Moneycontrol
Oct 24, 2017 05:31 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

GoDaddy plans to tap the un-digitised ‘Bharat’ to drive future growth

Considering that India has just about 6 million registered domain names, in a market that consists of over 50 million SMEs, Arora is guiding the company to tap those un-digitised businesses

US-based GoDaddy, the largest .IN domain registrar, is gunning for the small and medium enterprises, independent businesses, farmers and so on in tier 2 and 3 towns of India to drive its next level of growth, Managing Director and Vice President of Godaddy’s India operations Nikhil Arora told Moneycontrol.  

Arora, who replaced Rajiv Sodhi at the company in July, is hoping to employ his experience with SMEs at Intuit and then WeWork to re-direct GoDaddy's focus towards providing end-to-end management of businesses than just being a product seller.

“This is the right time to take the company to the next level. When GoDaddy entered India 5-years ago, it was very experimental for the company, the first international foray outside the US. They were trying to see which existing products can make sense here. Now we have insights, customer base to create reach,” said Arora.

Globally, GoDaddy has 72 million registered domains with about 17 million customers, in about 50 countries. In India, the company hosts 750,000 merchants and holds over 30 percent market share. Since its inception in India in 2012, GoDaddy has grown to house a team of 700 people, from 40 earlier, handling over 4,000 service calls a day.

Considering that India has just about 6 million registered domain names, in a market that consists of over 50 million SMEs, Arora is guiding the company to tap those un-digitised businesses.

Bangalore-based Instamojo, founded in the same year as GoDaddy, has already cracked the segment. Started as payment link generator, the startup is now adding value-added services in order to expand its merchant network and is now offering cataloguing and other business management tools for small businesses.

In FY17, Instamojo recorded over 2 million transactions with a total volume of Rs 600 crore. Over 65 percent of these transactions came from merchants residing in tier 2, 3, and 4 towns. Rest is divided among top 10 metro cities. InstaMojo's link alleviates the need for a merchant to buy a domain or host a website.

ShopX, another Bangalore-based company, also focuses on connecting markets beyond tier 2 towns to connect digitally. The startup connects small neighbourhood shops, kirana stores, paan kiosks to major brands. These shopkeepers can browse through a digital catalogue of all major brands such as Unilever, L’oreal, Patanjali, Micromax, and so on, and order any product directly from the sellers.

In less than a year, ShopX has brought over 50,000 such kirana stores on board its digital platform that allows the shop owners to directly order products from the brand.

Arora, however, is unperturbed by competition through innovation in Indian startup ecosystem. He rather sees them as partners in building an ecosystem. “Some of our clients demand features and products that are out there. So we will definitely look at partnering with a unique solution provider,” he says.

His strategy is three-fold. In the first phase, the current phase, Arora is driving his team to make existing products incrementally better. To do that GoDaddy launched a customer engagement program where Arora himself, and his team, go and meet customers in their premises to understand and study their requirements.

“I have always believed in this one quote – ‘You should fall in love with your customer’s problem, not with your products’. I wanted to bring that learning to GoDaddy. That’s where I have taken my team also. Let’s get out and meet the customers. Above all it creates empathy. We need to create products to solve their problems,” Arora says.

The company will draw insights from this outreach program to build on to the existing products. To that effect, GoDaddy this year extended its market in India with the launch of its website builder, business hosting on mobile, and e-mail hosting platforms.

In the second phase, the customer engagement program will be extended to create new products based on the insights derived. The company plans to launch one or two products every year, and the insights from customer interactions will play a significant role.

GoDaddy is also exploring partnerships or even acquisitions to grow its product portfolio. “There is a product roadmap we are testing right now. The focus will be on enhancing online presence for our customers, increase e-commerce, innovative productivity platforms,” Arora said.

“We will also focus on mobile of course! Given its reach in India it is imperative to touch that medium,” he added.

But Arora believes that mobile-only cannot be a fool-proof strategy. He sees it as an entry-point for first-time users, and an opportunity for the existing ones to scale up with web domain. “Discovery and penetration are through mobile but fulfilment is through the web. Web hosting can offer a lot more like inventory management, work-flow management, customer management, and so on,” he says.

The third phase is what Arora likes to call ‘the transformation phase’, which will see GoDaddy developing products specifically for relevance and scale to grow the market. “All the future products will be with the focus to solve specific problems; specific to language, location, verticals and so on,” Arora says.

“Today, reach is not there. We want to create that by building relevance and productivity. If we do not put out a relevant product, we will do them a disservice. We will turn them away from digitisation,” he adds.

durba.ghosh@nw18.com
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