VIRTUAL TRADE
Kashmir Life|April 11, 2021
With the Covid-19 pandemic dictating a new regime, most of the activities of life are getting into virtual mode. Owing to the communication blockade, Kashmir has finally managed its hiccups and is trying to manage the digital deficit. Shakir Ashraf reports about Kashmir’s new online stores
Shakir Ashraf
The Coronavirus pandemic has upset life for more than a year and crumbled the business world over. It has dictated a new lifestyle. With the high-speed internet as the virtual highway, now everything barring agriculture and manufacturing is happening from home. People work from home and make purchases online.

The blockage of the high-speed internet notwithstanding, many ambitious and energic Kashmir young men have started their online ventures at the peak of lockdown. These online retailers are doing well even when the normal business activity has resumed. They are selling almost everything and ensuring it is delivered in time. The healthy competition within these stores is improving the service. Interestingly, these stories sprung up from Srinagar and now various peripheral towns have their own online retailers.

“There are two types of ventures that Kashmir has seen in last more than a year,” Samiuallh, the co-promoter of Fast Beatle, Kashmir’s first IT-driven logistics company, said. “There are businesses who get orders online and we deliver them to their customers at no added cost. Then there are certain stores who own the products and deliver on their own.”

Samiullah said that in 2020 when they started, almost 300 stores were working through them. “Now it is 600 and these include a lot of people who have started their initiatives using their social media accounts.” Fastbeetle, he said, has 20 people on its rolls right now and is about to re-start hiring for more positions.

“Apart from what we were already doing, there were two major happenings that took place recently,” Samiullah said. “We have entered into a relationship with Amazon, the major online retailer and from May 1, we will be delivering their couriers in Pampore, Awantipore and Pulwama.”

The second aspect of their operations is linked to the investment. “We have diluted 10 per cent of our stakes in the company and raised Rs 25 lakh for expansion. Now three investors – Anuj Sharma (Mumbai), Tabasum Azad (Delhi) and Abrar Asif Yaha Sukuri (Bengaluru) hold 10 per cent stakes in our company. The capital infusion will help us grow faster.”

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