Farsh Online is the first online carpet sale in the areas of selling the carpet. The interview which you will read is an interview with a successful couple and founders of Farsh Online Web Site.
Mrs. Khosravi and Mr. Nasir administrate this site:
Please give a full explanation about yourself and your working records up to the present for the readers of the journal:
Mrs. Khosravi: I hold a Doctorate in Business Administrative and M.A. in International Laws. I have been working for a long time at UN and have been active in the area of women and children. In fact, for 10 years, due to my profession, I have had certain activities in many countries of the world. Many people are surprised how I have arrived into this field of job. In 2010, i.e. six years ago, when e-commerce was developing fast in the country, we thought about the online carpet sale, a new business for which no body had made an action or activity in the country.
Mr. Mohammad Nasiri:
I hold B.Sc. in Drawing and M.A. in Tourism Planning. My father was one of the activists of carpet traditional market and as I was grown up since childhood with carpet, I used to be busy with that most of the time in my father’s shop. I thought about combining my father’s job with the modern science of the world and thus, we started online sale of carpet.
How did the idea of online carpet sale take form?
Our team has had a specific study on the existing technology and progresses in the area of electronic commerce and we are interested in new works. Considering the existing records, the idea of creating a site to have an online carpet sale came into existence. Perhaps, the art of carpet in Iran has been converted into regular things, since we are facing it frequently but in the whole world, the Iranian carpet has a specific attraction to the people. If we can be able to introduce this art to the world better than the past due to the existing potentials, and if we could provide better grounds for its further sale, we will be able to keep this Iranian original art and tradition alive.
In fact, it was in October 2010, that the startup of the idea of Farsh Online was put forth. On that time, the e-commerce was not so prevalent in Iran but it was in progress in the world rapidly and had captured many areas. We decided to do this job. We desired to create a potential which did not exist before and fortunately, we had essential expertise in the area of IT. In the beginning, we could not assume that we will have such a growth. We could add other segments for the facility of sale and to be known but our intention was only and only activity in the field of carpet. When we started the job, there was no association and development center. Alone and without support by an institution or organization, we started the job despite all disagreements and negative energies. With regard to our familiarity with the carpet market, due to the family record, it was suggested to start activity in the area of carpet and textile products. Knowing the market was important to us. Our issue is not only the issue of sale of carpet but we have a big vision behind our job.
As you are aware, the prevailing and traditional method of carpet purchase by people is in traditional and oral form and people have in particular an interest in purchasing in person rather than through internet. Now despite of this, what percent of your customers take action to purchase your products through website?
100% of our customers purchase through website. We do not have a shop to present our products. Of course, we have a Show room in the same building where some of our products are there. If a customer is interested in, he/she can refer to our office and observe the product closely. The advantages which have placed for the customers have made them have interest in making an internet purchase. For example, photography of the products is such that when a customer looks at the photo, this sense is transferred to him/her as if he/she is watching the product closely. Fortunately, most of our customers have a correct understanding of online purchase. We are happy that the level of awareness of people has gone up, despite the fact that there is no media to introduce internet sale to the addressees. People welcome it well and have a civilized behavior towards this subject and have good knowledge about the online sale.
If one of your customers contacts you and expresses his/her dissatisfaction with the purchased product, what will be your reaction towards this problem?
With no condition, we return the product. If there is a courier there at the same moment, we do not receive the cost of return. However, from the date of purchasing the product up to seven days, the cost of return is undertaken by the customer. For the other cities and towns, no cost is charged for return the product by seven days from the purchase of the product. I should add that so far, there have been rare cases with such kind of contacts in the side of customers. If we had posted the photo of carpet design on the site or the quality of photos was problematic, such kind of mentioned problems might have happened.
What kinds of your products have had the highest rate of sale?
The highest rate of sale is related to the machine woven carpet and that is due to the low price as compared with the existing shops. If we should say in details, among the machine woven carpets, the modern carpet has the highest rate of welcome.
What rate of price difference does exist between types of your product in your website with the shops existing at city level?
In some products there is by 30% and in some others by 50% below the price of shops at city level. The reason is the side costs of shops which we do not have. For example, we do not have the cost of renting and cost for decoration.
What are your programs and approaches for the increase of people welcoming the internet purchase and remove their concerns?
Our issue is not only internet carpet sale but also is in fact to identify and introduce online sale or in other words, electronic commerce and encouraging people to purchase via this method. Our first objective is to expand this scope. In fact, the expansion of this scope is in our interest. The issue of online sale and people welcoming it has many important advantages for all our people. One of these advantages is the issue of reducing the volume of urban traffic–even in a slight rate. The other issue is to respect our time. Specially those who due to their daily activities, are facing the issue of time shortage during the day.
