As of June 2015, India’s exports have been struggling for the sixth month in a row. As of May 2015, exports had fallen by a massive 20.2% as compared to that of the previous year. Yet, the coincidental trend in decreasing imports is leading to a lower trade deficit. Imports decreased 16.5% as compared to the previous year. This decrease in the trade deficit continues to conceal the growing weakness in export quantities.
There are various factors leading to a decrease in global exports. While factors such as a slump in the global demand for goods and the slowing down of China’s economic growth are leading to a decrease in exports, there are also a large number of internal factors that are causing India to struggle with its exports. Indian manufacturers, suppliers and exporters often struggle to beat competition due to logistical delays, high cost of on ground delivery, power cuts and infrastructural challenges.
As of June 2015, The micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME’s) were accountable for 40% of India’s exports. These companies are struggling to keep up with competition from foreign countries in international markets due the various internal challenges mentioned above. High interest rates aligned with a harsh decline in credit offerings aligned with the infrastructural, logistical and power cut challenges limit MSME’s by firstly, increasing the cost of their production and delivery and secondly, by minimizing their chances at expansion and often, even survival.
The challenges to Indian exporters are not expected to be overcome anytime soon. However, there are various factors one can influence for their own micro,small or medium enterprise which can help your business survive and flourish, even under harsh economic conditions.
- INVEST IN INFRASTRUCTURE: While infrastructural investments on the latest machines, equipments and alternative sources of energy to run operations during power cuts can be extremely expensive in the short-run, the benefits will outrun the costs in the long run. By investing in the latest equipment, you are bound to produce a larger quantity of goods within a shorter period of time and eventually, you will benefit through economies of scale. You will also be able to compete with exporters from other nations by offering cheaper but higher quality products. By investing in alternative energy sources to handle operations during power cuts, you will save hours of your precious manufacturing time, and labor utilization will be maximized.
- BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH LOGISTIC PARTNERS: The cost of transportation and delivery can add a significant overhead to the cost of purchasing for the buyer. This may make your product more expensive as compared to those of your competitors. Do your research and choose the right service. Various shipping,transportation and air-freight companies offer business partnership deals with comparatively cheaper prices for businesses as compared to those of individuals. If you are a macro or small sized company and do not wish to purchase a business package, you can choose to deliver your goods via local service providers who work independently. Their time for shipment delivery will take longer than that of larger and well established companies, but you can factor that in while negotiating with the client. The costs of delivery will be way cheaper and you will thank yourself for it later!
- OFFER TO SETTLE BILLS WITH INTERNATIONAL BUYERS IN THEIR LOCAL CURRENCIES: Most foreign buyers often worry about foreign exchange exposure and conversion costs. By offering them an option to pay in their local currency, you allow them more flexibility and one less concern to consider while making a purchase from you.
- ESTABLISH A RELIABLE ONLINE PRESENCE: Foreign buyers can not connect with you face-to-face, and thus, there is always a factor of mistrust and possibility of fraud hanging in the background of all international buyers. Make the purchasing decision easier for your buyer by setting up a website, blog or any other online presence which can be used as a platform to tell your story, showcase your products in detail, highlight customer reviews, introduce the employee’s, etc. By doing so, you are helping bridge the gap in communicating and connecting with your buyer.
- OFFER DISCOUNTS AND GUARANTEED REFUNDS: Give the buyer the maximum number of reasons to trust you. If you offer loyalty discounts, and refund options in the case of product defects, late delivery (within reasonable bounds), shipment errors etc, the buyer is more likely to feel safe in entering a transaction with you.
Eventually, even thought the overall market is struggling, doesn’t mean you have to as well! With a little more research and hard work, you can still beat your competitors and convert potential international customers into real buyers before your competitors do!