Amazon SMBhav: Indian SMBS are leveraging tech to go global like never before

Amazon Smbhav also recognized the exponential growth trajectory of Indian SMBs with awards for outstanding performers.

Amazon India hosted Smbhav, a mega event for small and medium businesses, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on 15 and 16 January. With 3600 MSMEs in attendance, Smbhav’s primary focus was on the range of opportunities that technology presents for Indian entrepreneurs in their quest to go global. Smbhav also included an impressive array of guest speakers that included industry experts and policymakers as well as stalwarts like NR Narayana Murthy and Kishore Biyani. The third episode of the three-part series broadcast on CNN-News18 focussed on some engaging panel discussions.

The two-day event saw many insightful panel discussions, with opinions from leading experts being shared freely. The discussion on Physical Retail and Ecommerce: Growing In Harmony, steered by Sameer Khetarpal, Director-Category Management with Amazon India was particularly impressive. It included the heads of retailers like Vijay Sales, Bata, Shoppers Stop etc who agreed that a combination of online and offline retail is far more likely to succeed in the future. Manish Tiwary, VP-Category Management with Amazon India, observed that “For brands which are starting out, online retail provides a controlled environment where they can experiment, then take their products offline.” Rajiv Suri, MD & CEO of Shoppers Stop, said “We believe that the fusion of online and offline is where the customer wants to be. 70% of our eCommerce sales now come from our stores.” Sandeep Kataria, President & CEO of Bata India, said younger consumers do not walk into stores like Bata as often as the older ones. He explained, “The digital space allows us access to younger customers. To be able to reach out to older customers (via physical retail) and to newer audiences is a great opportunity for us.”

A discussion on Blurring Geographical Boundaries For SMBs was one of the highlights on day two of Smbhav. Nicholas Denissen, VP-Small Business with, explained, “We recently opened marketplaces in Australia, Singapore, and the UAE. SMBs look to Amazon to be able to reach such customers around the world. And we’re developing tools to help businesses with complicated challenges like pricing.” Pravir Krishna, MD of TRIFED, a cooperative that sells products made by tribals in India, declared, “Online export could be a game-changer for SMBs. Marketing outside the country fetches twice or three times the price you get within India.” Aditya Gahlaut, MD & Head - Global Sales and Receivables Finance with HSBC, said, “Most customers are wary of exporting due to cross-border regulations. In response, banks have developed a cross-border payment engine that enables transaction processing for SMBs.”

Amazon Smbhav also recognized the exponential growth trajectory of Indian SMBs with awards for outstanding performers. Pee Safe was named Best SMB Brand of The Year while the Innovator of The Year award went to Try And Buy Fashion. Being Chef was awarded for Transformation of The Year. Shubham Maheshwari, MD & CEO of Being Chef, said, “When we started off, people were very skeptical. Six years later, we’re doing well and scaling up. So the award is a nice boost!” Playshifu was named Digital SMB of The Year. Vivek Goyal, Co-founder PlayShifu, said, “Getting the award from Jeff Bezos means a lot.”

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