Sky is The Limit

DATAQUEST

IndiaMART is actively using social media to cash in on the burgeoning SME sector

Being in the business for the last 17 years, IndiaMART is now actively using social media to cash in on the growing SME sector.

The company has been proactive in adopting new technologies to smoothly carry out its business operations. It is making its presence felt on various sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Linkedin, YouTube, Slideshare among others. Its solution for SMEs also extends from a place on market place to a unique offering of 360 degree promotion on Youtube, Slideshare, and other social media channels.

According to Dinesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO, IndiaMART, India has more than 40 mn SMBs put together. However, it is estimated that only 25% of them have access to Internet and form the core target market from B2B marketplace perspective. So, this segment holds immense potential and with social media it can do much more.

“Hence, with social media being the buzzword, we quickly embraced it. We have been cognizant of the potential that this medium holds. It is fast and provides easy access to the target audience, further helping build communication,” he adds.

Riding On Cloud

Realizing the benfits of cloud the company moved a lot of the internal processes and utilities on the cloud, using Google apps for business that provided it with communication and collaboration application, including email, instant messaging, calendering, documents, et al.

Being on cloud helped IndiaMart to seamlessly carry out operational activities at a relatively lower cost, without any IT infrastructure, and data storage hassles at the end.

It has also deployed Freshdesk which acts as a ticketing system and helps efficiently resolve any feedback or concern of buyers as soon as possible.

The subscribers of the Internet were very few when IndiaMART was formed. All this while, IndiaMART.com has been playing the role of an evangelist and working towards getting more and more SMEs into the fold of Internet to take advantage of the fast changing on-line world.

A Look Back

On-line marketplace can effectively address the ‘access to market’ needs of untapped SME segment in the country. Identifying this need for SMEs and an opportunity, IndiaMART was first off the block to work with SMEs.

The result is that today it has more than 3.3 mn registered users, over 1.2 mn suppliers, and more than 6.5 mn buyers, who use the platform to find reliable and competitive suppliers, making IndiaMART the biggest B2B marketplace in the country.

“Our unique competitive advantage is our understanding of SME demographics and landscape. We are well aware of the challenges that they have been facing, primarily access to markets, access to finance or access to technology among others”

“Our ‘Do it for me’ approach ensures high degree of hand-holding to establish online presence and initiate the use of B2B marketplaces. Our team acts as Internet marketing consultants for our customers; there is a continuous engagement with these SMEs to ensure they get the best from online marketplace.”

Today, IndiaMART.com has more than 6 mn product listings and more than 90,000 product categories. With 12 mn visitors, 34 mn page views and 8 lakh+ tracked business inquiries per month, we become the most coveted marketplace for any buyer or supplier.

Innovative products like TrustSEAL-India’s first supplier certification program-helped suppliers and buyers significantly, other product ‘Buy Lead’ has enabled SMEs by offering an ‘open tendering’ process that had been unheard for SMEs all these years.

Recently, the company has also introduced SmartSearch on the marketplace to enable buyers search for suppliers in a fast and effective manner. The new feature allows buyers to search for relevant supplier products and services within 100 kms of their preferred location. This will help businesses in discovering the right SME located even at the remotest of location and assist them in connecting with the company. So, IndiaMART has been leading the pack by continuously innovating products, service and technology during all these years. This gives it a huge advantage in terms of number of customers we serve and the quality of service we provide to our valued customers.

Technologies Deployed

The company has developed an ERP software in-house. It is an information powerhouse which also doubles up for CRM, supporting our registered suppliers and internal customers. Besides our home grown system, there are various other analytical tools including Google Analytics that we use to improve our service to our valued customers and improve on the operational efficiency.

Challenges

Inspite of all these years of working towards making Internet and web integral to SMEs’ daily business, IndiaMART has a lot to cover on this front. In countries like China, where SME growth story was led by improving Internet penetration and adoption by SMEs, we in India it is a big challenge and the same time a bigger opportunity for all of us. An SME is a one-man army, often undertaking multiple roles and overseeing all of its business operations, which is why they do not view Internet as a lucrative option. Over the years, after closely working with them, we are now seeing ready acceptance of incorporating Internet into the business for marketing purpose and we are working towards increasing these numbers even further.

With improvement in handheld devices, and smartphones and phablets becoming reality, there is lot of voice and data convergence happening. This opens a lot of opportunity areas for IndiaMART.com. Realizing this and living up to our credibility, IndiaMART once again has taken a lead with its mobile site and apps, and is continuously working to improve its customers’ experience further.