MSME Shopping

(By Riddhi Mukherjee & Vikas SN)

National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) has launched a B2C e-commerce portal called msmeshopping.com, that aims to help Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country sell their products online.

The site is being positioned as a low-cost marketing platform for MSMEs and will enable them to sell retail products as well as industrial equipment and machineries.

NSIC CMD HP Kumar mentions that they will also provide necessary facilities to prospective entrepreneurs and startups to learn processes in technology development, business development and online product purchase among others.

At the time of writing this article, the site offers products across various categories like Computer and Peripherals, Mobile and Tablets, Home & Decor, Sports, Fashion & Apparel, Health & Beauty, Stationery & Books among others. It claims to currently have  110 suppliers who have listed more than 1,000 products on the site. Kumar mentions that they are expecting to add 3,000-5,000 suppliers over the next one year.

MSMEShopping.com webpage

Signing up & Pricing

Sellers can register on the site by filling up an online form with requisite details like name, email address, company name and postal address among others and paying an annual fee of Rs 5,000 + taxes (Rs 5,618 at the moment) either by online modes like credit cards, debit cards, netbanking or offline mode like demand draft or cheque.

Alternatively, sellers can also download the registration form & supplier agreement and submit them to the nearest NSIC branch. It’s worth noting that sellers need to have a retail outlet and should be selling with active inventory to be eligible for registration.

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

Flawed Indic approach

What’s interesting here is the site offers an option to users to change the interface language to Indic languages like Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. This will allow the ministry to reach out to merchants even in tier-2 and tier-3 cities who might not be well versed with English.

However, the implementation is flawed since it doesn’t really change the interface language. Rather, it opens a pop-up to translate that specific page using Google Translate and if you visit any other page, the interface is back to English. (Also read: E-commerce in India will go the Indic way soon – #NAMAindic)

Payment modes for consumers: Also interesting is the site only offers Cash on Delivery as a payment mode, with plans to add other offline payments like Demand Drafts (DD) and Cheques. There doesn’t seem to be any plans to introduce online payments at the moment. The site also charges a flat Rs 200 shipping fee.

E-commerce initiatives for SMEs

It’s worth noting that e-commerce companies like Amazon and Flipkart also investing significantly to improve its seller base. Last month, Flipkart had also signed a MoU with FISME (Federation of Indian Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises) and NCDPD (National Center for Design and Product Development) to list products from 50,000 SMEs as well as provide them with infrastructural support in data analytics, marketing and customer acquisition to help them scale their business.

The company had raised $1 billion investment earlier this week while Amazon had announced that it will be investing $2 billion in India to support its growth and improve the customer & seller experience in the country.

E-commerce marketplace eBay India had also tied-up with various trade associations earlier this year, following which these trade associations had agreed to use eBay platform to sell their products.

P.s. I wonder why MSMEShopping.com has disabled right click on their site.