Kudumbashree, the women empowerment and poverty eradication
programme, framed and enforced by the State Poverty Eradication Mission (SPEM)
of the Government of Kerala, was established in 1998. The Mission envisages eradication of poverty
by combining local economic development, promoting micro finance, starting
livelihood activities in farming and non-farming sectors and implementing
various activities in social development. As a community organization of Self
Help Groups (SHG's) of women in Kerala, Kudumbashree has been recognized as an
effective entity for the empowerment of women in rural as well as urban areas,
bringing women together from all spheres of life to fight for their rights or
for empowerment. The overall empowerment of women is closely linked to economic
empowerment. Kudumbashree Mission is also the nodal agency of many Government
of India schemes such as NRLM, NULM, SVEP, DDUGKY, MKSP and PMAY.
The Mission has
been creating micro enterprise opportunities to women through its strong
community network. Currently, about 15,000 Kudumbashree women enterprises are
running successfully in various areas of production, service and trade sectors.
The Mission launched online retail market initiatives
to find better market for the products of Kudumbashree micro enterprises. The Mission had indeed made a path-breaking gesture by launching www.kudumbashreebazaar.com. Kudumbashree Bazaar, the e-commerce
portal to sell out Kudumbashree products
was launched by Dr. K.T Jaleel, Minister, Local Self-Government Department,
Government of Kerala then at Kanakakkunnu Palace, Thiruvananthapuram on
February 21, 2018.
The Kudumbashree Executive Director S.Harikishore explained about the online market initiatives undertaken
by the Mission, in an interaction with R.Ramabhadran
What is the response from the public to the online sales
initiative of Kudumbashree?
A: There is a huge demand for Kudumbashree products among the
consumers, but there is a lack of marketing platforms which may satisfy the
ultimate needs of its consumers, mostly among the non-Resident Indians. An
extended Kudumbashree Mission could satisfy the needs of its customers and
reduce the gap between them by evolving several online marketing techniques
like www.kudumbashreebazaar.com, AMAZON Saheli project, Flipkart, etc, many customers have
positively adopted the change. They keep using the opportunity and have been giving
suggestions for improving it. The
responses that we receive from the public to the online sales initiatives of
Kudumbashree are really exciting.
Do you think it is one of the potential marketing tools for
A: Yes; we do believe that it
is indeed one of the potential marketing tools for Kudumbashree products that
even people from faraway places can avail themselves of the services of Kudumbashree
to get the products now.
What percentage of sales of Kudumbashree retail products is
happening online? What kind of revenue does it generate?
A: Online sales volume is less
compared to the existing Kudumbashree marketing platforms such as monthly
markets, Trade fairs, Permanent outlets, Nano markets, home shops, etc. All Kudumbashree online sales platforms are
recently launched and now, we are focusing on increasing promotions so that
more people know about this platform. Since many online selling platforms are
gaining huge popularity and a large volume of youngsters are migrating to
online platforms for purchase, I think www.kudumbashreebazaar.com has a really bright future.
What are the factors that tend to restrict the growth of online
business for Kudumbashree?
A: Increasing knowledge about this new initiative among various
cross sections of the society is the present challenge that we face. Once we
formulate new strategies for marketing and once we do it consistently, I think
we will be able to achieve higher volume of sales and growth.
How do you prepare the Kudumbashree units to facilitate online
sales? Are the members techno savvy to handle modern techniques of online
A: Kudumbashree is providing regular training and capacity
building to entrepreneurs and are facilitating the units to handle online sales.
In the initial stage we are selecting one such entrepreneur who is able to
handle online sales and we are planning to include more after regular training
sessions and capacity building.
Over the years, Kudumbashree members had proven their inherent
strengths. They pick up new ideas pretty fast and perform the best.
Kudumbashree is really confident about its members.
Are you in a position to handle high level competition in the
online market, especially with players such as Amazon dominating the market?
A: I think Kudumbashree products will enjoy a
niche market and there won’t be any competition for the home-made tastes of Kerala.
When talking about competition from other online platforms, I wish to say that
we are not here for competition, but for convergence, partnerships and
complementary wins. We have already partnered with Amazon and Kudumbashree
products will be sold through Saheli platform as well.
Most of the products available on your online platform are
produced locally and meant for local consumption. How does such a product range
assume significance in the vast online market spread across the world?
A: It is not completely true; Kudumbashree products have huge
demand in local market and across India because we have a trustworthy brand
name that has gained wide acceptance among the consumers. We have a secure
space in the market. Last year, Kudumbashree became a part of 20 SARAS fairs
(National level fairs organized by Ministry of Rural Development) outside the
State and the entrepreneurs achieved Rs.
1 crore worth sales. The sales may increase this year.
Do you plan to sell products other than those produced by
Kudumbashree units through the online platform?
A: We do not have any plans
to sell products other than those produced by Kudumbashree units through our
online platform. Our aim is to help
Kudumbashree entrepreneurs to find market for their products. Only the products
of Kudumbashree units would be sold through our online platform.
Do you think food prepared by Kudumbashree units fit to take on
the online market players? Is there a plan to develop Apps for the purpose,
similar to the ones existing in the market, such as Swiggy and Uber eats?
A: Yes, Kudumbashree cafe units are popular for traditional Kerala
dishes. We are thinking about it.
What does future hold for Kudumbashree in terms of online retail
business? Is the share of online sales bound to go up significantly?
In the upcoming years Kudumbashree Mission is planning to sell products of more
micro enterprises through these online platforms and also planning to handle
shipping of online orders (goods) by using our Community network.