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Croma
Business

Croma 2.0

Croma is redefining the next frontier of retailing with its Store of the Future

November 2020     |     1484 words     |     6-minute read

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Customers are not just buying products anymore; they are seeking experiences, connections and inspiration — and digital is increasingly playing a critical role in the journey.

Customers now are spending more time online than ever before. In the consumer electronics and durables category, window shopping has moved online — the first exploration for any new purchase is typically online. And, a significant part of convenience purchases in this category like accessories, consumables and downstream products have also moved online. With evolving customer expectations, growing digital influence and unprecedented events, the retail industry is seeing a tectonic shift towards an accelerated path of innovation.

“We are no longer happy waiting for the customer in the store. We want to be part of the conversation online, and we see a competitive advantage available if we make our expertise in the category evident to customers online. Also, we want to provide a strong online shopping experience, to our existing store customers to tap into the convenience products market,” says Ritesh Ghosal, chief, Marketing & Insights, Croma.

With a vision to be India’s leading Electronics Retailer, Croma has embarked on a journey to lead the change and drive a new experience for its customers. Such transformations require an organisation to build new capabilities at an accelerated pace — launching new services, creating experiential stores, building the universal commerce foundation, building flexible supply chain models with newer last-mile fulfilment options. Croma is doing just that, defining the customer engagement arc by digitally reimagining every aspect of business process and customer touchpoint.

Store@Home: Experience digital product discovery and guided shopping

“Our focus on delivering a rich and engaging customer experience all through the engagement lifecycle from discovery to disposal has required us to reimagine customer journeys across all touchpoints, build back-end digital capabilities and solutions to power them, and drive change management across the organisation to be digital ready,” says Naresh Gavara, general manager, Business Transformation, Croma.

Designing the next frontier of retail experience

The Store of the Future roadmap — developed in partnership with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) — required a thorough understanding of customers’ aspirations, needs and wants while pushing the boundaries to create a superlative customer journey from inspiration to purchase and post-purchase engagement.

Consumer electronics continues to remain a category which is deeply-researched with the highest levels of engagement — where the relationship between the retailer and the customer extends way beyond a transaction into installation and demo, repairs, warranty, and other services and upgrades.

Croma understands the need to be the partner for the customer in their entire journey, as a guide to help make their lives ‘Brighter Every Day’. The transformation is designed to maximise Croma’s biggest assets — expertise in electronics (store associates and category teams), large pan-India store network and a loyal customer base.

Croma’s Store of the Future aspiration is built on five key tenets:

  • Purpose-centric – Helping customers meet their holistic needs and wants by building a long-term relationship with the brand
  • Expertise and guidance – Leveraging Croma’s strong expertise and experience to offer expert advice and guidance beyond shopping needs
  • Experiential – Allowing customers to experience the rich product assortment while making it exciting and engaging at every touchpoint in the customer journey
  • Fast and convenient – Orchestrating a frictionless journey across channels by offering products and services to customers on-demand — what they want and when they want, with expedited deliveries
  • Personalised – Building a deep understanding of their customers’ context and needs, to curate the customer journey meaningfully And rightly so, Croma stores are on the cusp of this disruption by redefining the retail experience to meet customers’ demands of experience, guidance and serendipitous discovery while serving as micro-fulfilment centres.

Laying the foundation for an omnichannel experience

At the heart of Croma’s transformation journey is the vision to offer a world-class omnichannel experience. To manage the exponential customer touchpoints and increased order volumes, the foundational business processes, organisation models and associated systems and infrastructure must be robust and scalable.

The omnichannel transformation offers customers convenient journeys such as online order deliveries within three hours, browse and buy products not-in-store via interactive Endless Aisle, check out anywhere in the store using mobile checkout. The solution also enables customers to buy across various channels with universal features like Follow-me Cart, My Wish List and My Account.

