Craftsvilla is an online marketplace for selling ethnic Indian handcrafts of all kinds. They claim to reach out to Indian craftsmen and offer them a platform for their wares. Craftsvilla hosts products including clothes, footwear, jewellery, home decor, gift items, musical instruments, bags, furnishings and more.
Craftsvilla ships internationally as well, with a fee for transport. The custom duties, taxes, and any other expenses related to shipping the product will be included separately in the cost of the product.
Selling on Craftsvilla
Signing up is a fairly simple process. The registration form requires typical seller details including PAN and VAT details, and the seller’s website. There is a seller support site that lists out seller policies, and offers support. Listing products on Craftsvilla is free, but a commission is charged upon sale.
The policy says that Craftsvilla will pay the sellers within fifteen days of shipping the product.
Craftsvilla requires sellers to submit images with a certain specification, and states that images that do not adhere to the specifications will be rejected. Some requirements of the images are given below:
- The product should fill 80% of the image space
- Ideally it should have a plain white background
- The image should have 80 pixels per inch resolution
- Minimum 800×800 pixels on each side
Commission and charges
On the whole the seller policy listed in the Craftsvilla website seems to lack a reassuring quality. It puts the entire burden of the transaction on the seller. As of September 2013, the website charges a 20% commission and a service tax, which works out to a total of 22.5% of the sale value. Curiously, the commission percentage has been mentioned in different parts of the website as either 15% or 20%. This could cause confusion.
Promotions and other support for sellers
In the seller FAQ page, Craftsvilla says that by default it remains neutral in promotion. However, it says it will promote sellers, who update their products more frequently, have good quality images, have good dispatch history and good product price and quality. Although it also says that sellers are invited to avail of paid marketing.
The website offers paid support for uploading images if required. If the seller gets an order, Craftsvilla updates it in the vendor panel in the seller’s account, and sends email and SMS notifications as well. If a seller is not going to be able to ship products, she or he is advised to put the products as ‘not available’ to avoid confusion.
Craftsvilla’s Seller Handbook helps sellers with tips on how to set up their store. Apart from topics on copyright and dispute resolution, the site also gives tips on how to take good photographs of the products, and how to write good copy.
Neha Agarwal Jain of Junk kart, an online fashion jewellery store is quite happy with Craftsvilla. A long-term associate of the marketplace, she loves selling on Craftsvilla and says that it has been a great journey.
“We have been selling on Craftsvilla for four years now, almost from the time they began their marketplace, and we have had good sales. They have been very prompt in their payments.”
She feels that there is a personal touch in selling in Craftsvilla than with large scale, established marketplaces like Flipkart or Amazon.
“We do have a presence in about ten or twelve marketplaces in total,” she says, “but with Craftsvilla if we have any issue, we can easily get in touch with Monica (Monica Gupta, co-founder with husband Manoj Gupta) and sort it out.”
Neha also feels that Junk kart has seen better sales and growth with Craftsvilla. “There is a better chance for our sales on Craftsvilla, because it is a marketplace that focuses on jewellery and handicraft. Other major marketplaces focus on other products, with jewellery as one of the products.
The back end support that we get with Craftsvilla is great.” She also says that volume of products gives sellers an edge over others. Sellers who have greater quantity of products will be promoted more and better than sellers who have only a few products.
Possibly not all share Neha’s sentiment. One seller has written the following on mouthsut.com:
“This site is horrible for merchants also. Never being a merchant to sell on Craftsvilla.com. I am waiting for my payment approx 2 month but till now they didn’t transfer the money to my bank account. No communication from Craftsvilla.com site. They are also not replying on mails. No phone number provided by Craftsvilla.com. We sent many mail to them but they are not replying.”
Craftsvilla doesn’t seem to be enjoying much popularity in the buyer’s camp. Reviews on mouthsut.com shows many disgruntled people who are complaining about the quality of the products, delays in delivery and non-responsive support.
One observation being the products are slightly higher priced than in other sites. For instance, a women’s footwear that sells at Rs. 299 (discounted from the original price of Rs. 799) in Flipkart, is priced at Rs. 999 at Craftsvilla (the exact same pair). And shipping charges are at Rs. 190 compared to Rs. 50 that Flipkart charges.
The overall user experience at the Craftsvilla website is not very comfortable or navigable. If you click a category, it takes you to a long page with products all across the page. Some of the links lead you to blank pages.
Sell on Craftsvilla?
The marketplace might be more profitable and conducive to sellers who deal with jewellery, accessories, and the like, and who are large scale sellers. Would this mean small scale artists and craftsmen are being sidelined? It might be unfair to pass a sweeping judgement like that on Craftsvilla.
The company seems to be gaining popularity and growth, as it recently raised almost $ 18 million from investors that include Sequoia, Nexus, and Lightspeed Ventures. It seems to be right on track. This could spell good news to sellers who want to sell on Craftsvilla. It is certainly an option worth exploring.