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Flipkart’s go-to route to acquire more sellers: India’s ‘underserved’ MSMEs

Flipkart, which is battling Jeff Bezos’ Amazon for e-commerce supremacy in India, had launched 'Samarth' programme in July this year to help small business communities in India.

Flipkart’s go-to route to acquire more sellers: India’s ‘underserved’ MSMEs

Walmart-owned Flipkart has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Punjab government to onboard state’s sellers, weavers, and artisans for online selling of their products. Flipkart has signed two MoUs to help state’s MSMEs as part of its Samarth programme with training and support for e-commerce channel. The company, which is battling Jeff Bezos’ Amazon for e-commerce supremacy in India, had launched Samarth programme in July this year to help small business communities in India get access to the digital medium to reach out to pan India customers and sell their products. Flipkart has also partnered with other states such as Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand to help small business communities even as it would boost the company’s seller count.

The tie-up will help state’s “MSMEs, artisans and weavers the opportunity to showcase and sell their products to a pan-India customer base of over 200 million,” said Rajneesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Flipkart Group in a statement adding “We have constantly endeavoured to help underserved communities break social and demographic barriers and become a part of the formal economy.” Flipkart will “focus on showcasing the hallmark products of the state of Punjab,” the company said under the first MoU along with offering benefits including incubation support to “select” local artisans and weavers in the Samarth programme.

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Under the second MoU, the online marketplace will help MSMEs onboard, operate, and grow on the platform while organising workshops across Punjab to make MSMEs aware about e-commerce as a channel and the support they can leverage. “MSMEs, Artisans and small enterprises are an essential part of Punjab’s vibrant economy,” said Rajat Agarwal, Chief Executive Officer, Invest Punjab in a statement adding that Punjab’s traditional arts and culture will gain wider visibility on the national stage and state’s MSMEs will get national market access.

Punjab has more than 1.6 MSMEs while Flipkart has around 3,000 sellers from the state selling on its marketplace — Flipkart Internet. The company claimed more than 80 million products across over 80 categories. Flipkart along with Amazon is currently facing backlash from 70 million Indian traders for alleged unfair business means including deep discounting, predatory pricing, violating FDI policy etc. leading to an uneven level playing field for offline businesses. The two e-commerce companies, however, have repeatedly claimed to be fully compliant with the governing regulations. India’s e-commerce policy, for which the draft was introduced in February this year, is likely to come out early next year.

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