India is a developing nation and that implies that the small and medium business owners sustain the major part of the system. There are multiple tasks like marketing, customer service, and sales etc. that need to be managed by a team of few individuals.
It is a difficult process from the managerial perspective and hence bearing in mind the time crisis, it is critical for SMBs to prioritize tasks with greater impact i.e. the digital space.
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Trend 1: Businesses to turn Digital
As per a Google-KPMG report, digitally-empowered SMBs expand twice as compared to their offline equivalents. The speed and reach of the digital platforms have enables the rapid expansion of the businesses. But still, around 68 percent of SMEs (small and medium enterprises) work offline.
Addressing the Cisco India Summit, Sudhir Nayar, Managing Director, Commercial, Cisco, said, "India's more than 50 million SMBs at present contribute 37.5% towards India’s GDP. Though, 70% of the country’s SMBs are still offline. There's sufficient possibility to transform them and channelize it towards the growth of the country. The scope will continue to improve with the advancements of digital technologies."
There are several initiatives like online payments to promote and empower such small businesses.
Trend 2: Chatbots Will be Crucial for Improving Customer Service
Adapting to chatbots might seem difficult to the SMBs owners, but it has become an essential part of the workflow and cannot be avoided or neglected. Automation is the smart way of getting the work done when you have limited resources. 47% of SMBs emphasize that enhancing customer experience is their primary strategy for promoting their business. Hence, small business owners have started using chatbots for looking into and solving customer queries instantaneously. Looking at the success graph more and more small and medium companies shall include chatbots to their workflows in the coming years.
Trend 3: Businesses are Adapting as per the changing Millennial Trends
The millennial trends are changing at an unimaginable pace and by 2019; millennials are projected to have the maximum spending capacity of any generation. One important factor to capture this market is the online presence of the SMBs on digital platforms. And hence the small and medium businessmen are progressively adapting to social media practices like influencer marketing, video content, mobile marketing etc. 2019 shall see almost every small and large scale business making their way on the online platforms to register their presence in the current competitive world.
Trend 4: Social Media will continue to rule SMBs
As per a marketing report marketing, 96 % of the SMBs are making use of social media for their marketing and promotions. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok provide massive engagement with the audience at relatively less expensive as compared to the traditional mediums.
In order to help the SMBs reach a larger audience globally, Facebook introduced new features last year. These included easy and effective features like digital language optimization, multi-city targeting, and Facebook IQ cross-border data finder.
In a blog post by Facebook, it said, "With the increase in the online presence of the audiences, the business shall have opportunities to connect with more and more customers, even from different regions, cities or countries”.
This trend has become an integral and very important part of the marketing strategies and with the changing dynamics, the SMBs are bound to accept this trend for the growth of their business.
Trend 5: Acceptance of Cloud
SMEs that are adopting the cloud are benefitting from it. Cloud is a progressive, affordable and easy to use the platform and hence it is widely accepted by all the sections of businessmen and industrialists. Some challenges that the SMBs faces are CRM and the management of passwords and mailing lists. Through the cloud, SMBs can enhance their productivity and operations massively leading to an increase in the profit margins.