Connect with us

business

Kashmir’s changing business landscape

Published

on

Kashmir's changing business landscape

Digital transformation opens new opportunities for traditional enterprises

Syed Jesarat

Like any other part of the country or the world, online businesses in Kashmir are flourishing fast. The use of social media and online display of products is making it convenient, both for the sellers as well as buyers.

Not only have a large number of online businesses come up in Kashmir in the last few years, particularly post-COVID19 lockdown, but the traditional businesses, who had made their name and reputation offline, have also partially, if not wholly, switched to online mode.

Shopping through virtual mode has become highly popular and profitable during the COVID19 times as it made everything available a click away when people could not move out of their homes. So post COVID19, people, particularly young consumers, didn’t change their behaviour much. They continue to shop online.

Kashmir's changing business landscapeFrom daily groceries, to clothes, to farm tools, anything you name is just a click away in Kashmir’s digital landscape. It became a challenge for traditional shopkeepers. To compete, they pioneered the trend of operating both offline and online. With the use of social media, like Instagram and Facebook, successful offline businesses also began to grow in popularity online. With the ease by which customers can access and purchase items online, these businesses have recently experienced a surge in popularity.

Business Kashmir interacted with some of these successful businesses, that operate in both worlds, physical and virtual.

Shop For Kitchen

Kashmir's changing business landscape

‘Shop For Kitchen’ is one of the offline businesses, which is now available on online platforms as well. Brothers Mudabir Shafi and Zeeshan Shafi own the physical store at Nowhatta, Srinagar. These days with its extensive social media presence, the store has become very popular. The COVID19 lockdown created an opportunity for the store to go online, and there is no looking back.

The crockery store has a loyal following of customers and the business graph is on the rise. Customers from all across the nation ask for the crockery after scrolling through their social media posts online, but presently they deliver within J&K only. They have entered a business partnership, Fastbeetle – Srinagar-based logistics service provider, and deliver in far-off places of Bandipora, Baramulla, Ganderbal districts.

“We are also attempting to connect with other distribution partners in the valley, so that we can reach out to more and more areas,” said Mudabir.

Now they are also exploring options to sell on Amazon and Flipkart – two biggest eCommerce stores in the country – to reach out to customers across the country.

The brothers are upbeat about their prospectus using online mode.

“The response was delayed initially but then it gradually gained pace online, and our experience transitioning from offline to online proved worthwhile taking chances. We only connect buyers via the Instagram platform,” added Mudabir.

Kashmir's changing business landscapeDuring the wedding season, the sales increases significantly. Customers who shop at the store in-person or online do get discounts. UPI and COD are the available payment methods.

Since switching from offline to online platforms, the store has advanced significantly. “It’s a very good thing and great development, the world is changing so, should we. We have gained a lot by going online. It’s necessary and important in present times, and I even advise others to use online platforms,” said Mudabir.

As a team of three employees, they manage both offline and online themselves. To garner as much social media involvement as possible, the store follows musical trends and everything else that becomes viral.

The store’s expectations for profit were met at the early stage, and since then the graph is now upward.

As Mudabir explained, “We began off really low, wanting to see how this will go, but it went well, so we decided to do this as extensively as possible.”

Modest Attires

Kashmir's changing business landscapeThe store ‘Modest Attires’ is a store selling Abayas, scarves, hijabs, prayer mats, fragrances, and Islamic accessories run by a married couple Uzma and Umar. The business is located in Chadora, Batamaloo and Lalchowk. The store was founded in 2012 as a small home-run outlet business run out of a home, but in 2014 it became full-fledged and also become active on online platforms. It is a site where everything ‘Islamic’ is available. They have accounts on Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, and YouTube. Numerous pamphlets were distributed as part of the marketing strategy, which assisted in building a clientele for this small business. The graph of this internet business is improving with time. Customers at the store can receive discounts both offline and online, both COD and UPI are accepted forms of payment.

The store’s owner, Uzma, said that everything is simple to handle and hassle-free thanks to the online platform. Apart from the duo, the store has other partners who manage both online and offline businesses.

To attract the widest audience possible, the business keeps up with trends. To help promote this, they create reels featuring well-known nasheeds and inform the public of new arrivals or items that are currently in stock.

“Online platforms are important for business growth since they reach everyone and aid in business development,” said Uzma.

To reach customers more readily, the store plans to create a website and a mobile application in the future.

As anticipated before beginning the business, the profit has met expectations. Customers can call or text the store after selecting their clothing, Islamic books, etc and order accordingly. There is no hurry or haste in anything as the online presence has made everything easy.

