Direct to consumer SMEs & MSMEs: The need of the hour

The adoption of the ‘e-tailer business module’ will allow SMEs and MSMEs create a pan-India customer base, which was thought to be unimaginable during the brick-and-mortar age.
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A singular mantra had been consistently drilled into the minds of store owners — Location! Location! Location!

The digitisation of the world, however, has restructured the hierarchy of needs of a retail entrepreneur in a manner that facilitates both ease of doing business and reduces the capital required in achieving scale.

Prior to this, retail businesses were forced to incur exorbitant rents, high operational, and customer acquisition costs to be successful, and were also limited by geographical boundaries.

The adoption of the ‘e-tailer business module’ will allow SMEs and MSMEs to jump over these hurdles in order to create a pan-India customer base, a feat thought to be unimaginable during the brick-and-mortar age.

With the growth of the ecommerce sector in India being projected to cross $300 billion by 2030, it is indisputable that the online digital commerce is the future of retail.

The implementation of the proposed ecommerce amendments would allow SMEs and MSMEs to dive into a new digital world with infinite possibilities. The digital marketplace has provided the local ecosystem with a fighting chance to survive and thrive whilst competing against the Goliath’s of the ecommerce industry.

Mutual trust and respect are fostered between the buyer and seller through the imposition of a strict liability framework. The application of ‘fall-back liability’ as a remedy to fraudulent websites or even a failure to honour the commitment made is sure to pacify the minds of potential consumers.

The prescribed amendments consist of rules laid down to prevent predatory practices such as the ban of specific flash sales and under-pricing, a ban on discrimination by logistic service providers between sellers of the same category as well as restrictions against manipulation of search results in favour of certain sellers on a marketplace.

This is indicative of a push from the institutional pillars of Indian society in order to establish a fair and equitable marketplace that is sure to entice SMEs and MSMEs to dip their toes into the digital marketplace.

The impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on the world cannot be brushed past. Over the last few years, the ecommerce industry has been growing at an exponential rate, and the pandemic provided e-tailers with an unprecedented but much-needed boost. COVlD-19 led to the establishment of a new norm wherein purchases could be made with just a few clicks on our computers and smartphones.

We believe that the ‘e-tailer business module’ is here for the long haul. The convenience of the online platform is too good of a benefit for consumers to give up.

The implementation of the proposed amendments would go a long way in placating the mind of the consumer and convincing them of the reliability and trustworthiness of e-tailers. It would remove the need to plan a journey to the store to trust the brand and subsequently make a purchase.

The advantages of the ‘e-tailer business module’ are too significant to be ignored. SMEs and MSMEs can now increase their reach to a pan-India level in a manner that is asset-light and cost-efficient.

This was thought to be unthinkable during the brick-and-mortar age. It is our belief that SMEs and MSMEs must utilise COVID-19 to move their businesses to the digital marketplace to take their businesses to the next level.

The digital ecosystem including Google, Facebook, angel investors, fintech companies, performance marketing, and logistics companies are all there to support SMEs/MSMEs that are ready to come on board the digital direct-to-consumer sector to sell their amazing products with passion and empathy to the retail consumer.

The pandemic has been truly horrifying but, it must be used as an inflexion point so that we look back to this period as the time when many Indian SME/MSME unicorns were launched, which in turn, can lead to the explosive growth of the Indian economy.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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