This article is contributed by Mr. Meet Shah, Founder of Craftezy.
Entrepreneurship as a concept has picked up pace over the years. The excitement and the pride associated with launching one’s venture and finally converting that dream into a reality is indeed indescribable!
The effect of the pandemic on the Indian handicrafts sector -
As much as the journey is a roller coaster ride, it is full of roadblocks as well. This is mainly witnessed in the handicrafts sector. Ever since the pandemic outbreak, the livelihood of artisans and the handicraft community has been impacted severely. The production hit the pause button, unsold inventory started piling up, and the demand for orders from the customers came to a halt. Businesses also faced a lack of capital with reinvesting and continuing the operations. To sum up, the community witnessed a dearth where the meager survival of artisans was in danger. In such a scenario, launching a startup in the handicraft community seems to be a daunting task.
Roadblocks faced in the path of launching a startup
The Indian handicraft segment is a highly unorganized market. Consequently, the gap between sellers and buyers remains prominent at the global level. One of the significant challenges an entrepreneur faces while launching a startup in this sector is bringing decorum to a chaotic market. Adding to it, the industry also envisions offering equal growth opportunities to both sellers and artisans, and this aim comes with its fair share of challenges.
As most sellers hold a strong presence in the local markets and not the global marketplace, it's a significant hurdle for them to help reach international audiences. Providing solutions for payments and keeping a check on the quality of the products is another major hurdle for the sector, which is primarily driven by exports and is addressed as an export-centric business. The authenticity of crafts and having a robust logistics model are other major road bumps faced by startups planning to enter the handicraft ecosystem.
While the challenges disrupt the optimal functioning of the sector, they also come with a silver lining. They have eventually paved the way for the digitization of the handicraft sector. A segment that was always working with a brick-and-mortar model is now undergoing significant transformations. Realizing that to thrive through the troublesome situations and enjoy a competitive edge in the market, technology deployment is essential; the players have been focusing on introducing innovations and digital transformations in their operations.
Digitization: The feasible solution and the dire need of the hour
In an attempt to sail through the turbulent times induced by the pandemic, the sector is embracing digitization. The industry is hopeful that adopting technology will create employment opportunities and help businesses drive more significant revenues. The players are also focusing on leveraging the power of technology to bring convenience to the doorstep of their customers. While on the one hand, tech solutions have made payments smooth, quick, easy, and secure, on the other hand, the logistics and the marketing activities have also boosted exponentially, all thanks to technology!
Digital deployment has enabled the handicraft ecosystem to tap the global markets, and the players have been able to engage and establish a customer base at the international levels. On the whole, with the tech revolution, the handicraft sector has been upscaling significantly and will help in easing out the journey for aspiring entrepreneurs to launch their startups in this domain. Technological disruption will also help streamline the unorganized sector into a structured one.
Craftezy, one of the leading B2B marketplaces, has successfully understood the pain points of the handicraft industry. Ranging from authenticity and credibility of the crafted masterpieces to ensuring equal compensation for the sellers and educating them about the crafts' business models, the brand has designed its offerings to ensure the players have access to apt solutions for the problems faced by them. Understanding the needs of the buyers and the sellers and the diversely growing preferences of the customers, Craftezy leaves no stone unturned to come up with viable solutions that are suitable for all! Becoming an end-to-end solution for sellers and buyers implies ensuring the provision of a platform that would simplify and ease out the operations of businesses.
As much as ‘Vocal for local’ and ‘Make in India’ campaigns are boosting the handicrafts sector, there are various hindrances in the journey for startup launches. However, the answer to all the troubles is digitization and collaboration with the marketplaces! A recent report by IMARC Group points out this trend and states that the Indian handicrafts market is projected to witness significant growth in the times ahead, primarily due to the surge in the e-commerce industry.
Ensuring that the entire process of buying, selling, and delivering is fool-proof and error-free is one of the most appropriate ways to gain consumer trust. This would eventually lead to customer loyalty and increased revenues. Furthermore, providing marketing support to an otherwise un-exposed form of business would help small enterprises to tap the international market. This is the reason why marketplaces are rendering a helping hand in providing solutions. They are giving relevant opportunities to aspiring entrepreneurs and are helping them mark their presence in the market. These platforms take care of the entire buying and selling processes, transactions, along with end-to-end operations in a seamless, safe and secure manner.