Jamdani needs no introduction. It is one of those few Bangladeshi products with great cultural and historical significance. At the same time, Jamdani has great contribution towards our national economy, especially; the livelihoods of thousands of people in Narayanganj are directly or indirectly dependent on Jamdani sari. Jamdani is considered the ultimate creation of our weavers. Despite all its potential, we have failed to develop a successful market for Jamdani sari. We must give emphasis on the online sales of Jamdani and to do so we have to develop a strong ecosystem.
Developing good quality content (text, image, audio and video) is the first step of this ecosystem development process. Currently, most of the websites and Facebook pages emphasize on sales and provide only sales related information. We need content covering all the aspects of Jamdani, i.e its history, its making process, Jamdani weavers, beautiful pictures and videos on Jamdani weaving, reviews of Jamdani sari.There is no online platform- website, forum, online directory- that brings together all the people who are working with Jamdani sari. Hence, we need to create a directory containing information about people who are involved with the Jamdani industry. The directory should contain links to their Facebook pages and websites. Such initiative will help these people to know each other but the biggest beneficiaries will be the customers for they will get all the necessary information in one place. We have to take this initiative as soon as possible.
Digital marketing is the most effective tool for the online promotion of Jamdani sari. Knowledge in either digital marketing or Jamdani Sari will not sufficient, the person must be knowledgeable enough in both areas. People involved in the business side lack the knowledge in digital marketing. Necessary trainings should be provided to a selected group of people from both business and digital marketing side.
e-Commerce is founded on the idea of ordering a product online and making payment online. Bangladesh has such facilities. Customers can pay with either debit cards or credit cards. Then we have mobile payments like Rocket, Bkash and so on. Since Jamdani is a pricey item, many customers do not want to make advance payments for fear of getting faulty item or lower quality than promised. We need to work on resolving this issue. Payment gateways, MFS providers and e-Commerce entrepreneurs should collaborate on increasing customer awareness which is quite difficult but, if achieved, will prove to be highly beneficial to the growth of the online retail of Jamdani. Often times, transactions do not happen smoothly in Cash-on-Delivery method. As a result, a merchant selling Tk.3000, or Tk.5000, or Tk.10,000 Jamdani sari ends up with a huge backlog of transactions reaching up to Tk.1 lakh in just a matter of one week. This delay in transaction is bad for entrepreneurs with running capitals.
The main advantage of e-Commerce lies in the fact that customer can order a product staying at the comfort of his house, office or any part of the country. The quality of courier service in our country improved a lot in the last few years but e-commerce delivery has not improved. Trust of the customer would increase if he could know the condition of the product he or she ordered, its current destination, time of delivery. We have to address this issue.
A strong Jamdani online ecosystem will not only serve the interests of the business people but also the weavers and sellers. Jamdani is one of the major representatives of our culture and heritage. So it is normal that it is in huge demand all over the country. Compared to any other time in past, Jamdani is being promoted more seriously now a days and this will definitely contribute to the increase of its sales. Generous assistance and proper incentives from the government will result in the growth of the Jamdani industry.—The writer is the owner and founder of Kakoly’s Attire.