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Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Small businesses under severe pressure to digitize: Report

  • 79% businesses have expressed interest in learning about digital solutions in regional languages
  • 30% of small businesses are clueless about restarting their operations while barely 29% SMBs said that they are adopting digital changes

NEW DELHI : A majority of small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are struggling with customer related challenges and are under severe pressure to digitise as coronavirus has changed the way businesses operate, stated findings from a joint report published by Google India and Kantar.

The report, conducted on 400 small businesses across 16 cities in April, aims to assess the impact of covid-19 on small medium businesses (SMBs) along with the challenges they are facing and identify key areas of support.

The findings stated that 93% businesses are facing customer related challenges while 63% are undergoing revenue loss due to lower demand and fewer customers making purchases.

The pandemic has also pushed 58% businesses to a point where they are struggling to meet fixed cost challenges. Almost half of the surveyed SMBs said that they are undergoing a revenue loss due to consumers buying smaller quantities of goods and products.

Meanwhile, 30% of small businesses are clueless about restarting their operations while barely 29% SMBs said that they are adopting digital changes.

As social distancing becomes the norm, businesses have to rethink their business model keeping digital solutions such as online/UPI payment and digital marketing at the centre in a post covid world. Small businesses are taking note of it.

The survey revealed that six out of 10 businesses are willing to adopt at least one digital solution such as increase in digital marketing spending, adopting social media and start online sales. While four out of 10 businesses wish to seek help from tech companies in terms of training, learning tools, and helping with useful information to grow.

79% businesses have expressed interest in learning about digital solutions in regional languages.

"We have found out learning remains a big challenge but majority of the SMBs are willing to learn. In fact, these businesses are looking for hand-holding from tech companies like us in terms of digital solutions,"said Shalini Girish, director-India, Google Customer Solutions.

Google India said that over 26 million Indian SMBs have built their web presence on Google Maps and are discoverable on Google Search.

The company has launched Grow with Google Small Business hub website which helps small businesses to get access to all products and tools required to go digital. This site will soon be made available in Hindi and other regional languages as well.

It has also launched features and functionalities such as national roll out of ‘Nearby Stores’ spot on Google Pay, access to digital payments and merchant loans through Google Pay for Business app and offering remote working tools for free such as video conferencing service, professional-grade versions of Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

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