Interview with Prathyusha Agarwal

Face2Face
Prathyusha Agarwal
Prathyusha Agarwal
Head- Marketing
Tata Cliq
Tata Cliq

What is the Tata CLiQ USP?

We are looking at three pillars to differentiate ourselves:
  • We are for brand forward consumers who are looking for a unique brand experience backed by authenticity and quality of the brand. We clearly differentiate ourselves by offering our consumers a curated brand experience. It's not a product catalogue but brands, brand merchandise and the brand proposition that brings the brand story and authenticity of brands to consumers. 
  • Consumers are moving from physical to digital across all walks of life. A consumer now likes to shop across website, app and in store as per his convenience. We at Tata CLiQ deliver a phygital offering i.e. seamless integration of online and offline stores to provide consumer a unique shopping experience. 
  • In e-space, consumers don't have that human touch and feel that they get by walking into a store. We as Tata CLiQ aim to be a true brand partner where we will not try and dis-intermediate and we get the e-commerce consumer to the physical brand and get the physical retail brands to the e-consumer. This translates itself by how we create the brand store fronts, integration with sellers and control on promotion and pricing
As a company, we are only focused on trying to perfect the customer experience. The platform is new and there will always be a few ups and downs. Our effort is only to perfect that. As a team if we deliver the good stuff to customers, they have a nice simple experience online and deliveries are faster, we have managed to do what we had set out to do. 

Any synergies between your physical stores like Collective and that of your standalone brands?

Tata CLiQ does not have any standalone brands or physical stores of its own. We are a handpicked curated market place and here to seamlessly integrate the offline and the online spaces and provide ease to our consumers. Since we are a brand forward e-commerce player, we directly partner with brands and their proposition is directly shared with our consumers.

What is the ethos and consumer behaviour in India when it comes to shopping online?

Google studies show that 51 per cent customers research online and shop offline. 44 per cent customers research online and buy products online. This will not add up to a 100 per cent because the same customer is doing multiple stuff. For example, 32 per cent of the people researching online visit stores, and then come back online whereas only a meagre 17 per cent visit the store first and then purchase online! Thus, consumer behaviour currently shows multiple convoluted ways to purchase. People think showroom is a big business whereas web rooming is probably the larger part of the pie. 

While the current shopping journey is converging across digital and physical channels, another fact that stands out is that India is an aspirational society and thus, we are always shopping for brands. We also believe that consumers have always had an on-going demand to experience international brands from across the globe. They are well-travelled and aware of global fashion trends and have the purchasing power to own several of these brands. The only barrier preventing them from buying these products is unavailability of these brands in India and the mistrust and the lack of authenticity.

Digitisation is penetrating in India at a very rapid pace, with connectivity in tier II and III cities improving day-by-day. Mobile penetration is increasing exponentially and India is the leader in terms of switch from e-commerce to m-commerce. The e-commerce we are experiencing now is just e-retail 1.0. As we go along, e-retail 2.0 is going to bring revolutionary change to the way we are doing e-commerce. The two identities of a consumer - one who shops online and one who buys at physical stores will merge.

How do you plan to get the phygital experience right in a country where consumers in lots of regions are still warming up to e-commerce?

At the Tata group, we have a rich heritage of pioneering initiatives where we have benefitted a lot by being visionary and getting in early in many sectors. Like Google for search and Facebook for social networking, the Tata CLiQ team envisioned a differentiated offering which delivered innovation and customer value. Tata Industries has been pursuing the digital theme for close to 5 years as they predicted a lot of transformation in digital and mobile. What stood out very strongly was e-commerce and after studying various e-commerce and retail models in India and across different international markets, analysing consumer pain points in the shopping journey we came up with a unique solution of phygital which marries the best of physical (store) shopping benefits and digital (online) shopping convenience. This was supported by bespoke technology platform that we believe in can usher in the next phase in the e-commerce story. We are in this business to play the long game and aim to delight our customers. What consumers have experienced so far is just e-retail 1.0, and the next wave of e-commerce will be e-retail 2.0, which we aim to lead. This is where a consumer's physical and digital world seamlessly amalgamates into one, giving them a unique shopping experience. 

Do you plan to open fulfilment centres to run the phygital model?

We are a multi-brand curated marketplace and seamlessly integrate the offline and the online spaces and provide ease to our consumers. Since we are a brand forward e-commerce player we directly partner with brands and their proposition is directly shared with our consumers. Hence, we have no plans of opening up fulfilment centres. Our customers have an option to CLiQ and shop for a product at Tata CLiQ.com and PiQ from the nearest phygital partner.

Published on: 14/10/2016

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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