How Facebook and its family of apps played a crucial role in sustaining Indian SMEs amidst COVID-19
Traditionally, Indian entrepreneurs have relied heavily on their offline presence. However, the definition of running businesses changed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, where digitisation played a crucial role in paving the way for entrepreneurs to survive and make ends meet.
Facebook — along with its family of apps like Instagram and WhatsApp — have helped Indian businesses survive during the lockdown by launching various initiatives to enable the success of SMBs amid the pandemic.
In the first-ever edition of the Facebook Fuel for India 2020, Archana Vohra, Director, Small and Medium Business, Facebook India, spoke to women entrepreneurs across the industry, who used the social networking giant and its hosts of apps to thrive their business during COVID-19.
In a conversation with Pallavi Mohadikar of, Sunitha Siva Kumar of Vasthram Silk, ’s Megha Apparao, and Anju Srivastava of Wingreens, Archana spoke of the ways these ‘womenpreneurs’ ran their businesses, not only to sustain but succeed as well.
Founded in July 2017, Pune-based Karagiri connects with artisans and craftsmen from across India and delivers its products to customers globally. The lockdown, however, halted its operations, which posed a challenge for Pallavi to provide for 1,500 artisans she presently works with.
During the conversation, Pallavi said that Karagiri started working on its festive collection without fail after the lockdown was lifted since they knew the festive season ahead would pick up Karagiri’s sales.
The company created special videos on Facebook and Instagram for its audiences even before rolling it out on the website, which gave them huge responses from the customers.
Sharing the same sentiments, Sunitha Sivakumar, Proprietor and Designer, Vasthram Silk, said,
“As people had a lot of free time and were spending their leisure hours on social media, we believed that pushing our budget-friendly collection and posting daily advertisements across Facebook and Instagram was of great help to us and made us grow throughout the crucial period of the pandemic. With Whatsapp, we were able to connect personally with our customers, which also led to a huge surge in sales.”
“Facebook’s goal has always been to enable new opportunities for businesses, especially for more than 60 million small businesses across India. Every day, we see amazing examples of SMBs using the Facebook family of apps to pivot, make a new start, and grow through this particularly challenging time. Through the ‘Facebook Fuel for India’ event, we hope to tell stories that inspire millions of small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country to navigate through this crisis,” said Archana Vohra.
Meghna Apparao, the Chief Business Officer at Licious, spoke about how the startup hustled, pivoted, and introduced a ‘Notify Me’ feature on its app during the lockdown. This feature was integrated with WhatsApp that enabled real-time messages to consumers when products became available.
Wingreens — a Gurugram-based food company that uses scientific farming techniques to make handmade food — also leveraged its online presence amidst the pandemic. Founder and CEO Anju Srivastava said while the brand already had an online presence, but its customers weren’t much aware of the same.
For this reason, Wingreens first started spreading awareness about the brand’s online presence on Facebook and Instagram.
“Facebook was like God sent to us, and we made enough use of the platform along with its family of apps to increase our online presence,” Anju said.
Highlighting Facebook’s commitment to the economic recovery of India, Ajit Mohan, MD and VP, Facebook India, said that even as the country went under a lockdown, the Internet remained open, enabling businesses to reach their customers, sell, and even grow.
“Amidst these remarkable shifts, it has been exciting to see the creation of new economic opportunities and humbling to see the Facebook family of apps play a central role in enabling many businesses to make a new start by moving online,” he added.