Not only India, worldwide, the traditional retail has been hit by mammoth growth of e-commerce. Over the years the retailers have set the way about how consumers shop from their retail shops. However, now the there is a tremendous shift from the traditional approach due to transformation brought in by smartphones, arise of social media and inception of new sales channel. Moreover, this digital innovation caused radical shift in consumers’ behavior. And, pure traditional retail started battling with these newly emerged trade channels including ‘e-commerce’. But, few retailers such as ‘Croma’ have won the race with their innovative strategies. Let’s shed light on retailer’s journey the way they streamline with e-commerce.
So, what was the challenge?
Electronics as the industry or market is clearly the most happening retail market. This industry may be quite different; however, the basics of the trade remains the same. Speaking on same Maneesh Mittal, Head - eCommerce and Big Data at Infiniti Retail Limited (Croma) - A Tata Enterprise, said, “We take some time to understand the ground reality of the market, once the online players started to coming in. We like to believe that we have overcome that obstacle, now we manage to turn around our sales and footfall and double digit growth.”
Going further he added, “We did a lot of research on marketplaces model, and we found that people were going online primarily for three reasons including price (though, that alone cannot drive loyalty but does drive transactions), convenience, thirdly the factor of range (physical store regardless the size comes with certain restrictions). These three were huge differentiators with whom we were unable to compete.”
‘Focus’ is the key..
Croma did a lot of research to figure out a strategy to compete with e-retail. Informing on same Mittal said, “We bought the focus sharply to our customers, we started understanding that customer better, we spoke a lot to our customers, we did a lot of research in terms of getting back to the basics.” Through the research the retailer understand, customers might be purchasing online, but they were walking to physical store to gain firsthand experience.
“Our footfall was never decline but the conversions that was subject to question. We relied customer want to touch, feel and try the product, they still want to explore firsthand experience before making the purchase. We relised that the customers were looking for curated assortment, the customer wanted to choose from the products that is better suited to him rather than exploring thousand of products which are similar to each other, that only create more confusion than clarity.”
“ Accordingly, we changed the assortment now we have gone wider from we actually used to be, now we have started our products displaying in different format that allows better clustering of our product which allows customers to better compare the product with similar products. We have started remodeling our stores and made them more experiential theatre. Now, we believe store will stop becoming point of sale and will emerge as point of experience,” he concluded.
Clearly, alike to Croma traditional retailers should consider capitalising on their traditional strengths when competing with online and should bear in mind that going ‘innovative’ is only key to success.