October 2016

'We are here to stay and play the longer game'

Tata CLiQ has witnessed multi-fold growth since its launch in May this year and is scaling up to strengthen its footprint in the Indian e-commerce space. The portal is set to triple its sales revenue this festival season with unique shopping experiences that offer consumers a range of exciting deals, flash sales, best price offers and bumper prizes. Ashutosh Pandey, CEO, Tata CLiQ, speaks to tata.com about the e-commerce platform’s festival offerings, its unique phygital services and USP in a crowded marketplace.

What is in store for Tata CLiQ customers during this festive season? How will you break through the clutter when almost every online retailer has an attractive sale going on?
Tata CLiQ, Tata group’s multi-brand phygital ecommerce platform is running its month-long ‘CLiQ-citing Festober’ celebration with offers, deals and giveaways as part of the festivities all through the month of October. The consumer is at the heart of the festivities, and Tata CLiQ has decided to earmark 50 percent of its marketing budget for the unique Festober celebrations and has planned to offer a range of exciting deals, new launches, flash sales, best price offers and bumper prizes. We also had Festober Fly where several Vistara return air tickets were given out to the lucky consumers who shopped with us from October 1–6, 2016.

Derived from the words ‘festivities’ and ‘October’, Tata CLiQ ideated the ‘Festober’ month which features Festober Flash, Festober Fireworks, Festober Feast and Festober CLiQbusters that include hourly flash sales featuring the best prices across the apparel and electronics categories. Extending the phygital proposition further, Tata CLiQ is also running offers with its phygital partners Croma, Westside and Bestseller to provide exciting and exclusive deals for consumers. What will also set us apart is our partnerships with stores, whose inventories ensure timely delivery and authenticity of product. There is always an option for customers to drop by at our phygital partner stores and pick up the products if they do not want wait for home delivery. Hence our fulfilments will be much better than any of our competitors.

The proliferation of e-commerce platforms has created wide choice for customers. What is Tata CLiQ’s USP in such a scenario and how does it plan to ‘offer consumers a new shopping experience’?
We are looking at the three pillars for differentiating Tata CLiQ from other players. We are for brand forward consumers who are looking for a unique brand experience backed by the authenticity and quality of the brand. We clearly differentiate ourselves by offering our consumers a curated brand experience. It’s not a product catalogue but brands, brand merchandise and the brand proposition that brings the brand story and authenticity of brands to consumers.

Consumers are moving from physical to digital across all walks of life. A consumer now likes to shop across website, app and in store as per his convenience. Tata CLiQ delivers a phygital offering, ie, seamless integration of online and offline stores to provide consumers a unique shopping experience.

In e-space, consumers don’t have that human touch and feel that they get by walking into a store. Tata CLiQ aims to be a true brand partner where we will try and dis-intermediate and get the e-commerce consumer to the physical brand and get the physical retail brands to the e-consumer. This translates itself into how we create the brand store fronts, integration with sellers and control on promotion and pricing.

How did you arrive at the positioning for Tata CLiQ as an omni-channel marketplace with curated products that deliver value to customers?
Tata CLiQ team envisioned a differentiated offering which delivered innovation and customer value. What stood out very strongly was e-commerce and after studying various e-commerce and retail models in India and across different international markets and analysing consumer pain points in the shopping journey, we came up with a unique solution of phygital which marries the best of physical (store) shopping benefits and digital (online) shopping convenience. This was supported by a bespoke technology platform that we believe can usher in the next phase in the e-commerce story. We are in this business to play the long game, and if you manage to delight your customer, it does not matter when you enter the market. We don’t feel we are early or late entrants. What consumers have experienced so far is just e-retail 1.0, and the next wave of e-commerce will be e-retail 2.0, which we aim to lead. This is where a consumer’s physical and digital world seamlessly amalgamates into one, giving them a unique shopping experience.

What are the need gaps across in-store and online shopping that are addressed by Tata CLiQ with its unique phygital services?
The consumers today are tired of sifting through endless listing of products of unknown brands, doubtful about their quality and authenticity, on numerous e-commerce sites and are seeking a curated, genuine brand forward shopping experience. Therefore, Tata CLiQ is here for the brand-focused, quality-seeking audience so that we can deliver a brand forward phygital marketplace with the promise of real good brands at feel good prices and the assurance of #SureThing.

There is an urban base of 35 million active e-shoppers who are currently unsatisfied with the shopping experience available online and also with the fast-growing trend of robo-researching online and buying offline and vice versa. Hence, there is a larger opportunity for Tata CLiQ to look at the next 100 million netizens who are currently not shopping online — mistrust being the biggest barrier. Our objective is to bridge this gap with Certified Authentic Merchandise Everybody Loves paired with the assurance of phygital, thus combining the best of digital and physical (in-store services) in an evolving online world.

Microsoft recently launched its online store on Tata CLiQ. Are there plans for other similar partnerships?
After Microsoft, we have launched several other brands online. We launched Tata CLiQ with 400 plus brands, and in the span of 135 days we now have 1,200 plus authentic brands to offer our consumers who seek a brand forward experience. We are aiming to scale up to 3,000 plus brands through the addition of further categories such as accessories, watches and jewellery along with the luxury brands through our alliance with Genesis Luxury Fashion by December 2016.

How is the store going to ensure that Tata CLiQ’s promise of ‘real good brands at feel good prices’ is always met?
We are a hand-picked curated market place and here to seamlessly integrate the offline and the online spaces and provide ease to our consumers. Since we are a brand forward e-commerce player, we directly partner with brands and their proposition is directly shared with our consumers; hence, we do not see this as an issue for us.

What is the sales revenue you are targeting this festive season?
The response to our offerings since our launch has been overwhelming. Our customers are receptive to our unique model and understand that we are here to stay and play the longer game. Within the first week of launch, we received orders from every Indian state. Fifty percent of our customers are from metros and the rest from smaller cities. In terms of traffic to the website, we are witnessing a 3X growth since launch date with a 15 percent repeat rate amongst customers. This Festober we are looking at tripling our sales revenue.