According to the researches made by Ministry of Industry, Mine and Commerce, those who go shopping in person, they select a product while they are tired and it is likely that the day after, when they look at the product in tranquility, they will notice that the product is not desirable to them. But in the virtual space, comparing some products concurrently, you will notice the advantages of each of them over the others. Air pollution disturbs all of us. The topic of urban transportation is an issue. Let’s give you a small example. When ten people make action to have a personal purchase- most of people do not tend to use public transportation- ten means of transportation is added to the existing means of transportations at city level. Well, the issue of traffic and pollution is put forth but when these very ten families take action to purchase via web site, the traffic and pollution load will be reduced even slightly. If this strategy finds its position in the people’s mind, that I attach importance to my own time, tranquility, air pollution, etc., and I am concerned about it, so I will try as a citizen to help with the solving of problems and will notice that it is possible to purchase a carpet through internet.
If this culture-building to be supported by the related organizations, such that incentive advantages to be considered for creating a ground to help with the issues which are related to all of us, then If God Wishes It, we will be able to solve the problems. For example, it is a good idea to produce publicizing clips to make people familiar with it and the issues which were already discussed could be shown there. Each organization and institution which could help with culture-building on this area, in fact that will be in the interest of all of us.
How is the cooperation of carpet producers with you? Do they have any interest in cooperating with you?
Many of the producers are now cooperating with us. When a producer requests to cooperate with us, through standards which we have defined for ourselves, through our own experts, take action to examine the quality of the products and the rate of people inclination towards their products. If they are confirmed by the experts, then we start cooperation with them. We will be pleased to cooperate with all people who are active in this field. Also the desire of many companies to cooperate with us is positive. Usually, the producers contact us for cooperation.
Which companies are cooperating with you at present?
At present, Karamatian, Puzzle Farsh, Gandom, Brelian, Orsi, Zomorod Mashhad, Savin, Shahkar Safavi, Shahab Farsh, Farsh-e Eslimi, Farsh-e Behesht, Khatere Kashan, Farsh Dina, Farsh-e Negin-e Mashhad, Ghali Fars, Man, A&H, Mashhad, Mahyar Delijan, Mir Anam, Noornik, Vosough-e Ardabili, and Patric companies are cooperating with us.
Do you have any plan to sell to the foreign countries through site?
Yes, we have an office in California which does necessary coordination to sell the products through the site. Of course, even after Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, so called in Persian “Barjam”, we have some problems. The other important issue for us to sell carpet to other countries is our producers. That they should consider the export issue an important issue and distance somehow from their traditional viewpoint. Here our issue is not the online carpet. If they want to have the Iranian carpet with good export, they need to change their mental attitude. In connection with the price of their products to sell in the world market, they should not show any prejudice. Foreign markets at present are under the control of China, Turkey, India and Pakistan and we are forced to come to term with the prices which they have determined. A simple asking for price quotation from foreign companies will make us to have a suitable price for the sale of products at a foreign market. As long as China, India, and Turkey sell the same products with one fifth, one third and one fourth of our price, we will not be able to have a saying in the world market. 1200-comb or 1000-comb carpets are not so much in use in America. The basic weakness of Iranian carpet is not production but the lack of understanding the foreign market and our weak marketing.
How many websites are there for the sale of carpet in Iran? Do you have any statistics in this field? How do you evaluate the existing qualitative level?
I think there is about 50 online carpet sale website and due to the novelty of online sale in the area of carpet, there is a long way to be paved. As we have been the first website, it can be said in one way or another that the online sale websites have been our followers. Even some of these websites have fully and without any change copied the framework of our website.
In the end, if you have any further talk to add to this interview, please provide us with your kind views:
We would like to request those who are active in this area to put their ideas into practice as much as possible. We should post the website for the satisfaction of people rather than achieving a Google page. If the job is done properly, and the target to be people and customer, and people are satisfied with that, then it means that we have paved a correct route. If we could convey the sense of respectability of people and customers to them, there will be no need to any propagation. We have put the cost of our propagation on the selection of high quality products. In this area, those websites will be successful which are creative. Our main concern is the progress of the art of Iranian carpet. Certainly, all individuals have ideas and they should put them into practice, no matter they might seem to be weak. The producers should accept that they need to pay costs for the growth of this industry. We are ready to cooperate expect well- known ones, with the newly established plants, retail sellers and those who believe in themselves.