Himachal Pradesh government to enable small and medium sized business to go digital. In February 2015, it launched a variety of products from the manufacturers at Dharavi for sale on its website.

– In March 2015, Paytm opened a branded store called “Garvi Gurjari” which showcased products from the Gujarat State Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation.

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