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‘Contemporary Digital Disruption is Key for SMEs’

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While most of us would agree that SMEs/SMBs are major drivers of the economy. They are huge in numbers, huge in potential, they one of the largest employers for country’s working population but their contribution into the GDP is still a concern. The digital medium has been considered as a disruptor for SMEs. Being a global organization, GoDaddy is a flagship name in the area of digital and have a strong commitment towards SMEs.

In a candid interview with Faiz Askari of SMEStreet, Nikhil Arora, President & Managing Director of GoDaddy India explained trends that are driving Indian SMEs to go Online.   

Faiz Askari: What are the priorities for 2019?

Nikhil Arora: India is a priority market for GoDaddy and a cornerstone of our global expansion strategy. As per the recent Google-KPMG study, the country has over50 million small businesses and presents the second largest base of SMBs in the world. However, over 68 per cent of them currently does not have an online presence. Additionally, more businesses from Tier 2& Tier 3 cities have not yet realized the internet opportunity.

GoDaddy recognizes this tremendous opportunity for growth as small businesses around the world rapidly come online and gain access to new markets and new customers. With over 70% of SMBs coming from India’s Tier 2 regions, our priority for 2019 is to work tirelessly to help bring small businesses and entrepreneurs in emerging India (Tier 2 and 3 cities) online.

Over the last six years, GoDaddy has witnessed significant growth which has helped us now serve over one million customers in India. It is a significant milestone to achieve, as we focus our initiatives to help contribute to supporting the country’s Digital India initiative. Moving ahead, we expect one-third of Indian small businesses to be online by 2022, we aspire to have GoDaddy play a major role in helping these businesses bring their ideas online.

Faiz Askari: What are the key drivers for GoDaddy’s India Business?

Nikhil Arora: We have carefully designed our India strategy, to help drive the next phase of growth in India. The three pillars of our approach in the country are:-

  1. GoDaddy aims to be a trusted long-term partner to small businesses and independent ventures and those who enable them (web professionals and resellers). We are continuously working towards building awareness of online adoption among our partner ecosystem through marketing campaigns and providing products and customer care in multiple local languages for Tier 1 and Tier 2 markets, while also conducting on ground training and community development initiatives.
  2. We focus on delivering easy-to-use, scalable products that meet the individual lifecycle needs of Indians. We provide flexible pricing plans for our products for every stage of the venture from the ideation stage to mature businesses.
  3. We aim to create end-to-end experiences through a sharp focus on customer journey and customer success so that 1 million ventures in India are able to fulfil their personal missions. We host regular customer forums such as Customer Councils & Fireside Chats, like the GoDaddy Customer Day, held on Day 2 of this year’s CloudFest India conference, to get customer feedback on products, support and marketing.

Faiz Askari: How is GoDaddy growing segment of Small Businesses in India?

Nikhil Arora: In India, with small business owners increasing seeking web professionals to help them create and manage their online presence, GoDaddy is committed to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs and being a trusted partner for our customers and those who enable them – the Web Pros and Resellers across India. We work to build awareness among our partner ecosystem across the country, on the benefits of online adoption through our promotional and marketing campaigns presented in seven Indian languages including Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Kannada and Malayalam.

At GoDaddy, we also enable web professionals and local resellers with an integrated set of  online tools, programs, platform and partnership options to help their clients (small businesses) create and manage an effective digital presence. We provide a dedicated customer support team for web professionals through the GoDaddy Pro Program helping them access our resources easily and quickly.

We introduced the GoDaddy Pro Program in India a few years ago, with tools and services to help web pros more efficiently manage their clients. A key feature of the Program is a centralized dashboard to monitor and manage all clients’ sites from one place, including software updates, security, uptime monitoring, SEO rankings, backups and more. Web pros using these tools to manage their online business have called it a “game changer.” We have helped make their business more successful by automating time-consuming site maintenance tasks that can help they be more efficient in managing their clients.