Pet Master

Kashmir's changing business landscapeThe pet industry is garnering a lot of attention in the city, where owners are making sales both offline and online. Following the establishment of an internet store for the clients, pet shops have expanded. Due to social media channels, the company has a wide geographic reach. One such establishment with the slogan ‘It’s a zoo inside’ is PetMaster in Bemina. Sani Yasnain, 25, owns this pet business since 2021 both online and offline. The shop has a large selection of pets and pet supplies. It has only been two years since the pet store opened in the community around Bemina.

The pet industry is benefitting from social media presence, and as a result, many individuals are aware of the company. One of Kashmir’s most recent industries is the pet industry, and online media is greatly contributing to its development. Many people only have access to online platforms to learn about pets and to buy pets.

A crew of four individuals manages everything at Pet Master. The pet store is growing online and now only has an Instagram account, which is helping to expand its reach. The customer base is growing quickly as a result of media exposure, and it accepts COD in addition to all forms of online payment.

“Social media has proven quite helpful in times of covid shutdown, we were fortunate to use Instagram, and this generated a profit for us,” said Sani.

Traam-the Kashmir Craft

Kashmir's changing business landscapeA home-based copper manufacturing business, ‘Traam-the Kashmir Craft’ in Srinagar, has been working offline for the past 50 years and has now shifted to an online wholesale retailer as well.  A family business is being managed by a business student, Faisal Ahmad Misgar since 2019.

During the covid times, the businesses got hit severely, but  ‘Traam- The Kashmir Craft’ online business experienced significant growth. They manage Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp as their online platforms, and customers can now readily contact them on these platforms. The relationship between buyers and sellers has become much more seamless due to the internet.

“We chose to use online platforms to excel our retail brand, retailers exploit customers a lot these days in terms of high prices, quality is not ensured, we ensure quality in reasonable price here,” said Faisal

“We distribute nationally to Gujrat, Rajasthan etc. We have a large spectrum of consumers in Kashmir as well,” said Faisal.

Initial feedback was quite overwhelming. They used social media to promote their items online. “Our online business is increasing, and we are reaching out to a bigger audience,” said Faisal.

The prices are already marked down since they are wholesale sellers. In addition to cash, they accept all payment methods. The transition from offline to online proved very beneficial for the family’s long-standing copper manufacturing business. It offered a retail market for the wholesale business.

“I believe that from online to offline, things are extremely convenient and customers can very easily choose items they want,” Faisal said.

It is a very vital platform for business. To be at par with other online businesses the ‘Tramm-theKashmirCraft’ follows the trend of reaching out to customers.

Products and prices can now be compared due to the competition that the digital world has created. Limitations exist for international trade, decorative goods are in demand, and copper is an item which is merely an addition to a physical store, as the defined criteria aren’t available for copper due to changes in social media images.

“We are considering creating a shop as well so that we can bring in clients from our online platform,” said Faisal

“There is intense rivalry for people’s trust in Copper, due to images but the online platform has proved best for our retail market, our 100% handmade products gained reach,” Faisal added.

Mir Arts Papier Mâché

Kashmir's changing business landscapePapier Mâché is a long-standing enterprise of Faizan Mir, is managing the online platforms under the moniker Mir_arts for the past five years. The physical shop is located at Hawal, Srinagar. The company’s customer base is already established but online marketing is used to expand it more. The social media response was low at first, but it steadily picked up. “Mir_arts” only uses the Instagram platform for its online presence. The only interaction with customers is through their Instagram profile, and the graph is progressively rising since their online presence.

“The online business has helped in reaching customers very easily, everything is at customers’ doorsteps, everything becomes quite easily accessible,” said Faizan Mir.

During the pandemic, there was a loss of customer base from outside the state, but making people aware of the business’s existence through an online platform has helped to make up for this.

By offering discounts to customers and accepting all forms of payment, the store increased the size of its customer reach.

“The online platform is accessible to everyone and we were able to reach a larger audience, I guess 90% of people prefer an online purchase,” said Faizan.

In the future, the shop is considering going more digital by developing its website.

 

In this era of digitization, moving from offline to online retail is beneficial for every firm. Businesses today use online platforms to expand their reach to every corner of the world. Every customer now has an easy and seamless life due to globalisation and digitalization. The products are easily accessible, comparable, and readily available. Everything is now at the fingertips due to digitization, and businesses are expanding mainly due to their widespread online presence.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Trending