AUGUST 6, 2021
When we think of businesses, we often think of large multi-national multi-billion-dollar enterprises. However, very few of us think of the neighbourhood kirana store, the lady who sells cute baby socks from her house, or the roadside furniturewala as a flourishing business. When, in fact, it is small businesses like these that form the backbone of the Indian economy, especially in the hinterlands.
Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) contribute 30% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 40% of the exports. They employ 110 million people across the country, with more than half of the MSMEs operating from rural India.
Yet, until very recently, the market of any MSME was local, often hyperlocal. For example, a jewellery designer would handcraft designs and sell to his/her local customers through their storefront or stall at a crafts exhibition. A slightly larger business operation might distribute to specific stores in various cities and towns, who will then sell these products on their storefronts. And most of the exports were also bulk sales to another distributor abroad.
So, until recently, the reach and, therefore the markets of SMEs were limited to where their products can physically be displayed.
The internet changed all that. It ushered in an era of D2C — Direct to Consumer — a business where anyone can sell any product to a customer anywhere in the world. Today, every small business owner can have multiple storefronts all online!
The internet has thrown open a world of opportunities for small. The pandemic has accelerated this. Now, shoppers are more attuned to buying online. They are comfortable with evaluating and shortlisting even personal products such as jewellery and clothing through online modes. They are willing to pay in advance for priority delivery.
However, being able to sell a product online easily does not always mean it will be easy to fulfil that order. Packaging, shipping and delivery of an online order requires a strong supply chain and logistics management system. It is here that most small businesses struggle. From our experience working with some of the country’s fastest-growing SMEs, we’ve identified the top features that good fulfilment services need to have.
It’s important that your shipping and logistics company can deliver across locations throughout the country. Without this, you might be forced to use multiple providers for various regions, making it tedious to manage at scale.
Any courier company can transport parcels. However, only robust ecommerce logistics companies can help you serve your customers best. While choosing a logistics partner, look if they offer:
If you want to ship large packages, oddly shaped items, hazardous substances etc., check if they offer that. Also, see if they can take care of scale in the future—your logistics partner should also have warehousing services that can match your growth needs.
In essence, your shipping and logistics company needs to empower you to leverage ecommerce for business growth.
Your business is digitised, your logistics should be too. Going beyond just pick up and drop of parcels, your logistics partner should be able to bring modern technology to boost your business. For example, at Delhivery, we offer real-time tracking on all packages we ship for our clients.
Through our platform, customers leverage advanced analytics and data science capabilities to identify trends, measure costs, spot patterns etc. They use this information to improve their logistics and their business processes as a whole.
There is a growing demand for Indian products across the globe. From niche and artisanal products to generic raw materials, you might find a lucrative market outside Indian borders. Your logistics provider needs to be able to support your global reach without breaking the bank.
“We started with 4 packets a month, and now we ship almost 1000 packets a month. The credit goes to Delhivery’s efficient services and timely deliveries.”
– Prachi Khanduja, Founder, Phuljhadi Designs
Prachi is one of the thousands of small business owners who choose Delhivery to grow their online business. If you dream of a business that serves the needs of millions of customers worldwide, consider Delhivery SME.
Speak to a Delhivery expert to know how we can help you.