Last Updated on July 12, 2022 by Rajeev Bagra
Despite the thrust of the Indian government to bring online more and more of its services so that they are easy to avail, a portion of the population finds it hard to adapt that include brick and mortar shop owners, rural people, senior citizens, housewives, young adults without first-hand knowledge of using computers.
1.A. Local Mobile Shop Owner
For a mobile shop owner, the challenge is to create something unique. The proprietor that I spoke with finds himself selling only finished phone sets by storing them in his retail shop. With more such local shops and of course competition from online marketplaces like Amazon, he finds himself under pressure. He is contemplating how to go online with an online store as well as provide value-added services like mobile phone repair. For that, he is searching for the right learning tools.
1.B. Financial Service Provider
For proprietor of a registered financial entity, he finds himself redundant as many of the services he has been providing for decades, such as share trading, share investment, mutual funds, insurance to his clients can be well done online and at better terms and pricing. He is thinking of developing a website/app with value-added features like when someone buys mutual funds through his link, he or she is provided with crypto points.
1.C. Internet Cafe Owner
With ease accessing high-speed internet as rural India gets accustomed to the online way of living with most govt. and educational applications filled online, there is a demand for brick and mortar local service providers or so-called internet cafes. It is ironic that a process that is meant to be done online by the end-user is actually not so for masses that although can use Facebook are not able to follow instructions and say fill out an online SBI new bank account application by themselves. While the govt. has come up with the concept of Grahak Seva Kendra (Customer Service Point), internet cafes are in a position to provide more of such services without depending on govt. grants.
For an internet cafe, the proprietor I interviewed finds himself vulnerable as unlike a few years back, now most have desktops/laptops/smartphones with internet connection. Services
like money transfers earlier provided from his internet cafe are no more needed as most people now do this by themselves using the likes of PayTm/Phonepe in addition to govt. aided Tathya Mitra Kendra (kind of customer service point providing host of online services inlcuding money transfer). On the bright side, since most form fillups by govt./educational institutions are now online, there is indeed a flow of local customers for such services provided one-on-one. The owner is contemplating how to provide his services by making the
right combination of online tools (such as with his own website/app) while operating through his brick-and-mortar cafe.
Acting as a brick-and-mortar shop, these internet cafes can go online and optimize their offering. For instance, they can have a free Blogger website with links of relevant online forms and monetized by pay-per-click campaigns like AdSense, affiliate marketing. In the blog section, they can come out with informative content like how to write a CV optimized with keywords.
By making use of relevant software such as ABBYY Fine Reader PDF, these internet cafes can increase productivity while doing data entry jobs such as typing from hand-written/scanned documents.
By making their workspace suitable for office activities with a common reception and office address, they can transform themselves as a virtual office space service provider/incubator. With suitable amenities, they can attract a section of remote working force that often finds working from home difficult for a number of reasons including boredom, lack of working environment, or just a feeling of loneliness.
1.d. Entrepreneuer with Multiple services under one umbrella
Take the case of XYZ Enterprise (name changed) providing packers & movers and real estate brokerage services along with stationery retail shop in Bardhaman, West Bengal, India. Until recently before coming in touch with us as part of our face-to-face marketing with local businessmen, owner was generating orders only through his local contacts, word of mouth references. Here are the three things we did using free programs that led to XYZ Enterprise seeing a significant rise in the number of leads now generated through the World Wide Web:
- Listed XYZ Enterprise on Google My Business.
- Launched separate websites of their real estate business and packers & movers business making use of free website feature that comes with Google My Business.
- Created Facebook business pages of the two businesses.
Though the owner himself seldom uses a computer, all he needs to do is attend phone calls to convert leads generated by our online endeavors into paying customers.
By visiting a number of small businesses, I found that most of them are facing competition from online businesses. While such small businesses are also beneficiaries of an online environment, the challenge is to keep benefits while taking steps that convert threats into opportunities. For instance, a grocery shop ties up with Amazon and start selling through Local Shops on Amazon program. In this way, a competitor (Amazon) now becomes a partner.