“CraftsVilla sees as an opportunity to aggregate the fragmented Indian art & crafts market” – team, craftsvilla.com

Indian ecommerce industry has been witnessing business models spanning across various segments and categories in last one year. At the same time, it also has seen the debuts of segment focused marketplaces such as LadyBlush – a dedicated market place for women and Crafts Villa – an art and crafts centric marketplace. Arts & craft industry in India is pegged around more than $7 billion and Craft Villa is trying to evangelize this space, moreover it has been bridging the gap between artisans and consumers. In order to get insights about Crafts Villa and status quo of art & craft industry in ecommerce, iamwire interacted with team Crafts Villa. Below are the excerpts of interaction.

How do you see the Indian art and craft industry in Indian online space?

The industry in India is $7 Billion+ and globally it is at $103 Billion, as per latest handicraft report by the government. Within the space, it is very fragmented with over 4 Million artisans and designers across India. They had only 3 ways of selling their creations:

  • Sell to major retail stores in India
  •  Export to shops and buyers overseas
  •  sell direct to public (this is difficult)

The problem here was that these artisans did not have easy access to these top sales sources and needed a platform that can help them. On the other hand, consumers wanted access to purchase unique products and didn’t know these artisans and designer products that are handmade existed.  That’s where CraftsVilla came in to fill that need.

We see the Indian arts and crafts industry as an opportunity to aggregate the fragmented market, which is large according to market size numbers above, and bring these unique products to people globally. Also, what we sell is not branded, thus “price” competition is not an issue like other branded online shops have.  We are on path to hit 2,000 “sellers” on CraftsVilla by June, so we see that there is a large growth opportunity in this industry.

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Throw some light on consumers purchasing pattern, average ticket size per purchase, consumer acquisition and consumer acquisition cost.

 Consumer purchase pattern has been different in the online space we operate in. Here are some facts for us:

  • Average ticket size is Rs. 950 per purchase
  • Our customer repeat more often than the average e-commerce site has – we have close to 5 repeats per year
  • Our acquisition costs on average is around Rs. 500 and scaling lower at a fast pace

Consumers in India are very price driven, as noticed in the “branded” space online where consumer compare and will go shopping offline for even a 20 Rupee difference.  For us, our products cannot be easily found offline as they are unique and cannot be compared to other sites online. Thus, we offer value for money to a consumer.

Which categories and products account maximum sale and why?

We have over 35 categories and is growing at a fast pace as more sellers come on, and consumer tastes increase. For now, our top categories include handbags, jewellery health & beauty and home décor. These make up the bulk of our sales and each of the above are at a similar percent with some leading some weeks and others leading other weeks.

What are craftsvilla’s expansion strategies across categories and product line?

Our expansion strategies include – scaling up on “seller” acquisition across India. We have opened a Jaipur, Delhi and Bangalore office with couple other cities in plans. These offices are for “seller” acquisition and management where we help artisans and designer put their product online. This includes photo shooting, content writing and training on how to sell online.

In terms of product line, we are always adding new categories monthly. Some of these recent additions are food (organic unique teas), religious books, and expansion into clothing (especially saree). On the other hand, we will keep expanding into categories based on “consumer insights”. We have a strong customer base with a female audience and gifting, and do bring new product offerings out after assessing the needs of this audience.

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Share some insight on Craftvilla’s consumer acquisition strategy.

Our consumer acquisition strategies include, typical online marketing (Facebook, SEM, etc..), but what we have done that is unique is develop “Social” apps to engage our fan base with our brand which drives sales and acquisitions at a lower cost for us. This was a facebook app.  We will continue expanding into more apps and engaging offline events and partnerships to build further loyalty among our audience. Our plan is to also expand targeting the foreign markets (UK / US), as we have already been selling to this audience.

Could you give us some statistics, how many cities is craftsvilla active in? How many users have signed up?

We over 2, 00,000 users signed up for CraftsVilla with a strong active users base at over 50%. In terms of sales, we are in the top metros (Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Chandigarh, etc..) and also cater to the tier 2 cities around India, as they get access to these goods not found in their cities.   We’re growing at over 25% per month in users and sales and have built a strong loyalty with our customer as they spend over 9 minutes on average on our site with good repeat behavior.

What are the rate of margins you are seeing at present?

We are a “marketplace” connecting sellers with consumers. We take a 15% commission on every sale, which is clearly stated to our sellers when they signup. They get an added value in terms of promotions, photo shooting and account management to help them sell online.