As Croma launches its online store (cromaretail.com), Ajit Joshi, MD, Infiniti Retail, speaks to tata.com about the company’s efforts to make online shopping an unparalleled experience for its customers
What were the factors that influenced Croma to enter the e-commerce segment?
Having presented India with the opportunity to shop for quality consumer electronics and durables through the country’s first large format specialist retail chain, we believe it is a natural step for us to build on our success and deliver a robust online experience to consumers across the country. Also with increasing internet penetration, more and more users are going online to shop or do their research on products before making purchases, and we felt it was the right time for Croma to take the digital leap. Our presence in the e-commerce environment brings with it the credibility and superior service of any Croma store.
Tell us about the infrastructure that has been developed — both online and on ground — for ensuring a robust, glitch-free system critical for the smooth functioning of your virtual store.
Our strength is our strong distribution network with seamless online and offline integration. We also offer free shipping for all our products. Octroi charges, wherever applicable, will be borne and paid by the company. We are leveraging the existing warehousing capabilities. As the business grows we will explore other fulfilment models.
To ensure robust, glitch-free online functioning, cromaretail.com is VeriSign GSID-EV (server-gated cryptography enabled). This high-security certificate will ensure that all transactions done on cromaretail.com get maximum security validation. The customer data that we collect is protected against unauthorised access, both at our offices and hosting facility, thus ruling out the chance of hacking or phishing.
For smooth operations on ground, we have a strong customer service team in place to respond to all queries within 24 hours. The team is efficient, well-trained and knowledgeable, and we intend to maintain our standards of service on the e-commerce portal to make shopping an enjoyable experience for our customers.
Will you be offering all the products that are available at the brick-and-mortar stores to customers online?
Yes, all products available in our stores will be available on cromaretail.com. In addition, we will also be offering products exclusively on the portal.
How many cities and towns in India will be covered in the first phase of your foray into e-commerce? By when do you hope to cover the entire country?
We are reaching out to 6,000 pin codes, 319 cities, 24 states and two union territories from day one. We will continually expand our reach and hope to reach double the current pin codes in six months’ time.
Does your foray into e-commerce signify that online shopping for electronic products, appliances and consumer goods has come of age in India?
This is an exciting and important phase for us as higher internet penetration in India is driving rapid growth in retail. e-Commerce today is absolutely essential for retailers as online sales are catching up in a big way. A retailer can build a sustainable business model by striking a balance between both formats.
On the consumption front, the Indian consumer is becoming more discerning, one who chooses products and services that offer value while allowing him/her to explore a world-class online shopping experience.
How do you view competition in this segment, especially with other electronic products retailers also planning to offer e-tailing services? What about the emergence of home-grown e-tailers such as Flipkart.com, and the possible entry of Amazon.com?
Ours is an online retail model that is different from deal sites and we always partner with brands which are focused on providing customers with the best products and services.
Our aim is to provide an unparalleled, user-friendly buying experience for our discerning customers. The website is rich with comprehensive buying guides, expert reviews and an enhanced product experience. We have paid extra attention to details to ensure our customers get a hassle-free experience which prompts them to choose cromaretail.com each time they want to purchase electronic goods.
We have also partnered with premium brands such as Apple and Bose, for exclusive availability and will often provide attractive and exciting deals for our customers.