From niche play to 'Phygital': In crowded etail, Tatas have a plan to CLiQ

Amazon and Flipkart can become the Walmarts of Indian e-commerce, we want to be seen as the John Lewis, says CLiQ chief executive

FP Staff May 31, 2016 12:44:35 IST
From niche play to 'Phygital': In crowded etail, Tatas have a plan to CLiQ

The Tata group could not have launched its e-commerce venture CLiQ at more difficult time. For one, the sector is under severe scrutiny of the investors for high cash burns. Secondly, competition is only getting fierce with more players with deep pockets entering the fray.

From niche play to Phygital In crowded etail Tatas have a plan to CLiQ

A screen grab of Tata CLiQ site

However, the group is unfazed and has drawn up a strategy to make a mark in the crowded sector. The crux of the company's strategy is revealed in a statement of Ashutosh Pandey, CLiQ's chief executive, in an interview to The Times of India.

"While Amazon and Flipkart can become the Walmarts of Indian e-commerce selling everything under the sun, we want to be seen as the John Lewis of the space," he has told the newspaper. Established in 1864 in the busy Oxford Street in the City of Westminster, London, John Lewis is an upmarket super market chain in the UK.

In other words, the aim is to be a niche player, selling only "aspirational" products.

The reason clearly is the lesson learnt from the high expenditure of the existing players which are yet to make a profit. According to Pandey, there is an overlapping of customers.

Secondly, the company is strategy of the company is its 'Phygital' format - a combination of physical and digital where it aims to integrate, apart from its hyper-local omni strategy.

For example, if a customer chooses, she can place the order of a particular product online on CLiQ but pick up the delivery from a nearby brick and mortar store.

A marketplace is being created which would allow buyers to 'ship-to-stores, collect-from-stores and return-to-stores', according to a report in The Economic Times.

This strategy is making the company more technology-intensive. In order to connect offline stores to their online site and give a seamless experience to customers, perfect coordination between the front end and the back-end divisions of the store is a must. For this CliQ has roped in TCS, and has paid Rs 36.48 crore before launching the website, the ET report.

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