Intro: The website www. msmeshopping.com is restricted to products sourced from Indian MSMEs and will serve as a low cost marketing platform for them.
National Small Industries Corporation Ltd. (NSIC) was established in 1955 by the Government of India to promote, aid and foster the growth of small-scale industries. But Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, (MSMEs) in the country continue to face diverse challenges related to limited capital and lack of access to adequate and timely banking finance, non-availability of suitable technology, small production capacity, etc. Many MSMEs produce high quality products and services, still they find it difficult to reach potential customers as they lack inancial power to publicise and market their products.
On July 31, 2014, the NSCI took a new initiative to develop an online market place through which the small-scale industries can market their products and services. Kalraj Mishra, Union Minster for MSME, inaugurated the NSIC online e-commerce B2C shopping portal: www.msmeshopping.com. The website is restricted to products sourced from Indian MSMEs and will serve as a low cost marketing platform for them.
After the launch Kalraj Mishra said, “This portal is exclusively dedicated to Indian MSMEs. Our cost is low that is why people will prefer buying from us. We need to spread awareness about this portal.” The MSMEs will develop direct connection with potential buyers. In addition, they can also set up individual web stores, which are like a retail shop, selling products online.
Presently the website does not look as glossy as the portals of some of the major web-retailers like Amazon and Flipkart, but it seems easy to use. When you open the MSME shopping portal on your computer, you will see a search box at top. The search box can be used searching any particular item that you may want to buy. A line of links below the search box provides access to the categories of items that are available for sale. The consumer vertical is broad and it includes everything under the sun from mobile, computers, toys and even sanitary ware and spices.
The portal can be accessed in 11 languages including Hindi, Urdu, Bangla, Kannada, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu, besides English. The most surprising thing is that it can also be accessed in French! It essentially uses Google translate to provide other language support.
The Press Information Bureau (PIB) quotes Dr HP Kumar, CMD, NSIC saying that the portal will provide necessary facilities for start-ups to learn about the process by which the product purchase happens. In the present format, any seller can join the platform by paying Rs 5,000 plus taxes as annual fee. In contrast, Amazon does not charge a product listing fee but has a monthly subscription fee (currently free till December 2014 though the standard rate is Rs 499) besides a closing fee of Rs 10 per unit sold.
Apparently, in case of MSME shopping the seller will handle the logistics and delivery; NSIC is just providing a platform unlike other managed marketplaces. e-Retailers like Flipkart Amazon etc, have developed their own infrastructure for managing logistics and delivery. Flipkart is currently offering buyers the facility of paying cash on delivery and even purchase through EMIs. However, NSIC is only offering cash on delivery as payment option and it is made clear on its site that the refund and returns are at the sole discretion of the seller.
The government is optimistic that the handcraft manufactures and cottage industry in the country will be big beneficiaries of the portal. As of now the portal has started with 110 suppliers and about 1,700 products. But it is being hoped that over a period of one year, at least 3,000 to 5,000 suppliers will get added. -Anoop Verma