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Flipkart eyes one lakh sellers; aims to up seller base in Bengal

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KOLKATA: E-commerce marketplace Flipkart has set a target to have one lakh sellers hawking their products on its portal as the company is eyeing to ramp up the number of categories of items for sale and connect with more vendors from different parts of the country.

Moreover, when it comes to the eastern region, West Bengal has the largest seller base in the east for Flipkart. With around 10 - 15 per cent M-o-M growth in the seller base, the state is poised to become one of the key seller hubs for product categories like home décor and furnishing, jewellery and leather accessories in the region going forward, said Flipkart senior vice-president (market place) Ankit Nagori.

The company, which ships around 80 lakh items per month, has 30,000 active sellers of which 10 per cent are from Bengal. Flipkart is also planning to have more vendors from Siliguri and Durgapur in West Bengal.

The platform had recently ventured into home décor and furnishing. “There are a couple of factors that will contribute to the growth in vendors. We are expanding our product categories and we are also expanding to new geographies in the country,” informed Nagori.

When queried on the company’s expansion strategy, Nagori said that Flipkart was looking to make a headway into small towns such as Kundli, Tirupur, Panipat, and Pondicherry to source sellers.

Flipkart offers support to sellers in the form of training programmes and working capital.

“This year, handloom, home and local artifacts will emerge as prominent categories from this region. We are confident that we will see more sellers from these categories to join us and reach out to a wider range of customers nationally,” Nagori said.

The company has also tied up with government bodies such as the Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises, Directorate General of Employment & Training and Development Commissioner for Handlooms to enable more artisans to explore the online platform and boost their topline and bottomline.

Talking about West Bengal, Nagori said that the company plans to have several focused seller engagement initiatives in the state. Among the products sold by sellers within eastern region, apparels, jewellery and leather products see a majority of demand - almost 60 per cent - by Indian customers. While the market demand for other categories like home décor, furnishing and handicraft products is estimated to grow by 30 - 40 per cent in 2015.

“West Bengal is well-known for its unique range of home décor, handloom, and clothing and handicraft products. With thousands of local artisans/entrepreneurs in this region, Flipkart’s primary focus will be to educate and empower these sellers, and help them understand the benefits of selling to the customer directly via the online platform. We see huge potential for sellers from this region and as this is one of our key markets, it is important that we support and nurture them. With a current seller base of over 3000 sellers from this region, we expect this number to double in the year 2015,” he said.

“This year handloom, home and local artifacts will emerge as prominent categories from this region. We are confident that we will see more sellers from these categories join us to reach out to a wider range of customers nationally,” he concluded.

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