How KashmirOneStop is leveraging the internet to bring the best of the Valley online
Disclaimer: This article is a part of the CitySparks series sponsored by Verisign.
One day, Rohit and his sister-in-law Meenakshi casually discussed the popularity of Kashmiri products and the difficulty in acquiring them. People from Kashmir, who are settled outside the state and those who have had a taste of Kashmiri products often long for it. But there are hardly any ways to get hold of these products.
As time passed, the thought stayed with them, and they often discussed it. One day, Rohit bounced the idea off his brother, Rakesh who is based in Mumbai. Rakesh was also enthused by the concept and they started thinking about a way to bring this to life. Thus was born KashmirOneStop, an e-commerce portal for everything Kashmiri.
Choosing the domain
Since the aim was to be a portal that would cater to desires for all things Kashmiri, Rakesh thought KashmirOneStop to be an appropriate name. “We were looking for something that sounds credible and has a global appeal,” says Meenakshi about choosing a .COM domain name. Luckily for them, the .COM domain was available. In fact, .COM domain names that include Indian geographies or Indian language are easily available today.
Meenakshi started researching the easiest ways to build a website. She felt confident to take charge of the tech side, and setup the website along with a couple of other developers. Being a small team, everyone learnt different aspects of technology and ensured that they don’t outsource everything. It was a challenge at first, but they made a conscious decision not to outsource website development. Learning from online tools and previous experience, the team managed to get a good website up.
The decision to go online was definite. “We do intend to have an offline presence as well, but the benefits of online are immense. Firstly, it is less capital intensive and the reach is wide,” says Rohit.
The business model
KashmirOneStop.com offers edible products like the famous Kashmiri saffron, Kashmiri kehwa (green tea), almonds, and rajma, etc in its inventory. The portal also sells prayer items and set combos to cater to Kashmiri Pandits, a minority Hindu community in Kashmir. They have tied up with several local merchants in Kashmir. “Kashmiri spices and other products are available elsewhere, but the quality of those goods is suspect. We wanted to make sure we source from the best places and offer value to our customers,” says Rohit.
To keep storage costs low, KashmirOneStop doesn’t stock everything. All the items are listed on the website. Only once the order is received, does the supply chain get to work. “A lot of our products are temperature-sensitive. Hence, we need to maintain an efficient supply chain to reduce wastage,” says Rohit.
KashmirOneStop doesn’t enter price wars. It puts all its focus on its products. And for an e-commerce portal without funding, this is the key. Even if the product is not supplied instantly, the uniqueness of their products is what keeps initiatives like KashmirOneStop.com up and running.
They are a team of five and most of their investment has come from friends and family. As of now, they deliver only in India but they do want to get into international markets as well.
Carving a new path
“We are getting up to three orders everyday and about five on good days,” says Rohit. This number might seem small compared to e-commerce biggies. But such efforts will help foster entrepreneurship in areas like Jammu and Kashmir. This will, in turn, lead to a better economic environment in these places, thus creating more businesses. KashmirOneStop is a great example of traditional businesses making an online entrance.
A few years ago, no one would have thought that something like this could exist. But the team at KashmirOneStop has shown how the Internet has levelled the playing field. Now anyone has the power to have an online presence.
You can now register a domain name, build a website and get cracking too. Go .COM, go big!
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