The Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector has emerged as the fastest-growing Indian economy sector with a vast contribution to its overall GDP. This sector stimulates growth and contributes to the country’s socio-economic development by promoting entrepreneurship & providing employment opportunities to millions at low cost. Over the past few decades, MSMEs have emerged successfully, giving tough competition to large industries and contributing remarkably towards the country’s industrial development. These MSMEs are expanding not only in the domestic market but globally too, with tremendous support from e-commerce.
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E-commerce has been helping businesses and companies across the globe since its inception. They help MSMEs in restructuring businesses, reducing costs, and opening up possibilities to earn a higher profit margin with optimum utilization of resources. With the advancement of technology and an increase in internet users, MSMEs get access to a vast market to showcase their products and services.
The Government has also launched different schemes to provide easy and affordable MSME loans. With these schemes, it is easier for businesses to apply for loans at a nominal rate with minimum requirements. These schemes foster the growth of the MSME sector and provide them with opportunities to expand their businesses.
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Challenges faced by the MSME sector
When it comes to e-marketplace, MSMEs face multiple challenges like
- Digital Illiteracy
- Poor digital infrastructure
- Poor reach
- Limited Capital
A major part of e-commerce is also captured by the top vendors, which minimizes the space for small and medium entrepreneurs.
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E-commerce helping MSMEs
The E-commerce market is growing every year, with new products and services being added every time, which has expanded the market to urban and rural areas. With the use of e-commerce, the turnover of businesses has increased tremendously as compared to previous years. It has also reduced the gap between the buyer and seller. Before E-commerce, MSMEs were dependent only on the domestic market and on traditional methods. With E-commerce today, small entrepreneurs are aware of the new trend prevailing in the market and are updated with the latest technology. E-commerce is believed to increase the sales of MSMEs which contributed to the overall development of the economy.
With the increase in internet usage, digital payment, and exciting deals, more and more people are shifting towards e-commerce sites. It creates a considerable marketplace for small businesses. In recent times, many e-commerce companies tied-up with different State Governments to promote the MSME sector. These initiatives help in recovering the losses incurred by the small and medium enterprises due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Key Initiatives By The e-commerce companies To boost the sales of MSMEs.
Samarth, by Flipkart
The homegrown platform, Flipkart, came up with a program called Samarth in July 2019 to promote Indian artisans, weavers, and the state’s handloom industries. Through this initiative, MSMEs can easily access the online business market. The initiative provides support to MSMEs in terms of handling business, storage, and account management. With Samarth, Flipkart is empowering millions of small entrepreneurs, which leads to the development of rural India.
‘MSME Accelerate’ by Amazon
Amazon started this initiative in June 2020 to help MSMEs recover from the after-effects of the pandemic. Through this program, businesses will get deals and bulk discounts to carry on with their businesses smoothly.
PayTM providing Collateral-free loans.
Digital financial service company Paytm started an initiative to offer collateral-free MSME loans up to 5 lakh at a low-interest rate to small and medium enterprises. Under this initiative, Paytm has digitized the entire loan process starting from application to disbursal, with no additional documents in partnership with banks and NBFCs.
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Grofers 9 day sale
Online grocery seller Grofers announced a 9-day sales scheme in August 2020, through which it aims to sell items worth nine crores produced by its partner, which includes items of 5.5 crores produced locally. The initiative was taken to bring small manufactures and sellers back on track to continue working smoothly. The program was Grofers’ Grand Orange Bag Days (GOBD) 4.0 sale that partnered with 800 MSMEs. Through this initiative, Grofers provided working capital support worth 50 crores to small enterprise owners in a single month.
Atmanirbhar Section by Shopclues
Under the initiative, ‘Vocal for local’ online marketplace Shopclues started the Atmanirbhar section on its platform that consists of locally made products in the category of fashion, footwear, jewelry, groceries, and others. Shopclues work with thousands of local merchants under this section and promote local goods at the online market.
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Apart from Shopclues, hundreds of other e-commerce sites and businesses like Agribazaar, TradeIndia, Crofarm work towards promoting local products and provide support to lakhs of small and medium enterprises. With the help of these e-commerce sites, MSMEs get a place in the online digital world, which leads to a higher customer base.
The recent crisis has hit all the sectors of the Indian economy, especially the MSME sector. All these schemes and initiatives not only help MSMEs in terms of growth but also creates a marketplace for them to showcase their products and services. With lockdown, the MSME sector went through turmoil due to which they incurred heavy losses and in some cases shut down. E-commerce helps MSMEs increase revenue, profit margins, market reach, marketing and communication, and customer feedback to improve their products and services. Though MSMEs in India do not have a presence in the online business, they participate in online sales in India. And keeping in mind the current COVID situation people are considering online shopping as it is more secure and safe.
Overall, E-commerce helps change the relationship between business & consumers and acts as a middleman by guiding both. With ever-changing technology, MSMEs are ready to face future challenges and give solid competition to other sectors.