India is the biggest e-commerce market after US and China. The industry is likely to clock a compound annual growth rate of 35 per cent and cross US$100-billion threshold in value over the next five years.

As the likes of Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon edge their way upwards, SMBs are also eager to jump onto the e-commerce bandwagon. As Indians get accustomed to buying goods and services through e-commerce platforms and with hundreds of millions of sellers and shoppers getting online as a result of increasing Internet penetration, there’s an emergence of newer e-commerce formats, ranging from hyperlocal to multi-channel. SMBs now have the opportunity to significantly grow their business or become e-commerce entrepreneurs.

In an effort to help India’s small businesses capitalise on the Internet, technology provider GoDaddy has launched GoDaddy Online Store in India, which will allow millions of small businesses and entrepreneurs in India to create an e-commerce presence and sell products online.

Available at INR 999/month (US$15.6) for the first year with an annual purchase, the GoDaddy Online Store offers shopping and checkout experience for customers across devices with built-in payment processing tools to accept payments from multiple sources, including all major credit and debit cards.

Rajiv Sodhi, Vice President, GoDaddy, India and Australia

Rajiv Sodhi, Vice President, GoDaddy, India and Australia

“The rapid growth of e-commerce in India is fuelled by mobile devices, changing consumer behaviour and rising Internet penetration. This represents a compelling business opportunity for SMBs,” says Rajiv Sodhi, Vice President, GoDaddy, India and Australia.

“The store includes built-in SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) for secure transactions, free hosting with unlimited bandwidth, integration with Google Analytics, flexible shipping rates and the ability to create coupon codes,” he adds.

What makes India important?

Headquartered in Scottsdale, US, India was the first international market for the company and became the springboard for other markets. GoDaddy is currently present in 17 languages across 37 countries.

James Carroll, Executive Vice-President, GoDaddy, International says, “India is an emerging market with diverse languages, payment types and local offerings. If a business succeeds in India, then it has high chances of success in other markets as well.”

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“There are 51 million small businesses in India and 10 million are IT-ready, yet there are less than one million websites in the country and only four million domain names. Hence, there is a huge opportunity to get more small businesses online and drive awareness about the benefits of going online,” Carroll adds.

The company claims to have 23 per cent year-on-year traffic growth in India. According to Carroll, India remains a top priority for GoDaddy.

Indian SMBs suffer from the do-it-for-me syndrome

The Indian market has its own set of challenges in terms of creating awareness and access to the Internet. Affordability and digital literacy are the prime obstacles to adoption of mobile broadband for consumers, according to an Ericsson Consumer Lab study.

The study finds that 88 per cent of Indian consumers feel that mobile broadband is too expensive, while 53 per cent feel that mobile broadband adds no value.

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Internet speed is very low in the country and India ranks 151 in terms of Internet speed, leaving room for growth.

“Most of the small businesses still suffer from the Internet is not-for-me syndrome, because they think it’s expensive, time-consuming and complex. The other differentiating factor is that India is a do-it-for-me market as opposed to (the) Western concept of do-it-yourself which poses an interesting challenge,” shares Sodhi.

He adds, “There are just four million domain names in India, which is just two per cent in contrast to China’s 13-14 per cent and America’s 25 per cent. Hence, there is a long way to go despite challenges.”

GoDaddy plans to drive awareness around the benefits of the Internet and selling online. It is using mass media to target SMBs and using customer testimonials to explain the growth story. “We are taking a regional approach to creating awareness and bringing locally relevant products and offers to help SMBs build their online presence in an easy and affordable way,” Sodhi says.

The company recently launched Get Online Today in collaboration with Microsoft to help SMBs and entrepreneurs get online easily by creating a domain, website and Office 365 email at INR 99/month (US$1.5).

Why create an online store?

Large marketplaces such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and Paytm are taking various steps to bring SMBs online and help them sell their products through their e-commerce stores. But Carroll believes that as businesses grow, it is very important to have one’s own digital identity as opposed to leveraging on somebody else’s brand.

“SMBs have to create their own online store to tell more about the brand and its product. It also helps in differentiating from the competition,” Sodhi opines.

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Asia is important for GoDaddy

During the course of next year, the company plans to expand aggressively into Southeast Asia and North Asia. Middle East and Eastern Europe are also major target markets for expansion.

“Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam are important for us. In North Asia, we are looking to expand to Japan, Korea and Taiwan. We strongly believe that the Southeast Asia market is underserved and companies are not doing a great job with helping SMBs come online. With increasing Internet penetration, this market is going to explode and we want to help fuel this growth through GoDaddy,” concludes Carroll.

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