CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Ruby Jain, Vyaparify
- What was the idea behind starting Vyaparify? State the problem that it aims to solve?
Lets start with India’s ambition to become a $5 trillion economy. One of the key focus segments for fulfilling this ambition is the MSME segment which currently contributes to approx 30% of the GDP, over 45% of the exports and provides for over 11 cr jobs in the country.
Growing this segment 50% of the GDP is a critical action plan in this journey . The good part is that this segment gets enough attention not just by the government but also by financial institutions and fintechs – all solving for the various needs spanning across digitization, e-commerce & payments , lending, process optimization and fulfillment etc.
In my last decade with HDFC bank I was heading the merchant business and being brought up in a Jain business family – I have seen SMEs both through professional and personal lens. Despite all solutions and attention – there is a notable absence of a vyapari – centric straightforward, comprehensive platform which can help them leverage the potential of the vast digital consumer world that has recently opened – making his business and brand both grow!
“Why should cherished stores from our upbringing—our favorite sweet shops, the local gift stores, our boutique stores be left behind simply because they struggle to navigate the new digital landscape we’ve entered into?”
Across India, many vyaparis have hesitated to embrace the digital realm due to financial constraints, lack of expertise, distrust in digital platforms or confusion about where to start their journey from. This hesitation is so substantial that they are forfeiting the chance to safeguard their legacy in the new normal digital era where over 80% offline sales also starts with an online search.
With over 800 million consumers online in India and only a fraction of the 65 million businesses (less than 15%) having an online presence, the gap and the need is evident. If solved well, this strong digital identity and increased online visibility will not only contribute to overall business expansion but will also foster thriving business collaborations between vyaparis making the vyapari community grow both in partnerships and also in their individual businesses
2. How Vyaparify is empowering the vyaparis of rural India to increase their bandwidth glocally
Most MSMEs typically in the rural area show reluctance to expand beyond their local sphere as there is a fear of online being a daunting space, an unknown that they or their ancestors have never seen. Also, it is true that online commerce involves more than just setting up a website – it requires a comprehensive overhaul of processes—from receiving orders, managing emails and tracking deliveries to handling logistics, inventory and returns; the vyapari to go online needs to learn and do this all.
As we all know, none of these aspects are essential or habitual for a traditional brick-and-mortar store. While the local offline stores have great products and excel in their physical businesses, the online realm demands proficiency in areas such as website management, SEO , technology and different process management – all being an unfamiliar territory for them.
Vyaparify seeks to bridge this disparity by providing a simple, non-technical and democratic platform. It enables vyaparis to establish a strong digital presence swiftly, making it live almost instantly and enhances their online hyper-local visibility through an integrated SEO feature on the platform. This ensures that local stores become discoverable online, enabling customers to engage in conversational commerce, a practice that has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years as the vyaparis have got comfortable in sending products on chats and collecting payments through QR codes.
Vyaparify aims to cultivate an ecosystem of empowered vyaparis capable of showcasing their businesses online, building strong independent brands, and directly interacting with potential customers without intermediaries. Since March, we’ve empowered over 2000+ vyaparis who have featured in over a lac searches and have got unique visitors , appointments, leads and enquiries on their Vyaparify mini-website
3. Tell us about the growth potential of MSMEs in the coming years?
The MSME sector stands as a pivotal force in propelling the Indian economy forward. Its significance is evident in its contribution to the country’s GDP, accounting for nearly one-third of the Gross Value Added (GVA), and playing a role in nearly half of the nation’s exports. Furthermore, this sector serves as a substantial employer ( over a crore jobs added in just the last year), particularly in rural and underdeveloped regions, thereby mitigating regional imbalances.
Consistently, the MSME sector has served as a sturdy foundation for the Indian economy, offering resilience against global economic upheavals and confronting various adversities.
The expansive MSME network in India encompasses approximately 630 lakh units engaged in the manufacturing of over 8000 products, contributing approximately 45% to the manufacturing output and approximately 40% to both direct and indirect exports. This sector is reportedly the second-largest employer in the country, trailing only agriculture.
The well-documented role of micro, small, and medium enterprises in driving India’s economic growth is undeniable.
