In a world where everything is connected to the internet from your smartphone to your refrigerator, e-commerce has come as a boon, right from the inception of the world wide web. While the west is dominated by big players like Amazon and others, India hasn’t chosen to stay back, and so hasn’t Jammu and Kashmir, which earlier was missing an online space with a proper e-commerce shopping portal. Not anymore. Lalchowk a startup by recent Kashmir University alumni has taken the Kashmiri e-commerce scene by storm.
Lalchowk. Kashmir’s indigenous shopping app brings your favourite shopping destination right in your pockets. You can explore a wide range of products, place your order and expect delivery within 24 hours. Lalchowk comes with a user-friendly interface and a much-simplified user experience ensuring hassle-free shopping for the user. With around a thousand products and ever-growing inventory, you have options to choose from a diverse range of products from multiple categories.
Launched a month back, Lalchowk is breaking the shackles for offline vendors by giving them online space. The idea to launch Lalchowk was conceived in the university days only. “Most of the young Kashmiris tend to move outside the state for jobs. We too had the opportunity to do so but decided to stay back and work for the valley. Options outside the valley looked promising but the commitment of working for Kashmir was the key factor holding us back,” says Usman Sheikh one of the co-founders.
“It seems like everybody is giving up on Kashmir but we are here to create a space not only for us but for a large section of society. We want to live by our tagline ‘Ba-ikhtiyaar Kashmir’ (empowered Kashmir),” he adds.
Lalchowk has received an overwhelming response since its launch. With around 5000 downloads on play store, Lalchowk is creating a space for itself at a rapid rate. “The initial response has been beyond our expectations. We are getting a tremendous response from the people,” he adds.
As per its founders, they are further expanding its products and coverage area. With more than 2500 products listed already, they are enlisting more products and categories. “We are pushing categories in a phased and planned manner without jumping the gun,” he adds.
Initially delivering in Srinagar city only, Lalchowk is now delivering products to parts of Budgam and Ganderbal and will be delivering across entire Kashmir soon enough.
Taking on e-com giants like Flipkart and Amazon, Lalchowk is offering prices lesser than Indian e-com sites on most of the products and delivering them within 24 hours. Currently, the App is available only on Google Play and the iOS version is under development. “The current trends and standards are kept in mind while the development of the app,” he adds. Keeping the demands of users in mind, they launched the shopping website just recently.
The frequent Internet bans have been always a roadblock for many startups but the idea to launch Lalchowk was during the 2016 turmoil. “If there is a problem you don’t run away from it. We have to face it and draft a solution. Surprisingly, it was only during dark days of turmoil and Internet ban that we decided to go ahead with it. There are plenty of opportunities here and there are even more difficulties but we have to take on positives and move on. Perseverance is the key,” he adds.
Team Lalchowk believes in creating an ecosystem for Kashmir wherein people can buy anything and vendors can sell anything. Giving insight of their future endeavours, Lalchowk plans to launch niche products and bring local designers onboard. “We are trying to keep Lalchowk as generic as possible with a place for everybody. We want to give users the feel of Lalchowk from their homes.
“The idea is to give Kashmir’s ease of access to products they want at unmatched prices, delivered in shortest possible time,” he adds.
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