As per Oberlo, there shall be over 2.14 billion online shoppers in 2021. But, how many of them are choosing SMEs?
It’s the National Small Industry Day on 30th August. And while wishing you is what was planned earlier, we decided to go a step ahead and help you make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead.
eCommerce is on the rise and serves as a growth engine for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It does so by putting the SME’s sector on an equal footing to the larger counterparts by helping them build on efficiency and cost-saving. However, there are several questions on how footfall is addressed in a highly competitive digital environment. We address those concerns in this blog.
Impact of COVID on SMEs and startup businesses during the pandemic
Well, let us not forget the elephant in the room. The world is still battling the infamous COVID-19 pandemic. Several sectors and industries have been severely affected. Not only this, it has affected the global sentiment as well. It is a catastrophe that marks the large-scale loss of human life and suffering and has also rendered the globe amid a major economic crisis. Production and manufacturing are halted in several countries, and consumption and confidence have collapsed. The pandemic has also affected investment sentiment as stock exchanges have responded negatively to the elevated uncertainties. Now, these were all evident in 2020.
Also read: 5 ECommerce Marketing Trends That Cannot Be Avoided In 2021
Come 2021, several provisions and policies help support the growth and development of SMEs. A comprehensive analysis of the COVID-19 impact on SMEs and entrepreneurs was conducted with 180 surveys of SMEs in 32 countries were undertaken by the OECD, which shows the scope for better growth this year.
These good and bad pieces of news indicate that the impact of COVID on SMEs and startups is mixed. Nonetheless, there is an indication of a favourable tomorrow for small businesses.
How to start small scale industries in today’s internet age
The answer to how to start small scale industries in the current period is to embrace the power of the Internet and use it appropriately. As for startups and SMEs, they can access the same online and social media platforms as the big-ticket corporations.
Look at it this way – online advertising is of two types – paid and unpaid. As for the latter, there is SEO or Search Engine Optimization. It is a free tool that helps drive organic traffic. Although challenging and time-consuming, SEO can be incredibly effective for small businesses and startups. When short on funds, this is a vital tool to increase visibility.
It does not cost your business to have a social media presence either. Startups and small-scale companies have an impression of being more approachable, and hence, it is the best way for startups to put themselves out there. This visibility can then translate into sales revenue. Another thing that small-scale businesses can do is put their office work culture out there on social media. Doing so indicates authenticity and transparency. And customers and prospects increasingly prefer to engage with companies and brands that display these traits.
Key SME’s who compete well with big brands
Several small scale businesses have delivered profound growth numbers since inception. And these can be held in good stead compared to the large-scale counterparts that operate within their sector.
To give some examples, Schbang, a holistic marketing solutions company launched in 2015, delivered 442 per cent absolute revenue growth in four years. The company provides varied services, including content creation and SEO, video production and photography, design and events. Schbang, in 2020, made it to the list of India’s Growth Champions by Economic Times. It also featured among the High-Growth companies in Asia Pacific 2020 by the Financial Times.
Kinara Capital, a financial services company, was launched in 2011 and has delivered 1057 per cent absolute revenue growth in four years. The company provides collateral-free loans to MSMEs. It is an MSME that helps in the growth and development of other small scale businesses and startups. The enterprise uses time-saving technology and a personalized approach to cater to clients. Focusing on building local economies, it is dedicated to working towards a financial-inclusive environment.
Yet another growing SME is IndiQube. IndiQube started in 2015 and registered a 531 per cent growth in its absolute revenue numbers over four years. IndiQube offers workspace and interior design and caters to the holistic needs of startups and solopreneurs, and other B2B and B2C businesses. It provides workspace management and coworking space solutions, among others.
The Advantages of Selling Online
1. With a proper SEO strategy it’s easier to compete with brands
SEO is an unpaid advertising strategy. Now, this is the benefit of the online space. Small businesses can challenge their larger counterparts using SEO. This type of advantage is not available for SMEs operating offline.
2. Discounts and offers always attract potential audiences
Scouring for discounts and offers is among the priorities of shoppers. Be it one on one schemes, cashback or referrals, they are invariably enticing. Again, social media presence and online marketing are excellent tools in pushing these forward to the audiences.
3. Great customer service builds brand loyalty
Another skill for success for startups and small businesses is to focus on customer service. It is made simpler with tools such as chatbots and voice assistance. Companies must be responsive and interactive with their audiences and cater and resolve the grievances that arise.
4. Social media features give you the power of direct selling
With more and more people going online, social media platforms have also introduced more features for small businesses and startups. Instagram now allows companies to sell directly to customers through their platforms. This feature is beneficial for smaller businesses that lack the know-how and funds to create their payment gateways or manage independent websites.
5. The online portal forms the backbone of brand reliability
The online space is susceptible to intrusions and misuse. Also, it poses an inherent threat to privacy and confidentiality. A robust online platform instils brand trust and helps leverage the company image across the spectrum.
Online platforms are how the gap between small-scale and larger businesses can be bridged effectively. Social media platforms, technological innovations, and advertising strategies such as SEO have fueled SMEs and startups in their online selling objectives.
To help with this, the lockdown and movement restrictions have brought a lot of people online. The way from here is all about establishing a strong presence that reiterates the brand proposition and values at all touchpoints.
Apexon is taking charge of bringing SMEs to the forefront. We are building a collaborative experience through online platforms that ensure meaningful interactions and cost-efficiency. You can expect front-facing products that deliver a competitive advantage in your industry.
Reach out to our experts to know how we’re leveraging the Internet for a better tomorrow.