NEW DELHI :
A majority of small and medium businesses are struggling with customer-related challenges and are under severe pressure to digitize, as the covid-19 pandemic has changed the way businesses operate, according to a survey jointly published by Google India and Kantar.
The survey, which covered 400 businesses across 16 cities in April, says 93% of them were facing customer-related challenges, while 63% reported revenue loss due to low demand and fewer customers.
The survey, which sought to assess the impact of the virus outbreak on small and medium business, says the pandemic pushed 58% of them to a point where they are struggling to meet fixed cost challenges. Almost half of those surveyed say they were undergoing a revenue loss as consumers were buying smaller quantities of goods.
About 30% were clueless about restarting operations, while barely 29% say they were adopting digital changes.
Businesses have to rethink their strategies, keeping digital solutions, such as UPI payments and digital marketing, at the centre of their business models, in a post-covid world. Small businesses are taking note of it, the survey shows.
Six out of 10 businesses are willing to adopt at least one digital solution, including an increase in digital marketing spending, adopting social media and starting online sales, the survey reveals. Four out of 10 businesses wish to seek help from technology firms for training, learning tools, and helping with useful information to grow, while 79% businesses have expressed interest in learning about digital solutions in regional languages, the survey shows.
“We have found that learning remains a big challenge, but a majority of the small and medium business are willing to learn. These businesses are looking for hand-holding from tech companies such as us in terms of digital solutions," said Shalini Girish, director-India, Google Customer Solutions.
Google India said more than 26 million such businesses have built a web presence on Google Maps and can be discovered on Google Search. It has also launched the ‘Grow with Google’ initiative for small businesses, which helps them get access to products and tools required to go digital. This site will soon be available in Hindi and other regio-nal languages.
It has also launched features such as ‘Nearby Stores’, access to digital payments, and merchant loans through Google Pay for business app and offered remote-working tools such as a video-conferencing service, professional-grade versions of Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides, without charge.