Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Post-Covid guidelines by the government to promote micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in India is likely to facilitate easier access to credit and more growth, according to over 50 per cent of the Indian small business decision-makers surveyed by American Express and market research firm YouGov headquartered in the UK. For instance, the MSME definition, which was revised last year, will help formalise retail and wholesale trade, enabling better financial and sectoral opportunities, respondents said. Also, a substantial majority of the merchants believed that the government’s move in July this year to include retail and wholesale units in the MSME segment, which is likely to help them avail finance under priority sector lending, will enable them to engage with the formal financial sector.
Also, to ensure business continuity, more small businesses are focusing on ease of shopping and order delivery for their customers. The survey was conducted among 500 small business decision-makers and over 2,000 consumers across the top 10 cities. “There has also been a significant increase in the number of businesses that provide delivery of product/service at home and online orders in comparison to last year. While only 31 per cent businesses provided home delivery and 33 per cent took online orders last year, this year, 46 per cent businesses have switched to home delivery and 42 per cent have started taking online orders,” Manoj Adlakha, Senior Vice President and CEO, American Express Banking Corp. India told Financial Express Online.
Moreover, 63 per cent merchants used SMS/ WhatsApp messages while 56 per cent leveraged social media posts to enhance reaching out to customers and engaging with them to boost their business recovery. While embracing digital payment and presence has been the survival mantra for most merchants, the survey noted that 54 per cent small businesses accepted new cashless or digital payment methods.
Subscribe to Financial Express SME newsletter now: Your weekly dose of news, views, and updates from the world of micro, small, and medium enterprises
Rajkumari of a bakery brand Nik Bakers told Financial Express Online that their business was severely impacted due to Covid and frequent lockdowns and they had to look at innovative ways of engaging with customers. “We have taken several measures which include in-store preparedness, in-store safety measures and hygiene, embracing digital payments, and execution of various methods of communications with our customers.”
“Our MSME community is always evolving and we are always looking at what more we can do for them. Diwali is around the corner when we lot of promotions for MSMEs and offer membership rewards that encourage them to spend that much more. So we have seen a significant lift in terms of promotions we have been running for small businesses such as Shop Small campaign focused on 80,000 merchant community,” Adlakha added. American Express had last year launched the Shop Small campaign to incentivize consumer spending at small businesses and help them recover from the impact of the pandemic. These small businesses were across retail shops, healthcare services, bakeries, beauty salons, travel and utilities, electronics, restaurants, and hotels.