In response to the pandemic, small businesses continue to move their operations online as revealed through the findings of the second edition of the MSME survey by Bluehost, a top-rated website hosting service provider that is recommended by WordPress.org.
The adoption of digital payments has been the most notable among customers of MSMEs during the last one year of Covid-19. A majority of the payments (72 per cent) happen through digital mode today as compared to cash (28 per cent).
MSMEs have embraced the use of digital tools to not only keep the lights on during the pandemic, but to also future proof their business. 80 per cent of MSMEs surveyed that had a domain name have a business website out of which 19 per cent started a website after the pandemic. The top reasons cited for having a professional website are to present a professional front (63 per cent), promote their brand (62 per cent), and acquire new customers (55 per cent). A majority of the MSMEs surveyed claimed to have created a website on their own (66 per cent), while the remaining (34 per cent) have outsourced it to a web agency / freelancer. However, a majority (58 per cent) of those who took the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) approach to setting up their website say that they will still need some guidance to set up their website.
Digital modes of doing business are now acknowledged by more than half of MSMEs (60 per cent) as being more successful avenues to conduct business and interact with customers. MSMEs adopted video conferencing (36 per cent), social chat (28 per cent) and listed their business on online marketplaces (23 per cent) to further boost online presence.
MSME’s surveyed say that they will continue to invest in digital tools in 2021 to grow their business. A majority of MSMEs plan to invest in social media marketing (55 per cent), Search Engine Optimisation (51 per cent), and custom Apps (47 per cent).
Despite the uncertainty and challenges of Covid-19, MSMEs continue to showcase resilience. While 36 per cent of all MSMEs surveyed say they are doing fine (17 per cent of them doing well), 64 per cent cite that their businesses are not doing as well as 12 months ago. This was owing primarily to financial constraints (58 per cent). Despite this, 58 per cent of MSMEs are optimistic of recovery and are confident of surviving the impact of the Covid-19 second wave. It is no wonder that MSMEs have earned the tag of being the backbone of the economy.
“Many small businesses have experienced an accelerated digital transformation this past year, and they are now exposed to an array of tools that can help them grow and promote their businesses further. The use of digital technologies such as websites, digital payments and e-commerce have helped small businesses cope with social distancing measures and ensure business continuity”, said Manish Dalal, Managing Director, Bluehost India.
“Bluehost remains committed to helping provide small businesses the digital presence solutions required to meet the needs of the evolving consumer in the digital world. Bluehost’s platform makes it easy for anyone to get online with WordPress and develop a professional-looking website as well as an online e-commerce store,” added Dalal.