Did you know…
Small and medium businesses (SMBs) account for 37 percent of India’s GDP and employ more than 120 million people.
There are more than 51 million SMBs in India. And yet, only 32 percent of them have a web presence of some sort, according to Rajan Anandan, a senior executive at Google.
These findings are further corroborated by a similar survey done in 2015 by GoDaddy, which reveals that 2 out of 3 small businesses in India lack a web presence.
Around 500 small businesses – with 5 employees or less – were polled in the survey.
- 40 percent said that their business was too small to warrant a website.
- 19 percent said that they lacked the technical expertise needed to build a website.
Online presence, if leveraged well, can make all the difference to your small business. It can be a strategic asset for your business, one that could help expand your footprint from local to national, or even global.
63 percent of business owners said in the survey that building a website definitely helped their business grow much faster than before, with 33 percent claiming that their business grew by 10 percent or more.
Generally, newly started small businesses are much quicker at developing a web presence than those that have been around for a long time. Small businesses that employed 2 to 5 people were more likely to have a website compared to those with just 1 owner/employee.
Why More Small Businesses in India Are Now Desperate to Establish a Web Presence…
Many small business owners – around 77 percent – have plans of selling their products or services online by adding e-commerce functionality to their websites, or developing a profitable online storefront.
91 percent of those surveyed said how important it was for their online storefront to be mobile friendly, given that most people in India access the internet on their smartphones rather than from a desktop computer.
Cheap 4G internet services because of services such as Reliance Jio and the massive penetration of smartphones have meant that many customers now search for local businesses on Google or on online directories. Not having a web presence could be disastrous in a scenario when most of your competitors have their own websites.
Interestingly, most small business owners in India hire local website design and development firms to build their websites. That’s because very few small businesses have the technical know-how to develop their own websites. In fact, that is the main reason that’s holding them back.
The biggest reason for small businesses to want to have a web presence is the spectacular growth of e-commerce in India.
India’s eCommerce Market is alive and thriving. Although e-commerce still accounts for only 2.7% of the total market share in India, which continues to be dominated by the offline stores, it is growing rapidly.
According to a report by the US-based Forrester Research, “We expect the online retail market in India to grow at a CAGR of 29.2% to cross $73 billion in 2022, representing nearly 5.7% of total retail sales. We expect apparel, footwear, and grocery to continue to be a key focus for online retailers in 2018.”
“Reduction in data prices and the launch of affordable 4G devices will further boost the expansion of the buyer base for online retail in markets like India. Increasing adoption of mobile payments will also boost sales via mobile devices,” Forrester added.
It has certainly helped that out of a population of 1.3 billion people, the number of mobile internet users are 478 million and growing fast. Most people in India, especially in the cities, are comfortable with buying online. By 2022, it is expected that the share of online buyers will account for 41% of India’s population.
Estimates are that retail eCommerce sales will cross $32.70 billion this year. It is expected to grow faster than China by 2022. But eCommerce in India is not just about the big players such as Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and Paytm Mall.
It is equally about small and medium businesses (SMBs), even very small businesses that employ 1 to 5 people. It’s no surprise that a number of smaller businesses have also jumped on the eCommerce bandwagon.
If you’re still wondering about why your small business needs a web presence, then we have 10 good reasons for you.
10 Reasons Why Your Small Business in India Should Have an Online Presence.
Reason #1: Most of your customers expect you to have a website.
Fact is, a majority of your buyers have smartphones and search for local businesses on Google or Bing. They expect you to have a website, and more importantly, a professionally designed website. Not having one indicates a lack of seriousness on your part. Remember, 60% of India’s population is below the age of 35. These are highly internet savvy people. If you want to attract them to your business, you must have a web presence.
Reason #2: It gives you social proof.
Having a website of your own gives you something very important – social proof. For example, if you have a small restaurant or a bike shop, it would really help to have reviews and testimonials from satisfied customers on your site. Your clients, buyers or customers are already looking for you on the internet. When they see that you have got good, positive reviews from authentic customers, that makes them more receptive to your business, more willing to buy from you or hire your services.
Reason #3: Builds trust and credibility.
To add to the points made above, a professionally designed website builds trust and credibility. When prospective clients come to your website, the first thing they want to see is whether it looks professional or not. An amateurish D-I-Y website causes more harm than not having a website at all.
As one of the best web design firms in India that serves small and medium businesses (SMBs), we develop websites that are elegant, functional and aesthetically pleasing. A well-designed website builds trust and credibility, optimizes conversion and leads to more sales.
Reason #4: It can help you reach a global audience.
Let’s say you have a small business that sells custom-made handicrafts in Jaipur. You owe a large percentage of your income to visiting foreign tourists. So you can already see that there is a demand for your products far beyond India.
