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Last week, as I sat down for my evening cup of tea, I had an idea – I decided to call an old friend up. The time that would have otherwise been spent mindlessly scrolling through online stores or looking at strangers’ social media pictures was now occupied by a long conversation with a dear friend.
My friend was slightly distressed and was venting to me about how her favourite nukkad store had decided to shut shop due to a huge hit in sales during the pandemic. I realised through our conversation that this issue is not unique to this one store but a lot of small businesses have suffered heavily due to the pandemic.
The Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector plays a major role in India’s economy. This sector not only creates millions of jobs every year but also has a significant contribution to the country’s GDP.
Unfortunately, as a consequence of the pandemic, small and medium businesses were hit the hardest. Survival and continuity became a point of major concern. Roughly 7 out of 10 firms have reduced their production capacity to lower the number of temporary workers.
But, how did people overcome the losses and make employment opportunities even during the pandemic?
While troubleshooting and trying to come up with ideas to save the little nukkad store, we started brainstorming through what other businesses have been doing. Many businesses during the pandemic faced the same challenge, but only a few were able to cope up with the losses. Owners started to find creative ways to change their operating model, and the fun fact is, thousands of them doubled their income by adapting to new strategies.
People started bringing their business online
One of the best modes to operate business even during the pandemic was to take the whole business online and serve customers virtually. With this step followed a few more steps like asking employees to learn new skills to support changes, and adopting new technology processes.
Started selling through marketplaces like Flipkart
Bang in the middle of our conversation, I got a notification from my Flipkart app and remembered something I’d read about a couple of days ago. Since a lot of businesses were unable to sell their product by building their marketplace due to the absence of a certain level of technical skill as well as financial capacity – big names like Flipkart offered to help! Online sales were at a peak during the COVID outbreak, and many sellers with the help of Flipkart sold billions of products during festivals and exclusive sale time.
Started using unconventional advertising methods
Many small businesses stepped into the world of unconventional advertising and made millions through it. By unconventional advertising, I mean using social media like WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook to sell products online.
Starting a business online was no less like starting over, and this time it was not brick and mortar, but an online store. A feasible way for businesses back then, step into the world of online selling was Flipkart as a global marketplace that helped such businesses a lot.
An Initiative by Flipkart
Flipkart, through its initiatives and support, helped the MSMEs on its platform to stand on their foot again. Not only this, Flipkart generated growth and business opportunities. The MSMEs, including sellers, traders, and manufacturers, in turn, generated multiple employment opportunities for Indians, not only in Tier 1 cities but also in Tier 2 & 3 cities and even in the villages.
E-commerce is a huge ecosystem consisting of logistics, warehouses, sellers, and manufacturers. The scale of Flipkart’s operation is so huge that it created lakhs of new jobs through this ecosystem. Flipkart sells more than 80 million products of all kinds on its platform – a product range so wide that it touches every sphere of life in some way or the other. These products are manufactured and sold by millions of people from every nook and corner of the country.
Flipkart’s innovative initiatives helped many families to generate income in tough times.
How Flipkart is empowering MSMEs to generate employment
Since April 2020, Flipkart has been empowering hundreds of MSMEs across the country. Flipkart, a native Indian e-commerce platform has generated plenty of opportunities for MSMEs by supporting their journey of expansion and stability. This was made possible with the help of their robust supply chain infrastructure and dynamic digital ecosystem, which lead to over a million direct and indirect opportunities.
To support and uplift artisans, Indian handicrafts, and the impoverished part of Indian society, Flipkart launched a program called “Samarth” in July 2019. This initiative is aimed at helping them grow their businesses and increase their income by easily reaching the targeted market through digital means.
Well, after a long and heavy conversation, my friend decided that she would take our newly-gained knowledge and offer it to the kind uncle that runs her favourite nukkad store. She texted me yesterday excitedly exclaiming that she’s convinced uncle to give Flipkart a go! For MSMEs in the Flipkart ecosystem, the future seems to be very bright. The Flipkart ecosystem not just helps in generating employment but also contributes immensely to the growth of the country – and the growth of my closet space!