How To Go Digital: Bringing Local Businesses Online

Online Business

The massive growth of internet and smartphone adoption across India offers tempting opportunities for small businesses to access more customers online. However, local shops without a website or social media handle miss out on this huge market waiting to discover them on digital platforms.

Whether you supply handcrafted goods, run a homemade food venture, or provide professional services – establishing an online presence and selling capabilities are essential to flourish in the 21st century. This step-by-step guide covers the key tasks involved in taking Indian SMBs fully digital.

Craft Your Business Website

The foundation for any online enterprise is a dedicated website highlighting your products, services and brand story in an engaging manner. Either hire professional web developers or leverage DIY site builders like Wix and Squarespace costing between ₹1500-₹5000 monthly.

Ideally build on your domain name. Key pages to cover include:

Home – Hero image, brand mission statement, top products/services, customer testimonials Menu/Shop – Photos, pricing and description for all items customers can buy About Us – Share your business journey, founder/team profiles, awards etc. Contact Us – Clear listing of phone/email and online contact form to get sales queries

Craft SEO Optimized Content

Well written blog posts and web articles play a crucial role to get discovered by relevant Google searches from local audiences. Publishing long form content focused on “best Indian cakes”, “bespoke leather bags in Mumbai” etc. attracts traffic from browsers seeking your offerings. Optimize such content for local cities/areas and hyperfocus product/service keywords for the best SEO results.

Leverage Social Media Marketing

Activate free business pages on Facebook and Instagram at the minimum to attract followers through regular posts showcasing products, store events, offers etc. Share content that engages audiences rather than pure sales pitches. Contests, behind-the-scenes production and customer spotlights perform well.

Geo-targeted Facebook and Instagram ads help expand local reach too. Additionally, create channels on YouTube and Twitter to further grow awareness. Assist customers via instant messaging apps like WhatsApp for enhanced convenience.

Enable Online Ordering

The ultimate step to unlock your digital small business is enabling eCommerce capabilities either through the website or third party food/retail order and delivery platforms. This requires showcasing inventory with photos/pricing, integrating secure digital payments, implementing order tracking and partnering reputed logistics providers for product fulfilment whether self-delivery or via Dunzo, Swiggy Genie etc.

Digital Tools to Adopt

Deploy essential software and tools to manage various functions:

  • Accounting – Zoho Books, Vyapar
  • Inventory/CRM – Zoho Inventory, Floret
  • Email Marketing – Moosend, MailerLite
  • Online Reservations – BookezOnline
  • Loyalty Programs – Loyalie, Payback

The above steps shall get your business discoverable online plus equipped to handle orders digitally. Combine with data-driven advertising and customer engagement for sustained success. Schedule time weekly to maintain your online presence.

With India rapidly digitizing, local enterprises risk losing reams of customers to eCommerce giants without an omni-channel approach. We hope this guide gives you a roadmap for taking your offline establishment online. Just remember – start small, outsourcing complex tasks initially before bringing expansive functions inhouse after achieving stability.

Here’s wishing all Indian small business owners a rewarding digital transformation journey geared to growth and prosperity ahead! Feel free to reach out for any assistance required.

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