KOCHI: The one thing micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the state lacks is marketing knowledge though they make quality products. The MSMEs either depend on middlemen or e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart to sell their products. But these strategies many times don’t work in their favour. While the middlemen eat into their profits, these enterprises face stiff competition from branded products on the e-commerce platforms.
Their products don’t get the much necessary exposure in front of the customers. To solve the problem, the state government has come up with an online platform called Kerala e-Market. “It is a platform that offers the SMEs an avenue to showcase and sell their products. One important feature of the platform is that the SMEs don’t have to pay hefty fees to register themselves. They can put up any number of products for free, unlike Amazon and Flipkart where they have to pay an annual fee starting from Rs 25,000. On these e-commerce platforms, the fee increases with an increase in the number of products,” said an official associated with Kerala e-Market.
According to her, more than 2,000 sellers and around 600 buyers have already registered on the platform.“In the case of the prominent e-commerce platforms, these MSMEs will be one among hundreds of retailers listing the same product. They will have a lot of competitors and, hence, won’t get prime placing. Besides, policy changes in the country of origin of these platforms might hit the sellers adversely,” she said. “However, on Kerala e-Market, they have their own space and can avoid getting dumped with other third-party retailers. Aimed solely for SMEs, the portal displays producer in area-wise format and can be considered an electronic equivalent of ‘mandi’ type of market,” she added.
Pointing out that unprocessed agricultural products represent one of the largest untapped markets that are ignored by large online platforms, another official said, “This is a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country. Nowhere else will you find a government e-market portal dedicated to SMEs of that particular state. Both the vendors and the buyers can register on the same platform for free. The portal also provides a one-stop platform related to e-commerce for various SME, MSME and PSU companies,” added the official.
The portal is common for all users defined by the industries department. “However, each user has a separate working area within the portal. The revenue generated by the platform will be shared with the technology enabler and the government.The platform will be developed, upgraded and customised to have a more efficient customer-centric approach and increase the business avenues through it,” said the official.
- Category of services: G2C (government to citizen), G2B (government to business)
- The state govt can improve GDP by promoting SMEs
- Will be able to get exact details and list of SMEs and the products manufactured all over the state
- Will get the details of district-wise SMEs and can provide loans and other facilities for the SMEs that do the business seriously
- Locally produced products can be sold and promoted at the international level
- Govt will be updated on location of each MSME or SME so that it becomes easies for it to track the industry
A simulated ‘mandi’ for farmers
- Farmers and SMEs can receive orders in bulk directly without middlemen
- The seller gets to choose the best price from available buyers
- The buyer can search for and approach sellers based on local areas
- The buyer can order products from multiple sellers in an area
- The government gets a full overview of the supply chain