How is Tata going phy-digital with CLiQ?

our biggest differentiator in eCommerce space is the concept of phygital (seamless integration of physical and digital), says Ashutosh Pandey of
Ashutosh Pandey, Chief Executive Officer,

Betting big on omni-channel retail, industry mogul Tata has stepped into online domain with launch of Tata CLiQ. This latest venture is not just an eCommerce portal; but a multi-brand phy-gital marketplace integrating best of in-store experience and online aspect of eCommerce, says Ashutosh Pandey, Chief Executive Officer, during a candid chat with Retailer media.

Talk to us about Tata CLiQ and its exclusivity?

Tata CLiQ is not just an eCommerce portal; we are a multi-brand phygital marketplace. We are exclusively pioneering this space in India, where our biggest differentiator is the concept of phygital (seamless integration of physical and digital). We have integrated the physical aspect of in-store shopping and the online aspect of eCommerce seamlessly. For example, you can order a product online and collect it at a partner brand store near you. If you want to return an item, you can simply walk into a store and process the return.

Another aspect we are focusing on, is in delivering the authentic brand-experience to our consumers. We are a curated marketplace which means, that we only retail products either directly from brands or authorized sellers.  All our focus brands have dedicated store fronts on our website and app, keeping the authentic brand experience intact. At Tata CLiQ, one is rest assured about authenticity of products, as we sell only C.A.M.E.L.s, that is, Certified Authentic Merchandise Everybody Loves.

From a brands on board exclusivity point of view, we already have many international brands exclusive with us and Westside as first time online exclusively with us. We are also focusing on launching exclusive products online with us. We have partnered with the Genesis group to bring a range of luxury brands exclusively online in India. Moving forward exclusive brands and products will be a key focus area in terms of our unique brand offering to the customers.

What technology backings you have made to make it at par with other eCommerce portals?

While Tata Consultancy Services has built the backbone of the platform, customized SAP Hybris stack gives us real-time visibility of customer, order and stock. The platform is one of a kind as it helps link to POS of stores in real time and match inventory to enable a seamless PHYGITAL integration which has never been done before in India. We have a robust technological base and are confident of being able to capitalise on the knowledge and information to better our offering as we evolve.

Do you think future of eRetail is customised eCommerce options?

We believe that the eCommerce we are experiencing now is just eRetail 1.0. As we go along, eRetail 2.0 is going to bring revolutionary change to the way we are doing eCommerce. The two identities of a consumer – one who shops online and one who buys at physical stores will merge. Going forward, we aim at leading this changing landscape of eCommerce through our PHYGITAL (physical and digital integration) offering.

How successful has been the dark store concept in India? Why it will work for you?

Dark store concept is still in its nascent stages in India, and is a warehousing concept. The space we operate in is exactly the opposite where we have tied up directly with brands and are a multi-branded, phygital marketplace.

How have you detailed your customer-base?     

Tata CLiQ is for consumers who tired of sifting through endless listing of products of unknown brands, doubtful about their quality and authenticity and are seeking a curated, genuine brand forward shopping experience. 

To this brand focused, quality seeking audience we aim to deliver a brand forward phygital marketplace with the promise of real good brands at feel good prices and the assurance of #SureThing. Initially, we are targeting an urban base of 35 million active e-shoppers who are currently unsatisfied with the shopping experience available online.

How does Tata CLiq sync with the new age millennial?

The new age millennials are brand-conscious, fun-loving and digitally dexterous folks who love a taste of something quirky, innovative and clutter-breaking. Tata CLiQ is exactly that. Our marketing campaign is digital first, and our unlikely protagonist which is a Camel, is already making waves on YouTube and Social media.

Our campaign is a delightful, witty, quirky take on online shopping, focusing on our USP of being the #SureThing in shopping, and it has already started resonating among the digital natives we have targeted. Our modernistic, brand forward website and app design is also resonating with the new age millennial who is now referencing global designs and expects the same sensibilities to be bought into their shopping interfaces.

Why have you limited your focus to electronics and fashion?

We have started out with the categories of Electronics, Fashion and Footwear. We will be adding further brands, partner stores and categories as we go along. We haven’t limited our focus to particular categories.

With lack of new rounds of funding in eCommerce, how do you see the future of the ecosystem?

With 1 in 6 Indians being online but only 35 million actively shopping, we believe it will be a long and interesting journey for this sector to grow to its full potential. We believe this is just e-retail 1.0 that we are witnessing, and the next wave of eCommerce will be e-retail 2.0 which we aim to lead.

How have you differentiated your logistics and fulfillment mechanism?

Currently, we are operational in 6856 Pin codes, 23 States and 2 Union territories across 689 cities and towns. We have kicked off phygital services across 500 stores with instant return or exchange at the brands’ stores being the primary benefit and 100+ stores that will offer a full suite of services across the purchase process like order pick up from store, instant returns and exchange, after-purchase support and installations etc. We hope to scale this up to 2000 stores offering not just same brand phygital services but also cross formats across multiple brands in the future.

We are building capabilities in delivering the online + in-store seamless shopping journey and will partner or invest in different logistics and service providers that could help us fill need gaps and bring additional competencies in this space.

Ashutosh Pandey