Starting its transformational journey last year, the retailer is creating fresh designs with reimagined journeys for its digital channels to provide the deeply engaging ‘Croma experience’. The solution includes a new global design; reimagined journeys for quick browsing, shortlisting, bundling, selection and checkout. The integrated enterprise offers customers greater visibility of the store for stock availability, pricing, schedule store-visit, store-pickup, post-sales services amongst others. It is designed to leverage the digital disruption to make the engagement as exciting as ever with voice, vision and video driving the next frontier of customer experiences.

Improving business resilience through a robust supply chain network, refining visibility and tracking of inventory and orders across channels have been the key themes to strengthen the backbone.

Transforming services

Store@Home: Innovating product discovery and guided shopping

In the consumer electronics category, product discovery and research are the key factors in decision making. Croma is innovating in digital product discovery through the Intelligent Buying Guide, enriched catalogues, intuitive search, contextual product bundle recommendations and various digital self-help tools for shopping, seeking on-call assistance with store colleagues, and even initiating hassle-free payment.

A big part of the product discovery process in electronics is expert assistance in store. The Store@Home feature connects customers to store experts via a video call instantly (or scheduled) to experience a physical store and its products from home and seek expert advice from store colleagues. The journey orchestration is unique in ways that it intelligently maps the experts based on customer’s needs and allows for continuation of the expert advice through the journey which may span a period of time. It allows for building the cart together as well as sharing the experience with friends and family; thus, replicating the in-store browsing experience.

Coupled with personalisation and recommendation, customers are aided throughout the engagement with relevant product recommendations, best-fit offers and contextual communication across all digital channels.

Cognitive workforce

In the consumer electronics category, product discovery and research are the key factors in decision making. Croma is innovating in digital product discovery through the Intelligent Buying Guide, enriched catalogues, intuitive search, contextual product bundle recommendations and various digital self-help tools for shopping, seeking on-call assistance with store colleagues, and even initiating hassle-free payment.

A big part of the product discovery process in electronics is expert assistance in store. The Store@Home feature connects customers to store experts via a video call instantly (or scheduled) to experience a physical store and its products from home and seek expert advice from store colleagues. The journey orchestration is unique in ways that it intelligently maps the experts based on customer’s needs and allows for continuation of the expert advice through the journey which may span a period of time. It allows for building the cart together as well as sharing the experience with friends and family; thus, replicating the in-store browsing experience.

Coupled with personalisation and recommendation, customers are aided throughout the engagement with relevant product recommendations, best-fit offers and contextual communication across all digital channels.

“Going forward, Croma is geared up to build digital capabilities to sharpen understanding of customer and business performance, including managing people, while emphasising on security and privacy,” says Mr Gavara.

Pioneering service transformation

Croma aspires to be the one partner for all its customers’ electronics needs — be it the inspiration, serendipitous product discovery, product education, or product services and upgrades. Croma’s promise of a ‘Brighter Every Day’ doesn’t end with the customer purchasing a product. Croma is simplifying the entire service journey from raising a new request to tracking the status and, finally, to making the payment online.

Croma offers a multitude of service plans such as protection plans, memberships, on-demand service, tech support, e-waste disposal, and at-home consultation — all tailored to the customer needs and showcased digitally in relevant journeys. Going a step further, Croma helps customers manage information of all home devices at a central place for ready reference and provides useful reminders/notifications (eg, invoice details, warranty plan and additional protection plans linked to the product and device serial number).

“Croma is also building a large service centre network to gain greater control on service delivery and offer superior service levels and experience to customers. Multiple back-end platforms are being developed to build a strong collaboration with brands, service centres and on-field technicians for better visibility and faster delivery of services,” says Mr Gavara.

Way forward with experiential stores

Croma is redesigning its stores to elevate the sensory experience across product discovery and interaction. Store designs that aid in customers’ journeys by presenting interactive product discoveries, new service portfolios coupled with digital tools for omnichannel experience, and self-healing capabilities will define the next frontier of purchasing experience.

—Sanghamitra Bhowmik


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