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Small traders expect easier finance post MSME tag

Small traders expect easier finance and more growth going ahead post the  government's move to classify retail and wholesale trade under the MSME  category, as per a survey report. 

The American Express survey also showed small merchants are embracing new digital  payment methods and innovative strategies to survive during the pandemic and as economy  recovers. 

More than half the small merchants surveyed by American Express for its 2021 report feel that the  government's new MSME guidelines will yield better financial opportunities and open doors to better  schemes. 

"A substantial majority of the merchants surveyed across the country believe that the government's  move to include retail and wholesale businesses in the MSME sector will enable them to engage  with the formal financial sector leading to an industry-wide overhaul with better business  prospects," said an American Express statement. 

As merchants look forward to more sectoral legitimacy by getting the MSME classification, they are  also confident of their economic resilience in the wake of a potential third wave of the pandemic, it  said. 

Further, over 50 per cent of the merchants have accelerated the use of digital payment and 46 per  cent have adopted safety measures and maintain cleanliness inside the stores. 

Nearly half of the merchants surveyed highlighted that they have improved their direct  communication with customers using SMS, WhatsApp, and social media. 

Cashless payments, new delivery methods, increased efforts to advertise, and in-store safety  measures and hygiene have become critical for consumer trust and business continuity. By  adopting such measures, the report cites that 64 percent of the small merchants are confident that  their businesses will survive amid speculations of the third wave of Covid-19. 

"The resilience shown by small businesses during these times is admirable. They have constantly  invested in new ways to improve their business model and communication with the customers. This  fact is also recognised by 82 per cent of surveyed customers who stated that local shops and small  businesses established new ways of interacting with them which were not available pre-pandemic,"  American Express Banking Corp India SVP and CEO Manoj Adlakha said.