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SMEs in the spotlight as e-commerce players look for tie-ups to increase seller base

Online e-commerce retailers like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon have recently started turning towards small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to find unique products for their marketplaces. These SMEs provide an assorted collection of products including clothing, handicrafts, accessories and jewellery among other things and in return get a platform for selling their products, plus training, infrastructure, logistical support, and technology from online retailers.

Such agreements benefit both sides. Online retailers looking for niches to drive customer interest get to push unique products and offer small brands via their marketplaces while in return SMEs get to market their goods to a worldwide audience without the need for intermediary sellers or wholesalers, increasing their exposure to customers and driving sales. Having an association with established market players, also gives credibility to SME products, increasing consumer confidence when buying.

Current tie-ups

Flipkart: The latest of Facebook’s SME tie-ups is its partnership with the National Institute of Fashion Technology, which would see the e-commerce major work with local weavers and artisans in Varanasi, especially to feature Banarasi saris to its website, reports afaqs. The partnership claims it will target about 40,000 weavers from Varanasi, 10,000 artisans from Barabanki and another 15,000 weavers in Sultanpur.

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– The company had also signed an MoU with the Development Commissioner for Handlooms, as a part of which Flipkart would list products from rural Indian handloom weavers and craftsmen on its platform. According to the deal, the company would set up collection centers to collect these products and the weavers would get to sell their products under their own brand name.

– Flipkart has a similar tie-up with the FISME (Federation of Indian Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises and NCDPD (National Center for Design and Product Development) as well, which it signed in June this year. It had also signed an MoU with the Director General of Employment and Training to help Indian MSMEs scale their businesses via its platform, last month.

Paytm: One97′s consumer brand Paytm partnered with the non-profit Digital Empowerment Foundation to help self-help groups and micro-enterprises across different verticals including textiles, handicrafts, weaving etc., to monetize via its digital platform. As a part of the partnership, Paytm is started selling products from Chanderi weavers of Madhya Pradesh, brought through Chanderi Weavers Resource Integrated Information Resource Centre’s ecommerce venture, Chanderiyaan, on its website.

Amazon: The e-commerce platform partnered with the government of Karnataka for setting up an SME marketplace although further details of this deal were not further elaborated. The company currently claims to have over 9000 sellers on its platform.

Snapdeal: Also involved in the above mentioned Karnataka government partnership, Snapdeal currently runs an initiative called the Craft Collection, a platform for indigenous artisans to sell their products, in association with the NGO Ode to Earth

eBay: Small trade association including Khadi and Village Industries Commission, Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Jaipur Jewellers Association, Gurgaon Chamber of Commerce, Engineering Export Promotion Council and District Industries Centre among others, agreed to sell via the e commerce platform, eBay India.

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