Why Businesses are Going to Earn More Online

by October 9, 2015 0 comments

– Rohit Raghav, Co-Founder, Phone Warrior

Consider this: You’ve run away to some far-off cave in the Himalayas to find some peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of your everyday life. But instead of finding the serenity that you had hoped for, you stumble upon Wi-Fi enabled grottos and yogis sharing the latest trends in yoga asana with their peers through various online social platforms.
Though this scenario is extremely far-fetched (at least for now), it aptly exemplifies the ever-increasing hold digital communication wields on all aspects of day-to-day life.From booking tickets for the movies, ordering food, looking up the latest news and sharing the latest happenings in one’s life, there is no escaping from it in today’s world. We now depend on mobile phones and portable devices for all tasks – trivial or important. This holds particularly true in India, which is one of the biggest markets for electronic equipments. The smartphone, in particular, has seen a major increase in its usage within the country, with several established and emerging mobile companies vying for a share of the highly lucrative Indian Smartphone market.
More smartphone users equals more business opportunities
These facts need to be given very close attention by all businessmen, entrepreneurs and service providers operating in the country. Why? Because India stands only behind the US in terms of the total number of internet users, and because digital networking mediums provide an almost endless pool of opportunities that any business can tap into, irrespective of its size and financial muscle. Be it marketing one’s services, reaching out to existing customers, or exploring newer and more promising consumer demographics, digital networking can offer viable solutions for all businesses through its multiple value-driven propositions such as websites, mobiles apps, e-commerce and social media. With everything else going digital, good business sense would dictate that these resources be judiciously utilised to optimise the business potential of one’s product offering.
But are businesses and service providers in India really doing it? The answer would be both a yes and a no. The ambiguity in this situation lies in the very structure of the Indian marketplace. While the scope and potential of the Indian economy is massive, the very fact that it is also highly unorganised and extremely fragmented proves very challenging to most. Some, like localised service providers, shy away from it completely, unwilling to take on the daunting task of digitising their offerings. Others tackle the situation in different ways – enterprises either generally overload all the digital wavelengths with their brand offerings to the extent that they virtually end up burning through their capital reserves or sit in the distance expecting consumers to approach them, all the while losing invaluable business to smaller and more focussed competitors. So while the effort is there to utilise the digital connect to optimise the business’s operational and visibility parameters, it is not really leveraged in the most appropriate manner to benefit the organisation in most cases.
Choose your digital strategy carefully
The primary reason for this is the ‘herd mentality’ Indians are often blamed for, observed as a deep-seated tendency to blindly follow someone’s lead. The same phenomenon has translated into the way businesses function. Organisations tend to copy a successful digital strategy to the T without even pausing to check if it is working for them. It might be evident therefore why this particular modus operandi is bound to fail, even to a layman. What works for a retail e-commerce giant might not be relevant to an automobile refurbishing service or a cottage industry dealing with handlooms. As one worth his salt may tell you, any attempt to create a highly successful online strategy would have to include deep-seated knowledge – of the industry, market forces, audience and your own organisational goals – to ensure relevance, feasibility, and most importantly, impact.
India is primarily a services economy where service delivery plays a crucial role. Be it an everyday necessity such as plumbing or grocery, or a once-in-a-blue-moon event such as dining out at a five-star restaurant or booking a leisure holiday, the Indian service industry is a major source of employment in the country. According to a 2011 survey by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), more than 51 percent of the Indian population is self-employed as compared to a paltry 15.6 percent that draws a salary. So if you’re looking to take your business online, there is already a very high volume of service providers with established online presence, while yet more are finalising their digital strategy to venture into this particular domain. Some of them may even be in direct competition with you. How can you cope and expect to stand out from the crowd with your services, especially when there is bound to be someone bigger who has more resources at his disposal than you do?
If you have been paying close attention to everything that has been said till now, you probably know the answer lies in one word – smartphones. India is not just one of the biggest smartphone markets in the world, but is a literal untapped reservoir compared to its humungous potential. Estimates peg the number of smartphone users in India at approximately 18 percent of its overall population which stands at 1.25 billion, making mobiles the ideal platform to take one’s business online. With a presence in every city and with more and more individuals using smartphones every passing day, it is almost criminal to not utilise the plethora of benefits offered by these handy devices which are allowing businesses to leap-frog traditional web channels to own their relationship with the customer.
Another fact that has worked in the favour of the mobiles as the preferred digital medium is the consumer behaviour. People today increasingly make decisions on the go, and hence businesses need to adapt to a mobile presence in order to be a part of the consumers’ decision-making process at all times. Innovative mobile-first solutions are now available that are changing the way service providers and businesses are positioning themselves. These solutions are leveraging uniquely tailored mobile graphs which utilise an individual’s phone contact network to provide businesses with customised digital strategies and consumers with tailored service solutions. Not only is this approach more cost-effective, but also allows for two-way communication with the consumers for a better customer-service connect on the go. Moreover, a mobile presence empowers both service providers as well as consumers, and allows for a feeling of familiarity and trust between consumers and service providers which is vital for the success of any business.
With the ongoing smartphone boom and the increasingly large share that m-commerce now commands in the overall online commerce industry, digital revolution has been turned on its head. So drastic and sudden has been the impact of smartphone proliferation that several major e-commerce portals have now completely migrated to a mobile platform in order to optimise efficiency and cut down on their operating costs. Any new or existing digital strategy in India simply cannot discount the effectiveness and viability of a technology-driven mobile presence as compared to feet-on-the-street models. And with a mobile-first strategy, your consumers are literally paying for the major infrastructural requirement – the mobile phones. The potential benefits offered are huge – fostering a consumer connect, greatly increasing service visibility, establishing brand value, and very high return on investment (RoI). All that remains for your business to succeed is for you to choose this veritable godsend boon to optimise your business’ functioning.

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