The year 2020 has been an unprecedented one for all. It has had a profound impact on the world, including lives and businesses, especially the small and medium businesses. Despite the setbacks, lakhs of small businesses have stepped up to this challenge and played a big part in serving their customers and people at large. A key takeaway from these challenging times has been the role technology can play in helping businesses, consumers and the society. Technology and e-commerce have played a crucial role in the revival of the affected businesses and their eventual accelerated growth. In line with this, Amazon recently published the 2020 Small and Medium Business (SMB) Impact Report, highlighting how the company benefits more than 10 lakh SMBs including sellers, delivery and logistics partners, neighbourhood stores, enterprises, developers, content creators and authors in India.

Sakshi Khandelwal, from North West Delhi, had long desired to start something of her own, but it was not until 2017 that she finally managed to launch her own shop in Nangloi, Shiv Electronics. Over the years, customers would drop in to her store for all things gadgets and electronics, including large appliances. To expand her reach and cater to customers beyond her locality, Sakshi recently joined the newly launched ‘Local Shops on Amazon’ programme. Her tryst with e-commerce, she says, has since brought in new customers as well as higher revenues. “Since joining Local Shops, we have seen our online business grow month on month. More importantly, it offers us greater control over the inventory and delivery of the products. We started the year with three employees and today, we have 10team members.” Earlier this year, Amazon launched a programme called Local Shops on Amazon, and today, over 22,000 local shops and neighbourhood stores across India are a part of the programme.

For Saharanpur-based Shubham Jain, innovation has been the mother of necessity. Operating his travel agency ‘Vardhaman Tour and Travels’ for over a decade, Shubham has closely seen the online revolution take over different aspects of life. As everything from ticket bookings to tour planning began moving online and revenues started dipping, he understood that it was time to go digital. He decided to partner with Amazon Easy in August 2020 to sell grocery and electronics, and there has been no looking back for him. “It helped me secure an immediate customer base. My collaboration with Amazon has helped me grow more than 2X in three months and I have added two more employees to keep up with the demand. During the recent Amazon Great Indian Festival, we did sales worth Rs 10 lakh. The increased footfalls have, in turn, resulted in more people reaching out to me for travel related queries as well.” Amazon Easy enables assisted shopping service for customers who may be new to e-commerce or those who do not shop online because of barriers like lack of trust, and has tied up with over 55,000 local stores across India, where customers can walk in for assistance with shopping on Amazon.in.

The recently published 2020 Small and Medium Business (SMB) Impact Report highlights how SMBs, in turn, provide livelihoods to lakhs of people. One such person is Jamuna Rani, a delivery service partner with Amazon. A former employee of a software company, Jamuna always had the dream to become an entrepreneur. To give life to her dream, she became a Delivery Service Partner with Amazon in 2016 and started a warehouse in a one-bedroom apartment. She, who started off with a team of three delivery associates, today runs a women-only delivery associates. “I wanted to prove that I am capable of this unique challenge. I believe that the will to do something different, a passion to fulfil your desire and a little effort is all that’s required to achieve your goals.”

The adoption of technology and digitization will continue to play a big role in the coming days, enabling lakhs of Indian SMBs to realise their true potential. Their success will have a multiplier impact on job creation, increasing consumption, spurring manufacturing and boosting exports and, ultimately, promoting inclusive economic growth and making India aatmanirbhar.

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