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The Importance of Having a Digital Identity for SMBs Taking a digital plunge in today's world is becoming increasingly easier for SMBs and it is essential for their digital identities

By Prakhar Bindal

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Small and medium businesses (SMBs) are the backbone of the Indian economy. Despite a challenging business environment, Indian SMBs have shown remarkable strength and resilience by maintaining consistent growth, creating livelihood opportunities and becoming a driver of socio-economic development. According to the MSME Ministry's annual report 2017-18, India is home to over 51 million SMBs that have contributed immensely to the Indian GDP and employed over 117 million people.

SMBS at a Critical Juncture

The Indian economic landscape is changing drastically with a rising consumer demand curve. In the last decade, the SMB ecosystem has transformed in a big way with the rise of digital technologies and a more evolved consumer. By the year 2020, India is estimated to have 650 million active internet users. Indians are quickly becoming digital customers, looking for products and services online, especially on mobile devices. Recent estimates released by TRAI suggest that there are 1.03 billion mobile subscriptions in India. To meet consumer demand, and gain profitability and scale, SMBs need to leverage the power of the internet to their advantage.

Internet as a Great Opportunity
In today's world, it is becoming easier for SMBs to take the digital plunge, launch their businesses online and build their own digital identity. The SMB industry is witnessing clear benefits of taking businesses online such as faster growth, larger geographical reach and increased revenue generation. SMBs are leveraging digital technologies to cater to customers accessing content via mobile. This, in turn, leads to new outreach channels for businesses to set up their digital presence and offer multi-platform availability. With the increasing influx of cashless and paperless services and online payment solutions; digital transactions are helping small businesses take their services online.

While SMBs understand the relevance of an online presence, there are many that still do not realize the value of taking their business online. Limited knowledge, false notions of high complexity and costs often act as barriers for them. Several initiatives have been launched by the government and the private sector that aim to address these challenges. The Government of India is making it easier for SMBs to access services such as filing taxes and registering businesses online.

To aid growth, the government is focused on providing access to low-cost capital, developing skills and raising technology awareness among SMBs. Flagship programs such as Make in India, Start-Up India and Revised Foreign Trade Policies are already providing financial and administrative support to SMBs.

Rise of Digital Commerce

According to the Digital Commerce report 2016 by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB Kantar, the digital commerce market has grown at a steady rate of 30per cent since 2011. Indian SMBs are also exploring online commerce through business models that implement SMAC technologies (Social, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud) which are relatively stable in India. Today, a business can get a domain name, develop and host a website at a low cost without any hassles. Any online marketing effort starts with a business having a website and choosing a domain name, which best describes the products or services to its customers.

The Right Website, Domain Name and Extension

SMBs have an edge when they choose the right domain name and extension, increasing searchability and credibility of its businesses. According to the Zinnov report titled State of Domain Name Report in India, of the many domain extensions available, about 79per cent of SMBs prefer .com over other TLDs which is considered almost synonymous with the internet. Trust and the need for a professional image in conveying credibility are the major reasons for the .com TLD preference.

The domain name a business chooses should include the right keywords. A domain name with optimized keywords makes it SEO-friendly and creates the right to connect with the target audience. The domain name should convey what the business offers, be descriptive and simple; making it easy for customers to find the business online. A domain name that is based on the company name, makes it more recognizable and memorable for customers. A domain name's effectiveness lies in its uniqueness and simplicity to connect, recall and engage audiences.

Domain Broker

If your desired domain name shows as 'taken' in search, then you need not to lose hope. This just indicates that the name is owned by someone else who might be willing to sell it at the right price. In such cases, you could engage the services of a domain broker. An expert domain broker would negotiate effectively with the current owners and could get you your dream domain name at a reasonable price. Domain Brokers are also likely to have pre-existing relationships with large sellers and often use them to get a quick deal in place.

Just like you wouldn't sew your own shirt, it would usually be advisable to not contact the domain holder yourself (even anonymously). More often than not, this approach backfires. If an inquiry comes from a Gmail or yahoo address to a seller, they quote an even higher price thinking that the buyer must badly want the name if they went to such lengths as creating a fake email address. Also, you might want to clarify with your broker about getting a GST compliant invoice from the Seller. Otherwise, you might end up being required to pay an additional 12 per cent-18per cent tax on your purchase.


Despite being one of the fastest growing digital economies, India accounts for just 1.6per cent of the global domain name registrations. The report also indicates India's Domain Penetration Ratio (DPR), or the number of domain names per 100 users, at 1.12per cent leaving the scope of significant growth potential in the future. By going digital and building an online identity, SMBs can incur huge benefits for India in the long run and contribute to India's progress story.

Prakhar Bindal

Founder & CEO, Namekart Domain Brokers

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