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Succeeding In 2022: Here Are Some Trends For What Businesses Can Do

Although the sector was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the support from our government’s economic relief packages under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Scheme has been incredibly helpful in assisting its recovery. Despite the uncertainties being brought by the third wave, many businesses have started redesigning their strategies to help ensure business continuity.

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It should come as no surprise that micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are the backbone of the Indian economy. According to the Annual MSME Report released in March 2021, the sector generates over 30 per cent of the country’s GDP and employs approximately 11 crore workers in the rural and urban areas across the country. MSMEs not only contribute a major chunk of resources in the development of Tier I cities but also creates growth prospects in Tier II and Tier III cities across India.  

Although the sector was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the support from our government’s economic relief packages under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Scheme has been incredibly helpful in assisting its recovery. Despite the uncertainties being brought by the third wave, many businesses have started redesigning their strategies to help ensure business continuity.

This transformation is quite evident in the way organisations are remodelling their operations and engagement strategies to cater to the new and diverse customer demands. The year 2022 is expected to further accelerate this drive and create new opportunities for the MSME sector, in a hybrid work scenario backed by a strong technology foundation and a digital-first approach.  

Here are some trends that are expected to completely revolutionize Indian businesses: 

Enhanced focus on omnichannel, highly personalised, and vernacular consumer experience 

The global pandemic evidently pushed consumers’ digital appetite, increasing their demand for seamless omnichannel experiences. However, small businesses are lagging far behind as many of them are yet to even set up their stores online.  Out of 63 million MSMEs in India, 62 per cent are still offline according to Indian MSME Impact Report. As the rate at which internet penetration and smartphone adoption is growing in the country, businesses today must consider having a multi-platform presence, which includes having a desktop and mobile-friendly e-commerce website, a social media store and any unique business application, to differentiate their business and be able to serve customers across multiple touchpoints.  

Customer demand today has become completely dependent on the 3Vs – voice, video and vernacular. Lately, Indians are increasingly showing preference towards services that are available in the language of their choice. To meet this growing need for personalization and vernacular engagement, businesses can consider creating high-quality interactive content in regional languages, to help connect better with consumers, leading to greater penetration across markets. 

Conscious data management 

In 2022, businesses striving to develop a loyal customer base will not only need to focus on providing a better experience but also respect the sanctity of data privacy. With the present data-conscious consumers, businesses need to become extremely transparent, taking consumer preference for accessing, collecting and utilizing their data to upgrade their services. 

According to a research report by Adobe in October 2021, 74 per cent of consumers are ready to quit the brand in case of any mistrust. Hence, it is quite important to ensure conscious and responsible usage and protection of customer data to help avoid loss of brand trust amongst potential and existing consumers.

Hyperlocalisation for effective communication 

In this era of digital transformation, customer preferences are constantly shifting, pushing businesses to revamp their marketing strategies. One of the trends that have emerged recently and been gaining traction is – “hyper localisation”, which means businesses leveraging local cultures and norms to build an emotional connection with their target audience and bolster brand loyalty. 

According to the 5WPR Consumer Culture Report in January 2021, 51 per cent of customers prefer to buy from brands that align with their values, especially GenZ. Considering the consumer mindset, this trend is expected to gain more popularity in the coming months.  

Influencer marketing  

During the last two years, many brands changed their approach and adopted social media marketing and influencer marketing solutions to create greater recall amongst consumers. According to India Influence Report 2021 by Zefmo, the influencer marketing industry witnessed a massive 40 per cent growth owing to an increase in demand for innovative and engaging content and the same is expected to continue in 2022. Going forward, small businesses can consider enhancing their marketing strategies and using new-age digital tools to help retain consumer attention and sustain themselves in the digital world.  

Keeping up with the latest trends and executing complex strategies can be difficult, but one must learn to transform themselves as per the changing market landscape. In order to thrive in the new world order, businesses need to understand the shift in consumer demand and preferences and continually work towards devising a creative, engaging, data-conscious and localized strategy for effective customer engagement.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Nikhil Arora

Nikhil leads strategy, business growth, operations and customer care for GoDaddy in India as its Vice President & Managing Director. In his role at the world’s leading platform dedicated to small businesses, Nikhil is passionate about helping small businesses and entrepreneurs establish and grow their ventures. Nikhil has over two decades of international and India experience in corporate strategy, marketing, business development, and finance. He brings extensive experience operating in emerging markets, along with deep insights on challenges confronting small and micro businesses as they look for growth and to build compelling businesses. Prior to his current role at GoDaddy India, Nikhil was the Head of Operations for Asia and India General Manager for WeWork, a fast growing global start-up. Prior to joining WeWork, Nikhil was the Managing Director at Intuit India, where he was responsible for implementing Intuit’s India business strategy, strengthening partnerships and capitalizing on social, mobile and global market trends. Previous roles included Vice President and Country Head of Operations at Laureate Education, as well as roles in business development at ADP and in managing M&As and joint ventures at Delphi. Nikhil holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona, as well as a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Accounting and Finance from Hofstra University, New York. Having spent time in Russia and Central Asia managing public education projects, Nikhil also holds a Diploma in Russian language. He is based out of New Delhi, and his other interests include running marathons, biking, obstacle and adventure sports, traveling and exploring new destinations.

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