Google India on Wednesday said it has partnered with companies like Zoho, Instamojo and others to help small and medium businesses (SMBs) build digital presence and navigate through the challenging economic environment.
Building on its effort to help consumers discover small businesses on Google search and maps, the company’s new initiative will focus on accelerating the efforts to help businesses build digital presence in partnership with Zoho and Instamojo.
Small businesses will be able to create websites using Zoho inventory and sell online through Zoho Commerce for free till March 31, 2021.
Instamojo, on the other hand, is offering a six-month free subscription to its 'Premium Online Store Solution'.
Google has also partnered with Dunzo and Swiggy to fast track the on-boarding process, with both partners committing to provide additional support to small businesses to start accepting orders online and enable delivery logistics.
SMBs can avail Dunzo’s 24×7 merchant support for free with zero sign-up fee and instant registration, and use Swiggy’s seven-days 'Fast track Onboarding'.
All these will be available for SMBs on Grow with Google Small Business hub in India.
"Today, the need to go digital is a necessity and SMBs are hard-pressed to digitise fast. We need to do everything we can to handhold millions of small businesses in their digital-transformation journey and support business recovery during the current crisis,” Shalini Girish, Customer Solutions Director at Google India, told reporters in a virtual briefing.
Google is partnering with industry leaders to offer more support to help small businesses go digital, she added.
Google will also be launching a new show in partnership with Doordarshan called Namaste Digital, serving as a mass media program for SMBs to learn about the Internet and help them grow their business, she said.
As per a Google-Kantar small business tracker research conducted in July, customer-related challenges topped the list for small businesses along with revenue loss due to low demand and payment of fixed costs.
The report also highlighted that businesses are seeing the benefits of going digital to engage their customers.
Girish said Google has also launched a nationwide campaign 'Make Small Strong' to rally support from citizens to support small businesses by buying locally, giving reviews and ratings and promoting their favourite retailers on social media to help generate demand for these businesses.
Anand Nergunam Sr, Vice President – Revenue Management and Growth at Zoho Corp, said since the beginning of the pandemic, the company has announced several initiatives and resources to serve SMBs in these tough times.
"The dramatic shift in consumer preference towards digital commerce has caught most of the small businesses off-guard with many of them struggling to win their customers back,” he said.
Through the Grow with Google initiative, Zoho is providing them with basic tools necessary for these businesses to digitise their operations with ease and the company will assist them with building awareness, onboarding, and implementation as well, he added.
Instamojo co-founder Akash Gehani said the company currently serves over 1.3 million MSMEs across the country.
"Small businesses are the backbone of Indian economy and a significant contributor to India’s GDP. Given the current circumstances, our mission is more important than ever to unlock the potential of digital and Internet to startups and MSMEs in India,” he added.
Google India is also investing in efforts to scale its outreach to help small businesses learn to use digital tools in local Indian languages.
As part of this effort, Google has worked closely with FICCI to drive an industry wide skilling program which has already trained 1.2 million individuals.