Flipkart enters Modi Land

New Delhi: In a bid to boost its seller base, online retailer Flipkart is now aggressively looking to reach out to the local handicraft industry and workers. The online retailer has made a tie up with National Institute of Fashion Technology through which students and Flipkart team will work to integrate the local weavers and artisans to the end consumers through e-commerce.

The first pilot of the project will begin mid September in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency of Varanasi.

Out of the 15 centers of NIFT across the country five centers at Hyderabad, Mumbai, Gandhinagar, Chennai and Delhi have shown interest to be part of the project. Staff of Flipkart will be deployed in various cities to co-ordinate with the local artisans who can also take support from fashion designing students at NIFT about market trends and consumer interests.

NIFT students in their advanced stage of studies visit handloom clusters as part of their curriculum. Students can now use Flipkart’s market intelligence and logistics expertise to develop private labels and also build on their entrepreneurial skills. We will act like an incubator, said Joy Bandekar, President Strategy, Flipkart.

According to expert estimates, Varanasi has a pool of about 40,000 weavers while Barabanki has 15,000 weavers engaged in various forms of handicrafts. About twenty clusters across the country have been identified by Flipkart where the local handicraft industry is concentrated.

Earlier, the e-retailer had signed Memorandum of Understanding with Ministry of Labor for skill development program for its employees and Ministry of Textiles for reaching small and medium manufacturers. Few months ago, it also made a tie up with Federation of Indian Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises to reach its target of 50,000 sellers by the end of this financial year.

While lead domestic rival Snapdeal is already way ahead in the race with 30,000 sellers, American giant has been on an expansion spree with about 6,500 sellers. Flipkart stands at about 3,000 sellers and is eyeing an ambitious target of 50,000 sellers by the end of this year.

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