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Kashmir’s native e-commerce platform “Jhelum Cart” is helping local sellers

Last Updated on March 1, 2021 at 6:48 pm

Consistent lockdowns have impacted the lives of Kashmiris and caused economic problems for them. After the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 and the COVID-19 lockdown, situation has been quite serious in the valley.

The local retailers along with traders have been impacted quite heavily as physical stores were shut off for quite some time. To improve the conditions of people, three entrepreneurs from Srinagar and Anantnag – Ahmed Nabeel Wani, Naveed Qadir Wani and Arif Ahmed Najar – established an e-commerce platform to make trade easy between the local traders and the potential buyers. This platform is called “Jhelum Cart” and it aims to function as an online shopping platform and reduce problems faced by locals.

One of the co-founders of this platform, Ahmed Nabeel, said that they came up with the idea of such a platform in 2018. They wanted to use the internet to build an e-commerce platform that would assist the local sellers.

Their biggest challenge while developing this platform was internet bandwidth. The locals in the region don’t have access to systems like Wifi and hi-speed internet. Most of the locals depend on the mobile internet which is extremely slow. After a time period of almost two years, unrestricted internet has been restored in the valley.

Founders of this platform had the challenge to develop technology that could function properly under low internet bandwidth. The research and development of this platform was the most crucial phase and it took around six months for the same. Developers continuously worked on design of the website and app over the next two years and experimented with several codes to make it 2G compatible.

Nabeel told The Logical Indian that as of now, around 80 sellers use the platform. These sellers are comprised of local artists, local-Instagram based businesses, small-sized social media-based businesses, local shopkeepers, retailers, manufacturers and even street vendors. Street vendors who make handcrafted souvenirs are also on the platform. They are continuously growing in numbers and are appealing to local trading bodies to spread the word.

Now, the platform is very different from the likes of Amazon or Flipkart. They make a mini-website that is unique for each seller. This mini-website has its own page, search bar, display banner, customisation options and transaction process. Jhelum cart has a subscription-based business model. When a seller makes sales then an amount of Rs 600-700 is charged as a subscription fee every month. Moreover, the platform provides logistics services to some sellers without any extra charge.

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