Google doubles down to help Indian small and medium businesses go digital

The new initiative by Google will focus on accelerating the efforts to help businesses build a digital presence with Zoho, Instamojo, Swiggy, and Dunzo.
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Google India announced a new multi-pronged effort to help small and medium businesses (SMBs) navigate the challenging economic environment and adapt to the new digital-first consumer behaviour. 

Building on its effort to help consumers discover small businesses on Google Search and Maps, the new initiative builds on the “Grow with Google Small Business hub” and will focus on accelerating the efforts to help businesses build digital presence in partnership with Zoho and Instamojo.

The company has also partnered with Dunzo and Swiggy keeping the needs of different businesses in mind to fast track the on-boarding process and provide additional support to small businesses to start accepting orders online and enable delivery logistics. 

The initiative is in direct response to the feedback received from small medium businesses captured in the Google-Kantar small business tracker research conducted in July. According to the report, customer-related challenges tops the list for small businesses faced by 92 percent businesses, followed by revenue loss due to low demand and payment of fixed costs. The report also highlights that businesses are seeing the benefits of going digital, and today five out of 10 are using digital channels to engage their customers compared to just four in 10 in April. 

Speaking on the new effort, Shalini Girish, Customer Solutions Director at Google India said, 

Today, the need to go digital is a necessity and SMBs are hard-pressed to digitise fast. We need to do everything we can to handhold millions of small businesses in their digital transformation journey and support business recovery during the current crisis. The needs of small businesses differ across the country and we are partnering with the Industry leaders to offer more support to help small businesses go digital.”

To aid the consumer demand, Google has launched a nationwide campaign ‘Make Small Strong’ to rally support from the citizens to support small businesses by buying locally, leaving reviews and ratings and promoting their favourite retailers on social media to help generate demand for these businesses. 

Anand Nergunam Sr, Vice President - Revenue Management and Growth, Zoho Corp, added, 

“Zoho owes its existence to SMBs. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have announced several initiatives and resources to serve them in these tough times. Our partnership with Google is a part of our continued efforts to help local businesses and communities get back on their feet and emerge stronger than before. The dramatic shift in consumer preference towards digital commerce has caught most of the small businesses off-guard with many of them struggling to win their customers back. Through the Grow with Google initiative, we are providing them with basic tools necessary for them to digitise their operations with ease. We will assist them with building awareness, onboarding, and implementation as well."

Under the new initiative, small businesses will be able to create business websites using Zoho inventory and sell online through Zoho Commerce for free till March 31, 2021.

“Instamojo currently serves over 1.3 million MSMEs across the country to start, manage and grow their business online. Small businesses are the backbone of Indian economy and a significant contributor to India’s GDP. Given the current circumstances, our mission is more important than ever to unlock the potential of digital and internet to startups and MSMEs in India and in support, Instamojo is offering a six-month free subscription to its ‘Premium Online Store Solution’. ” added Akash Gehani, Co-Founder, Instamojo.

Kartik Mishra, Head -  Strategy & New Initiatives, Dunzo, said, “At Dunzo, we’re building for the growing digital adoption by Indian consumers. India already has a strong network of local merchants and we are enabling them to come online for the very first time and expand their footprints in ways that weren't possible before. This collaboration with Grow with Google, helps us reach more local businesses and empower them with the best possible tools and resources to get started on their digital journey, with a helping hand along the way.”

Talking about Swiggy’s effort to support the hospitality sector, Paul Varghese, VP Supply, Swiggy, said, 

“As India’s hospitality sector continues to face unprecedented challenges, Swiggy is committed to supporting restaurants and small and medium size cafés and stores, some of whom are exploring online deliveries for the first time. We are glad to partner with Google for their Small Businesses initiative where we have an opportunity to support these new entrants with initiatives that will not only help kick start their business but thrive. In sync with our larger goal to support the restaurant ecosystem through our Jumpstart program, we are looking forward to partnering with independent outlets through fast onboarding and enabling them to grow through this association.” 

SMBs can also avail Dunzo’s 24x7 Merchant support for free with zero sign-up fees and instant registration and can make use of Swiggy’s 7 days ‘Fast track Onboarding’. All these will be available for SMBs on Grow with Google Small Business hub in India.

In addition to providing support to go digital, Google India is also investing in efforts to scale its outreach to help small businesses learn to use digital tools in local Indian languages. As part of this effort, Google has worked closely with FICCI to drive an industry-wide skilling programme, which has already trained 1.2 million individuals.

Endorsing the Make Small Strong campaign, Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI, said,

“COVID-19 is an opportunity in disguise. It gives us a new perspective to focus on our MSMEs and startups, which are indeed the future of India’s economic revival. FICCI extends its full support to the “Make Small Strong” initiative as we believe that digitally connecting these dots is the key in completing the bigger picture of digital inclusion”

Google will also be launching a new show in partnership with Doordarshan called Namaste Digital, serving as a mass media program for SMBs to learn about the Internet and help them grow their business.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta