Boosting regional economy by taking people back to roots
Think of a dollop of red-hot spicy bhoot jolokia (ghost chilli) pickle. Did that make your mouth water? Nobody knows that feeling better than millions of Northeasterners living away from home who would kill for a jar of this hallowed preservative.
Enter SaleBhai: an e-commerce marketplace dedicated to fulfilling the needs of diaspora communities by bringing them original, unique and popular products from their regions. While doing so it has also become a portal of discovery for authentic local items from across India. Almost everything that a migrant misses from back home -- whether sweets, namkeen, pickles, dry fruits, handicrafts, herbal items, seasonal products, puja paraphernalia or festive offerings -- SaleBhai has it all.
Cherry-picked sellers offering quality regional products and nostalgic migrants seeking these together form a rapidly growing community on the site. For instance, a Nagaon-based brand, specialising in Assamese pickles such as olives, bamboo shoot and jujubes, saw sales multiply 20 times in just three months on the portal.
No infrastructure? No marketing? No problem. When one works with a brand that sold 10 tons of mangoes - a seasonal produce - in its first summer, anything is possible. All that one needs is a product (range) that is unique to their region and resonates with their diaspora community. SaleBhai, which is rapidly becoming the go-to site for migrants looking for authentic regional goods, helps onboard local sellers to showcase their indigenous offerings to a wide audience across India and beyond.
Besides tying up with reputed regional sellers offering GI-tagged and other ethnic foods to Northeastern populations living outside their homes, the portal also onboards local artisans/merchants for products made from bamboo, cane, water reed, wood, black pottery and handloom.
From initiating local sellers into online selling to marketing their products, SaleBhai takes care of every aspect. This has helped regional vendors increase their brand awareness, customers and sales at absolutely no extra costs. The company implements community-wise targeting of diaspora communities on social platforms to ensure that specific audiences discover the products they miss. That’s free promotion and very much a win-win situation. As such, for homegrown Northeastern brands that want to spread their wings beyond their local customer base, SaleBhai.com is the portal of choice.
According to a study by New Delhi-based think tank ‘North-East Support Centre & Helpline’,. over 4 lakh people shifted base in early 2000s, mostly to Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Ahmedabad. It estimated migration of another 50 lakh between 2012 and 2017 for higher education, better job prospects and marriage. And this increase in migration has led to a rise in demand of goods that take people back to their roots.
Vibrant chak hao (black rice) from Manipur, flawless cane crafts from Mizoram, impeccable bamboo objet d’arts from Mizoram, piquant dalle (cherry pepper) sauce from Sikkim and much more collectively form a wishlist of the millions of Northeasterners residing outside their homes. And SaleBhai has been helping them tick off these treats and treasures, one by one, ever since its inception in September 2015.
This article originally appeared in Northeast Now - Our Land, Our News
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