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E-Commerce for MSMEs: Building an Online Storefront

India's digital transformation journey and MSMEs growth are revolutionising its economic landscape in significant ways. The Indian economy is projected to experience exponential expansion, growing at 8% annually from $3.6 trillion in 2023 to $4.9 trillion by 2027. 


India has experienced rapid economic growth over recent decades due to factors including its youthful population and an accommodating regulatory environment. This encourages the companies to establish manufacturing units in India. 


India is currently going through an exciting digital revolution as both the government and private sectors strive towards creating a paperless economy. Let us discuss the basics of building an online storefront and ecommerce marketing best practices. Keep reading!




A store with a man working on his laptop


Transitioning to E-Commerce for MSMEs

Do you know MSME stands for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises in business terms? India's government passed MSMED (the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development Act) in 2006. Under this act, MSMEs are defined as businesses that process, manufacture, or preserve material products. 


Let’s now understand what exactly e-commerce is.


What is e-commerce? 

Electronic commerce, or e-commerce, refers to online product trading via an electronic business model. People from around the globe can trade via e-commerce with just an internet connection.


Estimates suggest that 4 billion people will gain access to the Internet by 2022, and Amazon and Alibaba are great examples of e-commerce businesses connecting businesses with customers through B2C transactions and business-to-business (B2B) interactions. Based on your understanding of MSMEs and e-commerce, we can now discuss its role in supporting MSME growth.


What are the Roles of E-Commerce in MSME Growth?


The following are the roles of e-commerce in MSME growth:


  • MSMEs Get Financial Support 

  • Providing Suppliers with Access to MSMEs 

  • MSME Market Expansion 

  • Revenue Growth 

  • Marketing Cost Savings

  • Enhancing Customer Experience


Now let us discuss an effective e-commerce marketing strategy.


Choosing the Right E-commerce Platform

Every online shop is different, so your e-commerce platform should reflect that. However, there are certain essential e-commerce features and tools that should come standard with your platform:


  • Hosting environment, domain name, year-over-year uptime and bandwidth.

  • An intuitive e-commerce website builder with free, user-friendly themes and drag-and-drop functionality for creating e-commerce stores.

  • An extensive app store offers pre-built integrations and add-ons (such as social media marketing and email marketing ) from top service providers.


Let's take this into consideration and look at five tips to assist small business owners in selecting an e-commerce platform suitable for their online shop.


  1. Ask the right questions and initiate a free trial.

  2. Compare the cost of platforms.

  3. Determine which platform is  appropriate for your store’s design.

  4. Test store functionality and ease of use.

  5. Evaluate the scalability and customizability of the platform.


You must also evaluate the target audience before building an ecommerce marketing strategy.


Designing a User-Friendly Online Store

User-friendliness is one of the most important factors you need to consider when designing your E-Commerce site. A usable site should take less time and make navigation simpler for visitors.


In simple words, when someone visits your site for the first time and takes a glimpse, they should immediately understand its purpose. No one should need to inquire as to the purpose of buttons, menu items or other components in your design. This is especially essential now that more consumers prefer shopping online using mobile devices.


Make sure your E-Commerce website is designed in an accessible way so both customers and yourself can take full advantage of all the offers on it.


Payment Gateways and Security Considerations

To help ensure you make an informed decision for your online business, here is a checklist of factors you must keep in mind when selecting an ideal payment gateway solution.


  1. Security must always be of top importance:

Your payment gateway should include fraud detection measures to identify and prevent suspicious or fraudulent transactions, keeping both you and your customers safe from 

potential threats.


  1. Availability of diverse payment methods:

Make sure your payment gateway provides customers with various payment options to meet the diverse preferences of your customers.


  1. User friendliness for customers:

Payment processes should be simple for customers. A mobile-friendly and intuitive user interface will greatly enhance the user experience and help boost conversion rates.


  1. Integrate seamlessly:

Be sure that the payment gateway you've selected fits smoothly with your website or Ecommerce system by looking for plugins or APIs that allow easy integration into existing systems.


  1. Affordable Transaction Costs:

Understand the fee structure of the payment gateway, including setup fees, transaction fees and any hidden costs.


  1. Customer Support:

Make sure the payment gateway provides responsive and accessible customer support through multiple channels.


Strategies for Driving Online Sales and Conversions

If you own a business, there's a good chance you want to increase online sales with ecommerce marketing best practices - more sales mean more cash in your pockets!


Let's dive in and discuss the top strategies driving online sales and conversions! By understanding these tactics, we will be able to increase revenue faster than ever! So buckle up, and let's do this thing!


  • Optimise your website (SEO) 

  • Display customer testimonials

  • Use social media to promote special offers 

  • Add a chatbot that helps people find what they're searching for

  • Make sure that customer experience is top-of-the-line 

  • Offer discounts, promotions, packages and subscription models

  • Make returns easy 

  • Offer fewer choices

  • Target lookalike audiences 

  • Deal with abandoned carts 

  • Create buyer personas and user journey maps 

  • Capitalise on holidays 

  • Create high quality product photography.

  • Integrate your store with social media

  • Launch an effective email marketing campaign


Conclusion 

In a nutshell, e-commerce plays an integral part in MSMEs' growth. Small businesses can sell their products all around the world via e-commerce without incurring significant expansion costs. Showing off their products to an international market is now possible without having to physically expand or move.


Small businesses are taking advantage of platforms that enable them to display their products anywhere in the world without needing to relocate or expand, which has helped break down barriers, increase sales, and build an extensive customer base for themselves.


E-commerce platforms enable MSMEs' growth and development with low costs, low investments, and high levels of innovation at minimal costs and investments. This effort involves collaboration among the government, commercial sector, industry associations, and training facilities. Get in touch with a reputed e-commerce marketing specialist to kickstart your e-commerce journey. 






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