In a bid to tap the rural e-commerce market across the country, Ahmedabad-based Infibeam.com is set to launch Vishwagram Bazaar soon. At an investment of Rs 2000 crore over five years, Infibeam plans to build an e-commerce retail platform where rural consumers can have access to FMCG as well as products not easily available to rural households at transparent prices.
Vishwagram Bazaar will also allow local produce to be sold across many retail outlets on the Vishwagram Bazaar and retail channels provided by Infibeam. "We realised there was a huge potential for tapping the e-commerce market in rural areas. There are several FMCG and other retail products unavailable in rural markets. Moreover, village entrepreneurs lack market for their own products. Vishwagram Bazaar can be the platform that can not only help people in rural areas as well as fair price shops avail retail products at transparent prices but also put their products on the global map," said Vishal Mehta, founder Infibeam.
The investment of Rs 2,000 crore will be made across five years in building out the IT infrastructure, logistics, product inventories and support services to cater to more than 20,000 centers for greater inclusivity. The centres will act as touch points for rural consumers and entrepreneurs. To begin with, the company will launch 14,000 such centres in Gujarat alone. The investment would enable each of the 14,000 Vishwagram centers in the state to be able to buy and sell goods, including local produce online.
Infibeam will be signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard at the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2011 on January 12. The proposed MoU is expected to create 20,000 employment opportunities in the IT and IT enabled services sector.
As part of the MoU, Infibeam will open up its state-of-art, robust e-commerce platform for village entrepreneurs including fair price shops to create online Vishwagram Bazaar stores. This would enable entrepreneurs to buy, sell and access products. Entrepreneurs in villages will be able to showcase local products to a global audience, while they would also have access to the whole universe of products available to urban people including FMCG products as well as retail products like apparel, books, mobile phones and electronics.
"Vishwagram Bazaar is a real testimony to the spirit of entrepreneurship in Gujarat and will bring inclusivity by showcasing cottage industry and rural produce to a global audience. It will also make prices more transparent and provide access to products not easily available to rural audience," said Mehta.
Infibeam.com, one of the most popular e-commerce websites in India, also powers e-commerce retail channels for leading brands and media firms including TTK Prestige, Crossword, Hidesign, NDTV and others.