Helping small businesses to recover and emerge stronger with digital

Helping small and medium businesses to go digital has been central to our efforts in India over the last several years. We have consistently invested in programs and solutions that remove the barriers that come in the way of small and medium businesses benefitting from the Internet. Just few years ago, over 68% of Indian SMBs had no digital presence*. Today, over 26 million Indian SMBs have built their web presence on Google Maps and are easily discoverable on Google Search. And every month we drive over 150M direct connections between these businesses and customers including calls, online reservations and direction requests.

But the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns have accelerated the need for many more businesses, especially small and medium businesses, to adopt technology and “get online” to minimise the disruption and recover.  We recognize that recovery will come in different stages for different businesses. But we want to ensure that we are helping businesses make this journey, providing every business with the support and tools they need to recover and rebuild in this new environment.

Today, we’re sharing an update on our programs and efforts in India to help small businesses make the transition to the digital economy, and empower them to rebuild for the new world. 

To make it easier for the small businesses to discover all the Google resources, we are pleased to announce the launch of Grow with Google Small Business hub in India. This hub will serve as a single destination for all small businesses to get access to all the products and tools they need to go digital, maintain business continuity and get access to helpful resources like quick help videos, support pages to learn digital skills. We will soon make this site available in Hindi as well.

Introducing new features to help small businesses find new customers:

Google My Business:
We have made important changes to  Google My Business to ensure that businesses are able to keep their customers updated about changes during this time. These include:

  • You can mark the business as temporarily closed or update the hours of operation, and also easily update on Google Search and Maps, once  the business reopens 
  • Select attributes that show customers  new ways by which the business is serving customers. For instance you  can select options such as  delivery, takeout, online services such as classes, appointments, or service fee estimates
  • Use the new COVID-19 post type to share more detailed and timely updates such as safety measures put in place such as curbside pickup, as well as  product and service availability

    Google Pay - Accept Digital Payments & let new customers discover you with Nearby Stores spot

    Google Pay for Business app helps millions of businesses accept contactless digital payments from their customers  everyday. Since its launch just 8 months ago, over 3 million businesses are now using it to accept and make payments digitally.  With the help of features like frictionless onboarding and video verification, any small business can easily adopt digital payments and start accepting payments easily and instantly.  We’re also working with our partner financial institutions to surface their loan offerings for merchants, which can be availed right within Google Pay for Business app, something that is especially pertinent in these uncertain times. We will make this offering  live soon. 

    Nearby Stores, a Spot launched on Google Pay last month, helps  local businesses get discovered by customers in their vicinity. We introduced this feature in May and starting today, we are expanding this offering to become available  across India. Additionally, merchant establishments can indicate their business hours, whether social distancing measures are in place at the store and the essential goods presently in stock. 

    Helping you stand out on Google Maps, for free

    Every month, over millions of people use Google Maps to see what’s around them, search for businesses, and find directions. Now, more than ever, consumers are looking to shop local, due to the convenience and to support small businesses within their neighbourhoods. 

    Therefore, we have started rolling out a new offering called promoted pins on Google Maps, to help businesses stand out during these moments by displaying a prominent, square-shaped pin. In the current situation, business owners  can also highlight specific services such as pickup and delivery, or other unique offerings to make shopping convenient.  We've started rolling out Promoted pins to Smart campaign advertisers with a Google My Business profile and will be fully available in the coming weeks. Until the end of September 2020, businesses will not have to pay for any clicks, calls or sales resulting from Promoted pins.

    Free - Remote Working & Collaboration Tools with G Suite Essentials:

    Remote working and working from home is the new reality, and video conferencing services are the new life line for business continuity. We know that businesses of all sizes today need this capability, and that’s why we have announced the free availability of Google’s premium video meetings service Meet for everyone. And with G Suite essentials, not only do small businesses get pro video conferencing service, we have also included the professional-grade versions of Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides and made it available for free through 30th September. 

    Unlocking the full value of going digital for Small businesses across India

    We know that small businesses are dealing with multiple challenges, and navigating the digital world can be a daunting experience for many. We are committed to hand hold the small businesses who are embarking on a digital transformation journey and we are in this for the long-run. Under our Digital Unlocked program, we are proud to have supported over 1 million businesses and individuals to gain from our digital skilling program in India. And we will be doubling down on this effort to help businesses across all parts of India to unlock the full value of going digital by not just helping them connect with more customers online and offline, but also master the skills needed to recover and emerge stronger to succeed in this new digital first world.

    Posted by Shalini Girish, Director, India, Google Customer Solutions & Sajith Sivanandan, Business Head - Google Pay and NBU initiatives, India