A Big Online Boost To India’s Small Businesses

by Sohini Bagchi    Jul 30, 2018

nikhil

Internet domain registrar and web hosting major, GoDaddy is increasingly focusing on localization strategy in India to engage with the country’s burgeoning SMB segment, which has always been one of its key growth markets. With the rise of online business in the country’s tier II and III cities, the company believes that its plans to expand its local language strategy would eliminate the language barrier and help accelerate growth among small businesses, majority (nearly 74 percent) of whom are non-English speaking and are located in India’s non-metros. In a recent interaction with CXOToday, Nikhil Arora, VP and MD, GoDaddy India speaks about the company’s strategy to help Indian SMBs and its new offerings for the Indian market.

CXOToday: The Internet ecosystem in India has drastically changed. What does it mean to GoDaddy now?

Nikhil Arora: India is forging ahead as the world’s fastest growing economy, with start-ups, developers/entrepreneurs, small and medium sized businesses powering this economic development and job creation. Digital adoption among these businesseshas been driving this growth, with an increased push from the governmentinitiatives like Digital India. At GoDaddy, we are committed to supporting this vision, with our differentiated product offerings and services, aimed athelping the country’s small businesses thrive in today’s rapidly growing digital world.

As per the latest IAMAI and IMRB report, India has over 481 million internet users (as of December 2017), with 35 percent overall internet penetration. Interestingly, according to a recent study by Times Internet, regional language users are increasingly takingover the internet ecosystem. By the year 2021, these non-English language users will account for 75 percent of the country’s internet user base, to reach 536 million.

 When GoDaddy began its journey in India, we started with English language customer care with a small group of experts servicing customer calls each day. From our learnings and given the strong impetus to regionalization for digital adoption, we are now at a stage where we offer products to our customers in four Indian languages including Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, and English. We also offer customer care services in over five languages (English, Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Telugu) in India and have created awareness campaigns in over seven different languages (English, Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Telugu, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam) to help drive education and thought leadership in the local areas of the country. As a result of our localization strategy, we have seen growth in demand from our customers all across the country. And we are responding to over 4000 customer care calls per day to our Customer Care Centre in India.

CXOToday: What are some of the recent products by GoDaddy? How specific are these to the India market?

Nikhil Arora: GoDaddy is the world’s largest technology provider dedicated to small and independent ventures. Our mission is to empower small businesses by helping people to easily start, confidently grow and successfully run their own ventures. We offer our customers a ‘one stop shop’ for an integrated suite of relevant products and solutions needed to establish and grow their business online.  Our goal is to provide the best performing products to our customers and we are constantly exploring ways to deliver higher value.

We host regular customer forums and meet-ups to understand the business needs of our customers and work towards offering relevant products so that our one million customers in India are able to fulfil their personal missions. For instance, in May, we introduced the next generation Virtual Private Server (VPS) to help the country’s web professional community build and manage business of their clients. VPS isa virtual machine based on KVM/OpenStack, which provides higher resource isolation, industry leading security and web scale compared to other container based technologies. It provides higher performance, more flexibility in server configuration and full access to run multiple sites and clients, or setup development and infrastructure services. This product launch reinstates our commitment towards expanding the internet ecosystem in India by enabling the web developer community to grow their own businesses.

Last year we launched our updated GoDaddy Website Builder to help people easily create a website, with GoDaddy smart learning and mobile first features.  We also launched GoDaddy Professional Email to help small business owners have an email address to align with their domain name designed to create a more professional experience for their customers.

CXOToday: Despite the Internet revolution, a huge chunk of the businesses in India still do not have an online presence. How do you plan to tap that market?

Nikhil Arora: India is a key market for us and is the cornerstone of our global expansion strategy.  While we have seen tremendous internet boom in the past couple of years, it is still in its early ages, with the second wave of internet adoption expected from the country’s Tier 2 & Tier 3 cities. Keeping this is mind, we have carefully designed our localization strategy to unlock the opportunity India’s linguistic diversity presents and increase internet uptake among SMBs. Our multilingual presence seeks to eliminate the language barrier and make the internet easy to embrace across the nation.

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. The GoDaddy Pro Program is designed with the objective of easing the work-flow for web designers and developers, and helping them build and manage their client’s websites and projects more efficiently. We also conduct training sessions and sponsor industry events for web professionals, giving them the opportunity to upgrade their skillsets, acquire new customers and expand their business.

CXOToday: What’s your strategy for Indian SMBs? What’s their current challenge in terms of domain registration and related challenges?

Nikhil Arora: India has over 50 million small businesses and presents the second largest base of SMBs in the world. However, over 68 percent of them currently do not have an online presence. With just around 32 percent Internet penetration, India presents a sizeable market and that’s where the opportunity is. Additionally, more businesses from Tier 2 & Tier 3 cities are realizing 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, we are tirelessly working to help bring emerged India (Tier I cities) and emerging India (Tier 2cities) online.

We have reinforced our strategy to help drive the next phase of growth in India, built on the pillars of evolving our brand to being a trusted partner, driving exceptional customer experience and providing flexible product plans for small businesses to help scale per their needs.

However, many small business owners in India still perceive internet to be too complex to adopt as a business strategy or have security concerns. Also a popular misconception that building a website is a massive financial investment in itself. At GoDaddy, we are working towardseducating consumers and business owners about how easy and affordable it can be to build an online identity. Additionally, we are invested in bringing more people online, by promoting the concept of creating a website with our local language marketing campaigns across a variety of channels, all aimed at driving  the point that a compelling online presence can significantly transform a business.

CXOToday: What is your contribution to Digital India? Could you please explain the association with government projects, if any?

Nikhil Arora: Collaboration with industry members 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 share our expertise and educate people in creating a successful online business presence. 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, providing the right platform and partnership options to help them create and manage an effective digital presence. We are also invested in educating the web professionals and local resellers through on-ground engagement and webinars to get small businesses online.

CXOToday: Going ahead, what would be your business technology plans for the market in the next 12-18 months?

Nikhil Arora: India was the first market GoDaddy entered outside the US, in 2012.  It continues to be one of our top priority markets. Earlier this year, we announced that we now have one million customers who have created their digital presence on the GoDaddy platform. It is a significant milestone to achieve, reinstating the fact that we are contributing significantly towards supporting the country’s Digital India initiative. Moving forward, we expect one-third of Indian small businesses to be online by 2022 and we aspire to have GoDaddy play a major role in helping these businesses bring their ideas online. We will be continuing to listen to our customers and drive products and features to help their ventures grown online.

CXOToday: Millions of websites using HTTP may be labelled “Not Secure” with July Google Chrome update. What is GoDaddy doing to secure customer sites?

Nikhil Arora: We, at GoDaddy, are committed towards helping small and independent ventures start, run and grow their business online.  While there are free SSL Certificates available for those with more technical knowledge, for those looking for additional support, GoDaddy offers a variety of SSL Certificate plans to meet a business’ needs, all including expert technical support 24×7.