4. What differentiates Vyaparify from the other platforms that are helping businesses go online?
We have noticed that most companies assisting MSMEs tend to focus on specific areas such as payment systems, inventory management, credit solutions, HR management and more. Although these aspects are undoubtedly crucial, it demands visiting a specialist for every minor issue, much like consulting a neurologist for every headache. In the same way, when offline businesses aim to transition online, they require a bit of everything—a website, localized search optimisation so that they feature in local searches made by potential customers & partners , direct customer interaction capabilities, streamlined payment collection of their choice & convenience, ability to stay engaged with their customers by direct offers & personalised festival e-greetings , lead generation and more. Vyaparify’s first module offers just that – the ‘pehla kadam’ for every offline business to not just go online but also to thrive and maximise the borderless world. We help them take their offline brand even to the new digital world . We provide continuous support to MSMEs at every stage of their online operations, assisting in setup and further promotion across digital platforms. This comprehensive assistance is an aspect that has remained largely unexplored in the realm of MSMEs over the past decades.
Vyaparify stands out from other platforms assisting businesses in going online due to its unique approach and features such as:
- Ready-made , Simple, Democratic : Unlike other platforms that may require extensive technical knowledge or investment, or may need the consumer also to be on their app – Vyaparify offers a zero tech and democratic platform which promotes all digital platforms and can easily be searched on google . With our user-friendly process and ready -made tempaltes, vyaparis create their digital presence within just 15 minutes and go-live instantly.
- Localized Discoverability: Unlike many platforms which only give a digital profile or a website, we don’t stop the journey there and expect vyaparis to drive traffic themselves.Our platform has integrated feature of hyper-local discoverability, assisting MSMEs in reaching their immediate communities effectively. This targeted approach enhances visibility within specific regions, catering to the needs of local businesses.
- Conversational Commerce Focus: Vyaparify leverages conversational commerce, enabling businesses to interact with potential customers in a personalized and engaging manner. This feature helps in customer engagement, potentially leading to increased sales and business growth.Again is democratic and simple, allowing vyapari to interact with customers on a medium of their choice and accept payment through their preferred way
- Build customer loyalty : Vyaparify also doubles up as a digital visiting card plus plus – with its unique ‘save in contact book’ feature . When this ID is saved on any mobile phone, it is saved with the well crafted vyapari profile , the website and other details and hence is searcahble across any of the key words, in the mobile phone of the customer, ensuring repeat orders. Also features like ‘design your own offers’ & ‘personalised e-greetings’ are effective engagement tools – all available in the platform needing no-tech by the vyapari
- Empowerment of MSMEs: Vyaparify aims to empower millions of MSMEs in India by bridging the gap between physical and digital realms. It doesn’t just offer a platform but also encourages and assists Vyaparis in utilizing the internet’s vast potential for business growth.
In essence, Vyaparify’s holistic and user-friendly approach, combined with its emphasis on conversational commerce and hyper-local discoverability, sets it apart from other platforms. It aims not only to bring businesses online but also to optimize their digital presence and enable them to thrive in the competitive online market.
5. Name some challenges you face in this process
In todays world, being digital or online isn’t merely a luxury but a necessity. The new form of ‘word of mouth’ is predominantly Google now, yet many Vyaparis hesitate to utilize the online sphere due to tech-related fears like ‘I’m not proficient with computers’ or ‘I don’t want to employ staff to manage something I don’t understand’. This fear sometimes also manifests in denail ‘ I am on instagram so I am already online’, ‘ I am an amazon seller – so what if the customer doesn’t know my name – they can find me in amazon’ , not realising how they are getting relegated to the background and marketplaces are taking front seat in customers mind.
The terms ‘digital’ and ‘online’ remain misunderstood and the potential power of this new era hasn’t been clarified to these businesses. They are willing to gamble their established ‘legacy’ under the mistaken belief that their customers will always find them by walking into their physical stores. Educating and raising awareness, aligning our offerings more closely with their current state, constitutes one of the primary pillars of execution at Vyaparify.
6. Talk us through your future plans for Vyaparify
Our strategy involves broadening our user reach in Bharat – focusing in tier 2 & 3 cities. Presently, we have launched our initial module and are gearing up to introduce our Socify service in our next phase. Socify utilizes Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to help vyaparis in curating their social media content as that is a critical step for creating consumer trust and building customer engagement in this new digital world.
Along-with closely monitoring the increased business opportunities generated for Vyaparis through the customer leads we provide, our upcoming focus involves integrating payments, logistics and customer loyalty functions onto our platform. We are maintaining a rapid pace of progress by introducing new modules and forging partnerships. Vyaparify is poised to propel local businesses of Bharat to not only reach the metros but also the world !