Google, today took a major step in its quest for more business from India. Sundar Pichai, Google CEO announced two initiatives which are aimed at enabling the small and medium businesses of India to go online. In a joint study conducted by Google and consultancy firm KPMG on the “Impact of internet on digitization on SMBs in India”, it was found that 68% of the 51 million SMBs are offline. It further found that digitization of SMBs could help increase their contribution to India’s GDP by 10 percentage points, taking it up to 46-48% by 2020.
For these millions of small and medium businesses across India to go online, digital offers a powerful platform to transform and accelerate growth. Technology is playing a pivotal role in helping them explore new markets, engage different audiences and compete more effectively. And to achieve this they need to have the right skills and tools to help them digitize and leverage the full power of the internet.
Ascertaining the benefits of going digital for small businesses, Google determines that profits of digitally engaged SMBs grow twice as fast compared to offline SMBs. Likewise digitally engaged businesses are able to grow their customer base significantly with 52% catering to customers beyond their home city versus only 29% offline SMBs. However, the study found that 68% Indian SMBs are still offline due to a lack of understanding of the benefits of digital technologies and technical skills to get them online.
To help the small and medium businesses to go online and tap the potential of digital, Google announced Digital Unlocked training platform, Primer (a mobile app) and My Business websites.
Digital Unlocked is a large-scale training program for small business owners who wants to utilize the opportunity to go digital.
Digital Unlocked is available across online, offline and mobile. The offline training is being conducted in partnership with FICCI and over the next three years, 5,000 workshops will be held across 40 Indian cities. The online training comprises a set of 90 self-paced video tutorials, curated specifically for India and is available free of charge at digital unlocked website. The tutorials cover a comprehensive set of topics ranging from building a web presence and driving online growth to reaching customers over mobile and video digital and email marketing to social media. The training’s are certified by Google, Indian School of Business and FICCI.
Google also launched Primer, a free mobile app uniquely designed to teach digital marketing skills in a quick, easy and interactive way. It is available for download through the Google Play and iOS app store. Primer also works offline and is currently available in English and Hindi with Tamil, Telugu and Marathi versions coming shortly.
Having digital skills is a good starting point, but businesses also need a robust online identity to connect with consumers and convert their interest into action. And therefore, Google also launched My Business Website with the intent of equipping the vast majority of small businesses with a simple way to start their digital journey by creating a free, mobile optimized website, easily and instantly. Available for Google My Business users later in the year, this new feature will provide simple, templated and editable websites for small businesses created from the information and photos provided by them on Google Maps. My Business Websites will be available in English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Kannada, and Malayalam.
So using digital unlocked, you can start your learnings offline and using primer app, you can learn from your mobile as well. For offline training’s, you can register in the digital unlocked website. As of now, we can see that Google has scheduled offline training in 4 Indian cities – Delhi, Bhopal, Jalandhar and Indore. There are 23 topics across all areas of digital marketing and online presence. There are also tools which these businesses can use when they are going online.
There are hundreds of resources in Digital Unlocked covering loads of topics to help these businesses succeed online. But they don’t have to explore all of it — the platform will set you up with a personal learning plan that covers only the topics you need. Hit ‘Create my plan’ anywhere on the site to select your goals, so that the platform will automatically know what to include in your personal plan.
So calling out all small and medium business owners to try digital Unlocked platform and primer mobile app.