Why not build a website that can take your business to where these tourists come from? Perhaps there is someone from Kansas City in the U.S. or Manchester in the UK looking for “Jaipur Handicrafts”. They might chance upon your website, and place a big order if impressed by what they see.
Just because you are a small business does not mean you should only be restricted to your local market. By developing a web presence, you can make your business go truly international.
Reason #5: It is the nerve center of your marketing and branding efforts.
Why is it so important to have your own website? Your website serves as a base station from which you can carry out your online marketing or digital marketing – this includes social media marketing, pay-per-click advertising (Google AdWords), display ads, or advertising on online directories such as Sulekha.com, Yelp or Just Dial.
It is also essential for your brand building. Your customers may find your business while browsing Facebook, visiting an online directory or doing a simple Google search on their mobile. They then visit your website to learn more about your business before making a purchase online or visiting your store and then making a purchase. A well-designed website is a great way to catch their attention and turn leads into paying customers.
Also, a small business website contains essential details such as your contact number, the address of your business and email. Your customers can get in touch with you, ask questions related to a product or service or ask for special offers or discounts. That’s why the value of a good business website cannot be emphasized enough.
Reason #6: It helps with your online reputation management.
As a small business owner, you are often put into a situation when someone makes an unfair allegation about you, or there is a negative report about your business in a local newspaper.
We live in a world where people are often judgmental about things and prone to getting outraged easily. Just look at the daily trends on Twitter! Negativity spreads like wildfire. The question is how to respond to an allegation that you know to be false?
You can issue a statement on your Facebook Business Page. Even better, you can have a clarification published on your website. This way anyone who is interested will get to hear your side of the argument.
This is just one example of how having a website can help you manage your reputation on the internet.
Reason #7: Great way to connect with your customers.
Having a website of your own allows you to stay in touch with your customers beyond working hours. Your customers can contact you, inquire about a product or service and place an order anytime, any day, through the website.
Your web front helps you to build better customer relations. It allows you to engage with them and resolve any issues they may have with a product or a service, quickly and efficiently.
Reason #8: Establishes you as an authority within your niche.
Let’s say you have a real estate agency. Starting a real estate agency is one of the most popular small business ideas in India. The problem with that is that there are too many such agencies and it is hard to get noticed in the crowd.
That’s why you need a website of your own. Having a website is great from the content marketing or inbound marketing perspective. You can use your website to share valuable information with prospective customers that could influence their decision on whether to place an order with you or not.
It helps you establish yourself as an authority within your niche. You can, for example, share your insight on the latest real estate trends in your city, which areas are doing well, where to get the cheapest mortgage loans and other such relevant information.
Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge; your customers appreciate honesty and they are likely to hire you or purchase from you if they see you as reliable and trustworthy.
Also, you can share your content – articles or blog posts – on the social media. There is every chance that your content could go viral, in which case you are guaranteed to get a massive traffic to your website. Enough to cause a major spark in the sales.
Reason #9: High Return on Investment (ROI).
Now, the return on investment or ROI on the website will depend on how well the website has been designed, whether you have paid any attention to the SEO, brand building and social media marketing. And yes, how much you have actually spent on the web design.
Not every web design company can guarantee a high ROI. There are some who charge over the moon for the web design, only to provide you with sub par results. That’s not what you want.
You want a professionally designed website that is functional, elegantly designed and one that is built with the best content management system such as WordPress.
You want the SEO and SEM to be taken care of, as well as things such as social media widgets, videos, premium themes, plugins, an ecommerce functionality (using WooCommerce or Shopify) and more.
We develop highly professional looking website using WordPress at an affordable cost, one that is appropriate for your small business. Feel free to contact us and ask us for a special price.
Reason #10: You will show up in Google search results.
Clearly, this is the most important reason to have your own website. In the United States, an incredible 81 percent of consumers perform some quick online research on Google before deciding whether to buy a product or which local business to visit.
The figures in India are not that high, but they are high enough. The way things are developing, if you’re not on Google, you don’t have a business. And if you don’t have a website, your business is not on Google! As simple as that!
The website allows you to showcase your products and services in the best way possible, so that you can convert the traffic you receive from Google into sales.
Do you need help setting up a website for your business?
Web Impetus is a leading web design agency in India. We help small and medium-sized businesses establish a web presence in the competitive Indian market.
We are primarily focused on designing websites using WordPress. We also do social media marketing and brand building for local businesses.
If you haven’t set up a website for your business already, or need help with redesigning your existing website, do get in touch with us today! Call us at +91 9899369691 or fill up this contact form to book a one-to-one consultation with one of our executives.
Also published on Medium.