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It is now well established that India is widely considered as the third biggest e-commerce market after countries like US and China. As the likes of Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon edge their way upwards, small and medium businesses (SMBs) too are eager to jump onto the e-commerce bandwagon.
As Indians get accustomed to buying goods and services through e-commerce platforms and with hundreds of millions of sellers and shoppers getting online as a result of increasing Internet penetration, there’s an emergence of newer e-commerce formats ranging from hyper-local to multi-channel. SMBs now have the opportunity to significantly grow their business or become e-commerce entrepreneurs.
As a technology provider dedicated to small businesses, GoDaddy launched a new solution, GoDaddy Online Store (Watch Video), to make it easier and affordable for Indian small businesses to create an e-commerce presence and sell products online. GoDaddy is focussed on its mission to help India’s small businesses capitalise on the Internet.
In a candid chat with Nitin Abbey of Entrepreneur India, James Caroll, Executive Vice-President, GoDaddy – International; and Rajiv Sodhi, Vice-President, GoDaddy - India and Australia further shares its offerings for SMBs in the India e-commerce space:
GoDaddy has developed a product for Indian SMBs. What’s it about?
Sodhi: We already know that India is accelerating on the Internet exponentially and more and more users are coming online. India today has close to 300 million Internet users and this number alone puts us as almost second largest connected nation in the world after China. Though we are just 19 per cent connected in regards to the population, so there is a long road to go!
With the Internet, more and more SMBs in India are looking to come online and set-up their e-commerce business. And so, we have come up with GoDaddy Online Store, which lets any SMB set up its online store in a very fast, easy and an affordable manner. We have priced this at Rs 999 per month. With this, you get a fully functional e-commerce store, which allows any retailer to list unlimited products online. They also get the ability to run custom offers/discounts and they can price it the way they want.
We know that in India social media is very big and that is where our audiences are sitting. So, GoDaddy Online Store also gives them a Facebook store in-built with real time sync to their online store. This is very good for merchants because they won’t have to separately manage their website and social media and then something else. With GoDaddy, everything is synced up. Third and the most important feature is payment gateway.
No e-commerce store is successful without having a payment gateway integrated in it. So, we have partnered with CC Avenue to support over 100 plus payment types. From credit cards to debit cards, net banking to mobile banking and mobile wallets such as Paytm, and Mobikwik etc. The best part about our service is that it has zero set-up fees, which means a merchant doesn’t have to pay anything to support all these payment types. In summary, GoDaddy Online Store is probably the easiest way one can go online.
What is the time frame that you are looking at to target SMBs?
Sodhi: Right now, we have started testing that in the market. We have got good feedback and that is how we are taking it forward by announcing general availability. With GoDaddy, we are making sure that three things happen very quickly: Driving mass scale awareness on the benefits of coming online through TV ad commercials and other mode of promotions; making the product very simple and really easy to use; and backing it up with an exceptional 24*7 free customer support.
And with these three things we want to make sure that we drive more and more customers to come online and set up their stores.
How do you see India as a potential market for the services that you are offering?
Sodhi: It’s interesting because if you see the market dynamics in India, there are 51 million small businesses and only 4 million domains in circulation. That is a huge opportunity for more small businesses to go online (with 300 million Internet users and 39 million online shoppers). So, we are going to see more and more users shopping online over the time. The time is really right for the product that we are offering and we see a huge opportunity here.
Give us a global perspective on the same.
Caroll: GoDaddy has been historically focused in the US for the first 14 years. Over the past 3 years, we have implemented strategies to make it global because we have seen more small businesses wanting to go online around the world. We started off providing GoDaddy services in key markets such as India, UK, Australia and Canada. This is because of the success in those markets we have decided to make GoDaddy international.
When we decided to go International, we chose India as our first market because India is an interesting and an emerging market and also because of a lot of local specifics like language, payment types, currency, offers etc. We tailored our offering for India because we thought if we are successful here it will prove a point that we could take the GoDaddy offering worldwide.
So, we did that and we saw a fantastic uptake. We have spent a lot of time internationalising our offering and ensuring the right levels of localised ability, and also ensuring that we can customise our offering for small businesses in any market of the world. So, India was a cornerstone for our International expansion strategy.
Then we went to other markets such as the English markets. Early last year, we went to Latin America, Spain, Brazil and then to Europe, and we have received phenomenal response so far. We are now in 17 languages and 37 countries across the globe. What we have seen is, small businesses around the world are very similar and have similar needs and we can provide right types of services for small businesses where they can see value.
Do you also see traction from tier II and III markets of India?
Sodhi: We have seen that already. If you look at the growth that India’s Internet is having, tier II and III towns are growing double the rate of what the metros are growing. We see the same trend in our business. If you look at the call volumes that come in our care centres, these other cities outside of the top 8 metros contribute to a whole bulk. Online stores obviously are independent of geography, and we have felt that SMBs in these small cities will actually take more advantage of this service because they can overcome the distance challenge.