Micro and Small business owners were the most affected segment of people during the lockdown. But when the days pass, people started to get adopted to the situation and moved forward with the business survival instincts. COVID, accelerating the future of SMEs.
Accelerating the future of SMEs:
Mr Kumar, like millions of small retail business owners in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, had to shut his Electronics & Home Appliances store for two months as the Kingdom had imposed lockdown to check the pandemic from the spread. Kumar had anticipated that footfalls to his retail store would be very thin, even when the situation becomes normal. So, he started to connect with prospective customers on WhatsApp. This was his first digital move to make service his business
Syed, 56, who runs a small restaurant in a small town in the Southern part of Saudi Arabia, got financially unstable due to the Closure of his dine-in business to maintain social distancing and personal hygiene. Decided to move online. He started a Youtube channel and started demonstrating his cooking skills on traditional healthy food recipes online.
About 45% of his customers started to follow his channel immediately. He’s also started a Facebook page to get connected with modern Foodies during the lockdown and restarted his business with home delivery at a competitive price. India’s small businesses, particularly retailers, have lobbied hard for curbs on large online retailers.
These are only a few cases, moving forward, many small entrepreneurs moving online as people are still afraid to venture outdoors even as the lockdown has been ease across the world.
Digital Take Off – Online Shift:
Lockdown has restricted people to remain indoors and stuck to Mobile phones and television. Thus Pandamic accelerated the retailors to shift drastically towards online sales. With the billion of internet users in India, eCommerce business greatly bloomed not just in India but across the globe too.
Customer reviews on product quality, performance, ease of product comparison with other brands, safe and contactless payment options is pushing most of the shoppers to go online.
Not just Small Scale business even the Medium and Large industry sectors like Automotive Industry has started selling their Posh Cars through Online Test drives to booking a new car till free home delivery and service pickups.
Boost SME Business with Social Media:
Digital Influence on business had a rise in enrollment among Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked users in India. Industry-specific deep-dives into India’s largest consumer categories—packaged goods, apparel, and smartphones—all of which have deep offline retail networks, confirm that digitally influenced Brand purchases have increased significantly, by up to 15% among urban consumers in just three months.
In the apparel category, digital influence increased to 55-60% during Covid-19 compared with 45-50% earlier, while for mobiles it rose to 70% from 50-55 per cent prior to the pandemic, it said. As high as 90% of consumers who purchased apparel online during the lockdown show willingness to continue, it said. For foods, 84% has returned online.
Now like Mr Kumar and Narayanan, who has no hope about the future has now adopted to continue business on both Retail and Online platforms. Pandemic has pawed a new hope for the SMEs in Saudi Arabia.
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