Internet is the new channel of sales for MSMEs

  • “Internet and particularly online B2B marketplaces that offer companies direct access to buyers worldwide help companies sell in the global marketplace,” says Dinesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO of IndiaMART.com.

Dinesh AgarwalNew Delhi, February 13, 2009: Current economic slowdown is affecting demand-supply cycle badly, making conservative consumers and companies to look for cheaper alternatives to reduce costs. There is acute pressure on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to find new buyers and markets to maintain their growth momentum. Internet is one such medium that can help MSMEs to achieve this objective conveniently and cost effectively.

Traditionally, MSMEs have been less responsive to adopt Internet as part of their business strategy when compared to their larger counterparts. Primary reasons for this have been poor penetration of Internet, lack of awareness of it and its usage to organize business within the company and for internal communication.

However, of late the trend has changed. MSMEs are now using internet to enhance the scope of their marketing activities, something that these micro enterprises have been averse to. There are plethora reasons for this change in perception about Internet. One of the major reasons has been the changing face of MSMEs in the country. With the passage of time children of these traditional businessmen have taken over. These young faces have groomed and brought up in this Internet age and so Internet comes to them naturally. They use every aspect of Internet to the fullest to take their business to new heights.

Internet and particularly online B2B marketplaces that offer companies direct access to buyers worldwide help companies sell in the global marketplace. Not only do they solve companies problem of reach to the buyers worldwide, these online marketplaces also support their communication needs and help them display a range of products.

Online B2B marketplaces work as matchmaking platform for buyers and suppliers. Not only these online B2B marketplaces available 24/7 and break geographic barriers but they also provide greater visibility to companies. Making the business and product range available online reduces the lead time drastically, resulting in huge time and cost saving for both buyers and suppliers. In India, lakhs of SMEs and MSMEs are already getting benefits through their memberships on online B2B marketplaces such as IndiaMART.com and Tradeindia.com.

At a time when everyone is cutting on hiring and marketing activities, the Internet also serves as an economical means of reaching newer markets. Companies are able to test newer or unexplored/hidden markets at almost no cost. A crystal merchant sitting in remote West Bengal would not know that a market exists for him in Latin America or South Africa. But the Internet gives him a chance to do so. There are numerous such hidden opportunities that businesses can explore once they start trading online.

Smaller, particularly micro enterprises do not have the budgets to indulge in pricey marketing activities, Internet provide many free services and cost lesser than any traditional media. While channels like trade shows are expensive and print options like yellow pages offer limited visibility, Internet offers global visibility and increased market penetration at far lesser cost.

In a scenario where more and more people from across the world searching for products online, global trade shifting from offline to online, and Asia coming up as the preferred destination for sourcing, it is imperative for Indian MSMEs to proactively adopt Internet as a new channel of sales to safeguard their market share amidst widening competition.