NEW DELHI: Unable to convince e-commerce giants to hawk its products on “favourable terms”, Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) launched its own platform to sell masks in July. From sales of around Rs 7,000 a day, three months later, it is clocking a daily turnover of Rs 1-1.5 lakh and is hoping to double it by the end of March.
From around 600 products, it is hoping to sell nearly 1,000 products online in around a fortnight. This could include products such as ornaments from khadi institutions, phulkari from Punjab and the famous chillies, haldi and ginger from Arunachal Pradesh.
Sales may be only a fraction of the over Rs 1 crore that just the flagship khadi store in the capital clocked on October 2, but it was sufficient to draw interest from the e-tailers, which are now knocking on its doors — offering to sell products at less than half the commission and with other flexibilities. When talks were held last year, the e-commerce players wanted pricing flexibility and rights to take off products whenever they wanted to, something that the government and KVIC were unwilling to offer.
“We have got a very favourable response and the interest is increasing by the day as awareness about our online sales increases through word of mouth,” said KVIC chairman V K Saxena, but refused to discuss tie-ups with the ecommerce players. In several segments, such as khadi footwear, which was launched last week, the response is so high that products are now sold out within days.
While khadi masks, which PM Narendra Modi spoke about in his monthly address on Sunday, remain the main draw, fabrics are second on the list, followed by the humble papad and soap bars. Close to 19 lakh masks have been sold so far, of this around 1-1.3 lakh have been sold online, said Saxena.
But unlike traditional ecommerce and retail platforms, KVIC is discovering that there are limits to its strategy. For instance, unlike other e-tailers, which can click a picture and sell saris, the agency responsible for khadi does not have two saris that look the same. For delivery, KVIC has tied up with India Post, which is seeking to revive its fortunes through ecommerce tieups.