Dei marketplace puts Little India online

Singapore’s historic Little India area now has an online presence with the new Dei marketplace (“Daily Everything Indian”).

About 50 vendors, roughly a quarter of the area’s shops, are now selling more than 10,000 products as diverse as clothes, ethnic wear, cooking utensils, prayer items, fruit and even banana leaves.

Website founder G Jayvarman says he launched the venture in partnership with the Little India Shopkeepers Heritage Association (Lisha) last year because shoppers had to endure crowds, unpredictable weather and queues. 

Already, chairman C Rajkumar says the online access has cut back weekday crowds in Little India, which means the large number of tourists can more around more freely. “On weekends, locals still make trips down to Little India, but more for dining or to places of worship.”

Jayvarman says that while most customers are Indians, he has noticed more interest from other ethnicities, especially the Chinese community.

One of the initial challenges for participating retailers, says Rajkumar, was managing both their online and physical inventory at the same time. Even more difficult was onboarding retailers who do not even have a POS system.

He says many retailers seem to be keen to experiment. “While they might not have the clearest understanding about e-commerce, most of them understand the significance of the online space.”

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