Alibaba urged to take exporters online
The idea behind the intended partnership is to deliver endto-end solutions for exporters, especially the smaller ones who can’t keep huge inventory, they said.
The Apparel Export Promotion Council, India’s nodal agency for promoting business between exporters and buyers, has held four-five ro unds of discussion with the Jack Ma founded company so far, said one of the officials, who did not wish to be identified.
“But we are open to talks with other players also. We want our e-commerce partner to promote Indian SMEs (small and medium enterprises) on their portal,“ the official said.
Since sellers on Alibaba.com are typically manufacturers and distributors, if the deal is sealed small exporters in India will be able to market and sell their products to companies in other countries.
Promoting small exporters is high on the government agenda because 79% of India’s garment exporters have revenue of less than Rs 10 crore per annum.
The council may also seek its online partner’s guidance for managing logistics in the future, officials said. Although there are more than 8,000 garment exporters registered with the council, less than 100 use online platforms to promote and sell their goods.
“Exporters need to also explore the e-commerce way of doing business and not limit themselves to face-to-face interactions. We realised that they need handholding to put their products online because they have apprehensions on how to get business and payments,“ the official said.
According to industry experts, climatic changes and fast moving fashion trends have made buying patterns unpredictable. Hence, online presence will enable year-round buying and faster delivery for manufacturers and exporters.
The entire process of design to delivery, which used to take up to three months in 2004, has now been crunched to 30-35 days and can be further reduced if online platforms are used, they said.
In 2015-16, India exported readymade garments worth $17 billion. The industry has seen fluctuations in the past six years due to global economic uncertainty and loss of competiveness to emerging economies in the region, especially China and Bangladesh.
Shipments to the European Union, the top destination for India’s garment exports, fell 5.5% in 2015-16 from the previous year.