As part of its plans to increase its seller base in the country, Amazon will be focusing on increasing its presence across artisan cooperatives, while increasing the number of sellers dealing in traditional art.
Currently, it has around 2,100 sellers through which, the global e-commerce giant estimates, around 750,000 weavers and artisans in India are positively impacted.
While it has already partnered 15 governments and cooperatives like Tantuja, One District One Product Uttar Pradesh (UP), UP Handloom, Khadi Craft, Loom World and others, which complement its range of traditional art and clothing on the Amazon platform, it is also on the lookout for more such partnerships.
“I would want every cooperative in the country to be part of the programme. We are in talks with some and with others, we currently aren’t. We want motivated cooperatives,” Gopal Pillai, vice-president of seller services at Amazon India, told Business Standard. However, he didn’t disclose the number of sellers Amazon has targeted under the Kala Haat programme.
Launched in 2016, this programme was initially piloted in four clusters in Shantipur and Phulia in West Bengal, Bargarh and Nuapatna in Odisha, Pochampally in Andhra Pradesh, and Kota in Rajasthan.
While Amazon is open to list sellers like state cooperatives, it is encouraging individual sellers to list their products on the platform and create their own brands.
“We go to clusters and conduct trainings, workshops, and programmes to educate the weavers and artisans in that neighbourhood. While we have a combination of the Tantujas of the world, individual sellers who wish to sell directly are also on the platform,” Pillai told this newspaper.
He reasoned that while the Kala Haat programme saves the traditional arts of India from dying, it also helps the company complement its selection philosophy of having the widest selection possible and at the same time, also helps people from remote and less-developed pockets of India to sell on a global marketplace.
For example, a sari weaver from West Bengal has seen a surge in earnings. “In 2017, I earned around Rs 2 lakh, which jumped to Rs 38 lakh in 2018. This year, so far, I have earned Rs 18 lakh,” said Tanmay Joardar, a sari seller.
Traditional art and craft pockets like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra feature as the prime states with maximum Amazon sellers who sell globally.
In the Amazon Export Digest 2019, the company’s Senior Vice-President and Country Head, Amit Agarwal, said, “Today, we have over 50,000 Indian exporters as part of the Amazon Global Selling programme from the corners of the country such as Cuttack, Dharamshala, Bilaspur, Banswara, Hassan selling to customers sitting in Houston, Bristol, Osaka or Perth. Interestingly, unique and unconventional categories like art and craft, home entertainment, toys, etc are also witnessing demand from customers all over the world”.
The same digest notes art and craft as an emerging category for sellers in key export markets like the US, Europe and others.