Traditional South Saree Brands bank on digital commerce

Some traditional brands born in the South India world famous for their craft today are on their online journey from a mere brick and mortar presence.
Traditional handloom taking the online route

Indian ethnicity, handicrafts and handloom are world famous today. The Kanjivaram saris and the Mulberry yarn woven saris have made their mark not only in India but also overseas. The fabric is world famous. However, the traditional showroom presence has taken the online route for expanding their markets. Here are some traditional brands born in the South India but are world famous for their craft today. They speak to us about their journey from brick and mortar to online presence.

Pioneers in Mulberry woven yarn saris, “Mysore Saree Udyog” director Dinesh P Talera says, “We have been in the market since the year 1932.” We began our retail operations in the year 1989. “Vanity fair” a Germany based Magazine has rated us as one of the top 10 destination stores in the world. The company is dealing with bulk supply and manufacturing of real gold threads or popularly known as Jari or Zari. Also, apart from the original mulberry yarn they have 300 other different yarns. Today, it is a flourishing retail business through its myriad offerings.”                     

On the Online route

Although a major attraction of Bengaluru, patronised by a large international customer base including many famous socialites, actors and actresses, Mysore Saree Udyog has taken the eCommerce route to stay connected with its already existing customer base and also to widen the global customer base. “Though we are there online since the last three years, we have been active since the last 18 months. We want to expand our markets and that is why ventured into online,” says Talera.  

According to Pramila C, the business Head for Deepam Silk International, “We launched ourselves in 1972 in Bengaluru. We are four decades old in the Industry. Today, we have around 120 looms across India. We have moved into eCommerce three years ago.

Presence in e-marketplaces

Deepan Silk International is full-fledged on Amazon, Flipkart and Myntra and also Deepam Silks has its own portal for eCommerce, says Pramila. We believe moving into eCommerce is really good as people sitting in any part of the world can have access to the traditional Indian made wear.”

Saree range that sells best online

Kalyam Annam, the director of Kalamandir, a pioneer for Kanjivaram sarees says that lucrative price range is the one which can sell online. People generally like to purchase in the price range of Rs. 1,000 sometimes even less to a maximum of 10,000. Hence, generally the apparels are sold easily in this bracket. Kalyam also added that due to their exuberant price range, generally their product is not dependent on eCommerce for sale.

Adding: “Our saris range from Rs. 70,000 to 3 lakhs. Our fabric is world famous. Hence, I honestly feel that for the price range and good quality Kanjivaram sarees, we are offering, our customer has to come to the shop and feel the fabric rather than just browse it online and order the product.

Dinesh of Mysore Saree Udyog pointing out another issue said, “While the products ranging from a cost price below Rs. 1,500 sell easily online, the cost price of products Rs. 5,000 and above are tough to sell. Hence, the cost price ranging above Rs. 5,000 can be targeted at the existing customer base.”

A right mix of online & offline

Annam believes that just being online will not add any further benefits in terms of purchases at least for his brand. “We are there for the sake of being there,” he laughs. “We have already made our mark in the market. Indian made crafts like Kanjivaram sarees are in great demand for weddings and functions. Indian weddings are quite exuberant and one customer makes at least a purchase of Rs. 3 lakh. More importantly, we also have customers from America who are Indians and want Indian style weddings. They want the traditional craft and hence, we are there online,” he says.

The online strategy being set up

For the director of Mysore Saree Udyog, the strategy is: “To keep in touch with our already existing customer base and to eventually create a greater customer base.”

Pramila of Deepam Silk International says, “We are there online and our online strategy is to get more visibility to the overseas market and to be able to reach them easily.”Lastly, Kalamandir director Annam concludes, we have put up ourselves in the social networking sites as here the social networking sites are playing a huge platform to keep in touch with the customers as well as their feedback which can be received.  Any new product or new wear can also be displayed in these sites. Hence, we are very much on social networking sites which give a huge display and visibility and thus are in touch with our customers to reinforce business.

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