It’s an understatement to say that e-commerce has transformed the way businesses operate in India. They have proven to be a game changer, especially for MSMEs and SMEs where e-commerce is should grow to US $ 200 billion by 2026 compared to US $ 38.5 billion in 2017.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when the first lockdowns were imposed, MSMEs were hit hardest. Also in the second wave, MSMEs have borne the brunt of successive blockades and mass public fear. However, there are a few companies that have managed to survive and thrive in these difficult times as well, and these are companies that have embraced digital tools and taken advantage of technology.
In a video interaction at YourStory 2021’s Third Annual MSME India Summit, Hirdyesh Mordani, Co-Founder, MyEasyStore; and Kishore Indukuri, Founder of Sid’s Farm, explain how e-commerce has disrupted the MSME and SME sector, and all that this entails going forward.
Help businesses reach potential customers
We’re starting to talk about the impact, and Hirdyesh and Kishore agree that through e-commerce, businesses have been able to reach customers and PINs that would otherwise have been unreachable during the lockdown.
Kishore shares how he was able to keep his dairy business running by leveraging e-commerce and technology. When other businesses have been forced to close, he says adapting to the latest trends has allowed him to continue working for his business, ensuring essential milk supplies reach customers as well.
What amazes Hirdyesh is how e-commerce allows businesses to reach distant customers without having to travel from their physical locations. “E-commerce has also played a major role in streamlining business processes from receiving a product order, managing deliveries, tracking inventory, and even analyzing consumer feedback and data,” said he declared.
Minimum investment, maximum gains
Founder of MyEasyStore, a platform that allows business owners to create their own personalized online store for a subscription fee, Hirdyesh believes that the greatest benefit for an MSME or any small business in starting a online store lies in the fact that it involves a minimum investment. .
“When you set up your store on e-commerce platforms or any other way, you don’t have to pay high rents, utility bills, or hire staff – all of which contribute to large expenses. “, he explained.
To run an online business, an entrepreneur only needs to pay a subscription or commission, allowing businesses to scale at their convenience.
The future is online sales
Speaking about the future of online shopping, Kishore, who started his dairy business online, said if a business is to reach out to the masses, it has to go online.
“Selling online gives you ready-made data on consumer behavior. It helps companies innovate according to market demands, which is essential for survival and maintenance, ”Kishore said during the conversation.
Mistakes to avoid when selling online
Hirdyesh spoke about the importance of understanding who your customer is early on, as easy access to customer data is now the norm.
“The first goal should be to sell your products. Entrepreneurs should take advantage of the many tools available to start their business, rather than creating technology products on their own, ”Kishore added, pointing to common mistakes entrepreneurs can avoid when taking the online route.
When profitable tools are available, companies should leverage them, he added.
Traditional businesses are “now” at the right door
Many MSMEs and small entrepreneurs have been forced to go digital during the pandemic, a move that may not necessarily have happened if the coronavirus had not disrupted lives. As to whether this trend is here to stay or not, Hirdyesh said, there is no looking back, as it is unthinkable now to run a business purely on the back of an offline model, with the convenience offered by electronic commerce.
Quick to come to terms with this, Kishore added that the COVID-19 pandemic had given a boost to digitization, with an impact similar to the demonetization of 2016.