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Promoting E-commerce For Entrepreneurs And SMEs: How the Government Can Foster the Growth Of Small D2C Brands The government should take cognisance of the positive impact of shift to e-commerce into consideration and take immediate steps to help small DTC brands

By Akash Gehani

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The pandemic has resulted in a significant amount of digitization and data has consistently shown that e-commerce for SMEs was a compensating feature during this time. The government needs to take this growth and positive impact of the online shift, on e-commerce into consideration and take immediate steps to help small direct to consumer (DTC) brands and entrepreneurs embrace digitization to shift to online channels of selling.

To promote small DTC brands, here are the 4 things that government should do:

Ease of selling online and offline policies

Industry reports indicate that during the first lockdown in 2020, the MSME sector shrunk by 46 per cent. The second lockdown resulted in 11 per cent losses in businesses. Therefore, government intervention to take steps to prevent such losses in the future will help the sustenance and growth of SMEs in India.

In the event of any other lockdown, small DTC manufacturers should have the choice of switching to online channels of revenue when their offline income has been affected.

A strategic and complete framework to facilitate ecommerce for SMEs will help small DTC manufacturer owners be extra independent and in control of their commercial business operations. It will even help them grow their commercial business and profits.

There should be uniform online and offline retail regulations for these small manufacturers. This will help online dealers gain from government support and possibilities that earlier only offline retailers had access to.

Global opportunities for e-commerce for SMEs should be increased

Small DTC brands have limited possibilities to promote in markets outside India. The conventional technique is also lengthy and complex.

For instance, a retailer has to go to associations, communicate to trade bodies and has to send sample products to the overseas governing government before being able to promote or sell their products.

E-commerce has simplified a lot of these tactics. They can now permit international payments on their ecommerce websites and deliver the products using the best shipping partners.

A sturdy online presence suggests that even ordinary online transactions also can help these small DTC brands build their recognition when approaching global authorities for export.

The government needs to plan a comprehensive foreign trade coverage to inspire ecommerce for SMEs. Reducing compliances and easing techniques will assist small DTC brands to get entry to newer markets. It will even assist Indian products to get more exposure globally.

Provide digital training to SMEs

There is a lot of potential in tier II and tier III cities for purchasing and selling online. But to make a seamless shift from offline to online shops, small DTC emblem owners have to realize digital fundamentals such as e-commerce foundations, managing the inventory and customers, digital payments, social media channels, choosing shipping partners online and supply chain management.

The government needs to boost training and capacity constructing measures in areas beyond tier I markets. In defining the success and competitiveness of India's MSMEs, it is increasingly evident that technology will play a crucial role both domestically and globally in the coming days. Technologies such as fintech APIs, full-stack data platforms, customized machine learning solutions, advertising optimisation will drive the business transformation in 2022. Hence, the digitisation of million MSMEs should be the top priority.

The launch of certain skilling platforms like DESH Stack e-portal announced in the Union Budget 2022, will certainly help small DTC brands owners train, upgrade and improve their digital skills.

Developing infrastructure and logistics related to e-commerce

Developed infrastructure and transport connectivity has allowed e-commerce to flourish in metropolitan towns. The authorities need to now make similar networks in rural areas a priority.

Apart from railways, roads and delivery ports, the government must also prioritize constructing warehouses even in smaller districts.

E-commerce for SMEs can also make contributions to better employment in tier II cities by skilling human beings for last-mile delivery.

As the infrastructure strengthens, people may be in a position to shop for and sell online even in faraway corners of the country with sincere e-commerce shipping and courier partners!

Fresh additions to a mega infrastructural project declared in the Union Budget 2022 will now be a boost for the MSMEs. The PM Gati Shakti Masterplan will now help ease the movement of goods and passengers especially in rural areas and will help improve inter-modal connectivity.

Such provisions were needed to ensure more SMEs could have entry to selling online. Improved delivery and infrastructure along with the relevant virtual skilling will provide a nurturing floor for small DTC brands.

Akash Gehani

Co-Founder & COO, Instamojo

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