Our dedicated team of customer support experts in India help to guide our customers through a step-by-step process of running their business online and bringing them up to speed with market developments. Furthermore, we also educate and support small businesses owners with insights from real life examples about products and services via feature articles by GoDaddy team members, industry experts, GoDaddy customers and partners.

Faiz Askari What are the key challenges you face while addressing the vast markets such as India?

Nikhil Arora: Most small businesses in India have a perception that using the Internet is a complex task, while some of them also have security concerns. In addition to this, there is a popular misconception that building a website is a big financial investment.

In an effort to help raise awareness about the benefits of having an online presence for a small business, GoDaddyeducates consumers and business owners about how easy and affordable it really is to build an online identity. With GoDaddy Website Builder, people can establish a presence for their business on the internet, by creating a website in under an hour.

Additionally, as we work to help bring small business owners from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, we promote the concept of creating a website through our localized language marketing campaigns across a variety of channels, all aimed at driving home the point that a compelling online presence can significantly transform a business.

GoDaddy provides support and guidance for its customers at every stage—this is intrinsic to our global and India strategy. We offer our award-winning world-class, 24/7 local customer care in four local Indian languages, where a customer can call our Customer Care Center and an expert will be available to walk them through the process of creating their online presence in their language step-by-step.

Faiz Askari: Campaigns such as Digital India are mainly targeted to promote digital infra in India. How does such campaign impact the business of GoDaddy?

Nikhil Arora: Collaboration with industry members, government, and organizations that promote and support small businesses, entrepreneurs and web professionals is an important part of our growth strategy in India. Through these collaborations, we can share our expertise and educate people on creating their business online and how to drive results to help their venture grow.

We actively partner with industry associations and are working with local resellers and web professionals to execute multi-city events in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in India, educating them through on-ground engagement and webinars to get help get more small businesses and entrepreneurs online. Over this past year, GoDaddy has trained over 700 web professionals in around 10 cities across India.

Faiz Askari: How are conventional Indian SMEs evolving around the digital?

Nikhil Arora: As per the latest IAMAI and IMRB report, India has over 481 million internet users (as of December 2017), with 35% overall internet penetration. Interestingly, according to the latest Times Internet study ‘The Changing Lingual Face of Digital India’, regional language users are increasingly takingover the internet ecosystem. By the year 2021, these non-English language users will account for 75 per cent of the country’s internet user base, to reach 536 million.

With respect to SMEs, As per Google-KPMG 2017 study, India has over 50 million small businesses, out of which over 68 percent of them currently do not have an online presence.Additionally, more businesses from Tier 2 & Tier 3 cities are beginning to realize the internet opportunity. With over 70% of SMBs coming from India’s Tier 2 regions, GoDaddy is working tirelessly to continue to help bring emerged India (Tier I cities) and to bring emerging India (Tier 2 and Tier 3cities) online.

Additionally, we believe that India is fundamentally a market, dominated by a ‘Do-it-for-Me’ (DIFM) segment, which means the expectation is that someone else will build and manage an online business for the customer. At GoDaddy, we are focused on supporting the growth of our partner ecosystem – web professionals and local resellers in India – by providing them with the right online tools, platform and solutions to manage their businesses and help their customers grow online.

Faiz Askari: Can you elaborate some glimpse about the expansion areas of GoDaddy?

Nikhil Arora: GoDaddy powers the world’s largest cloud platform dedicated to small, independent ventures. With 77 million domains under management and over 18M customers worldwide, GoDaddy is the world’s largest domain name registrar. With a vision is to radically shift the global economy toward life-fulfilling independent ventures, GoDaddy currently has a presence currently spanning over 50 markets and serving customers over 100 countries around the world, and reviews opportunities to continue to serve new customers.

Our acquisition of HEG last year, helped GoDaddy grow in Europe, adding 1.6 million customers. GoDaddy continues to expand in markets around the world and considers strategic M&A opportunities.


Faiz Askari

Faiz is a mediapreneur specialised in Small Business and Technology domain.

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