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Corporate Profile
ArtSaga: The dotcom promoting online arts and crafts sales

Corporate Profile

Column

Politics & Policy

Information Technology

By Syed M. Aslam
Sep 24 - 30, 2001

ArtSaga is a business to consumer Internet e-commerce application designed to allow customers to browse, search and buy arts and crafts online. It uses a web browser on a global scale and claims to derive its name from a commitment to tying the common threads of artistic talents of diverse cultures across the globe.

It is the brainchild of Asim Buksh who strived for a fulfilling professional experience while exploring the possibilities of the immense opportunities which cyber market offered. ArtSaga derives from a commitment to blend the common threads of artistic talent in diverse cultures across the globe.

Initially, ArtSaga intended to explore the richness and vibrancy of Eastern artistic tradition. However, it soon realised that the vision of an artistic era inevitably involves cross-cultural reference and diversification.

Variety

The site offers a range of products from the purely bohemian to the politically correct forms of art, many of which are symbols of various time frames and times. With its focus on the amalgamation of region-specific art, it strives to explore and connect the common cultural threads across the world. The vision has its basis in the conception of an art and cultural village needed to carve out the pathway to a lasting niche in the global cyberspace market.

ArtSaga offers an eclectic selection of arts and crafts from various countries. The selection criterion emphasizes art that embodies both the skill of the artisan as well as the cultural identity of the society it belongs to. Attention is paid to capture the artistic thought patterns prevalent in the societies and at rejuvenating the intricacies of the artistic trends. The collection offers a unique blend of quintessential art with functional pieces that blur the obvious distinction between art and reality.

By and large, the arts and crafts offered by ArtSaga represent the fusion of old techniques and materials with contemporary craftsmanship. In addition to the specifics of material and form, the relevant description of the art pieces with relation to period and origin are also included.

Enjoying strong indigenous links, knowledge of localized sourcing and global reach ArtSaga strives to offer a unique value to the consumers of arts and crafts worldwide. Many of its consumers are based in the US who are looking for better value in terms of choice, quality and product innovation. However the consumers 'reach' is often limited in terms of geographical range and the fact that they lack the local information needed to reach artisans and craftsmen directly in remote regions. On the other hand, the artisans themselves have to rely on middlemen to market their products. This is where ArtSaga comes in to fill this communication gap primarily by removing these market inefficiencies by linking the artisans directly with the end consumer in an efficiently cost effective way. It provides a link between consumer needs and supplier priorities.

The art market

By its very nature the art market irrespective of its geographical location anywhere in the world caters to consumers which have varied tastes and preferences. Thus using e-commerce as compared to the traditional marketing and distribution channels removes the inherent difficulty to reach this much diversified customer base. In addition, the fact that value is created by bringing together a buyer with a wide range of products by artisans in areas where he would not have an access also goes to explain the reason for the creation of ArtSaga.

ArtSaga researched the consumer behaviour through the sample offering on internet auction sites thus providing it a cost effective way of obtaining a valuable market feedback on products to form the core target group. E-bay has been used as the primary sales channel as it enjoys the status of an established auction houses and as in a limited way it offers similar products.

Options

Arts and crafts buyers have two options the traditional shopping channels of brick and mortar stores and the business-to-consumer channel now offered by the web. The first continue to be restricted due primarily to high costs, limited retail space and narrow geographic consumer reach. The emergence of web-based arts and crafts suppliers owe their presence to take advantge of a fragmented market which is fast as well as cost effective.

ArtSaga is competing in the second market and plans to distinguish itself by offering value through breadth and depth of product line, concentrating on art and crafts. ArtSaga is banking not only on its local presence in a number of developing countries in the region, indigenous links and established networks with artisans and communities to have an edge over the competition.

It feels that direct sourcing will help translate into cost benefits that are passed on to the consumers in the form of lower prices. In addition, the lower prices coupled with bigger product range would also offer a hard to match value for the competitors irrespective of how big or small they may be.