Interview with Prathyusha Agarwal

Prathyusha Agarwal
Prathyusha Agarwal
Head- Marketing
Tata Cliq
Tata Cliq

Phygital format key to enhancing consumer experience
Tata CLiQ is Tata Group's multi-brand e-commerce platform offering consumers a new shopping experience in apparel, electronics and footwear categories at launch and adding more product categories over the next few months. Prathyusha Agarwal, Head- Marketing, speaks about Tata CLiQ's unique phygital experience and discusses the philosophy behind it.

How would you describe the Indian e-commerce market? At what rate is it growing?

At one end there are conversations about over-valuation of businesses and on the other is robust growth in consumer demand. The latter is good news for businesses operating in this space. A significant number of Indians are experiencing the Internet for the first time in their lives on a smartphone. This directly increases expectations from mobile apps for shopping.

A considerable number of consumers in India are also used to have a look and feel of products they buy. While there are consumers who have not yet migrated to the online space, digitisation is penetrating in India at a very rapid pace, with connectivity in Tier II and III cities improving day-by-day. This year, India overtook the United States of America in terms of active mobile users (220 million active users), and is currently at second place behind China. Mobile penetration is increasing exponentially and India is the leader in terms of switch from e-commerce to m-commerce. About 41 per cent of total e-commerce sales in India are from mobile. Thus, that user-base is large and growing by the minute. We believe the larger opportunities for Tata CLiQ are the next 100 million netizens who are currently not shopping online because of mistrust. The brick and mortar format, if supplemented by the web, has immense potential to grow beyond what is currently projected. Enhancing the customer experience is key and the phygital (seamless integration of physical and digital) format holds the key to this enhancement.

How has been the response to Tata CLiQ since its launch this May?

Our attempt with Tata CLiQ was to create the first of its kind unique phygital offering that combines online commerce with store inventory mapping and logistics management, giving sellers/ brands an interface and complete control to manage their brand. This multiplayer multi-channel model is complex and requires a bespoke technology platform eventually providing the end users a.k.a. the customers, the best of two worlds in one place. 

We have received remarkable amount of love and support from customers. From launch day till date, customers have been looking up to us, which gives us a great deal of joy and satisfaction that we are building something for the future. Within the first week of launch, we received orders from every Indian state and 50 per cent of our customers are from metros and the rest from smaller cities. We have also seen overwhelming response in terms of building traffic to the website. From where we set out during launch till date, we are witnessing a 3X growth. That comes to about 30 per cent week-on-week growth in sales since launch, with a 15 per cent repeat rate amongst customers. 

Customers love the extra convenience provided by Tata CLiQ with phygital benefits, where we have seen outstanding orders between the apparel and electronics categories alone. The exchange and return to stores benefits are becoming more convenient and time efficient for the consumers and hence increasing their preferences for shopping with us.

What advantages and challenges do home-grown start-up e-commerce platforms have in comparison to Tata CLiQ?

Home grown start-ups have a lot of challenges to cater to the potential online shoppers. The major challenge is to perfect supply chain, logistics/ last mile delivery plus offer authentic and genuine products given they are a marketplace wherein product quality cannot be directly controlled by them. 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. This is our biggest advantage over other players.

How did you come up with quirky idea of Certified Authentic Merchandise Everybody Loves (C.A.M.E.L.)?

As is evident from our digital campaign, Tata CLiQ wants to be a brand that engages and converses with consumers rather than one that broadcasts or communicates at the consumer. We took on board Cartwheel, a unique creative agency with interests in entertainment and advertising, who think beyond the 30 seconds commercial to truly bring alive the brand in its various forms to the consumers. They delivered a unique creative idea of C.A.M.E.L. that's Certified Authentic Merchandise Everybody Loves. The idea germinated from the USP of Tata CLiQ #Surething, in the sense that whatever you buy at Tata CLiQ is a Camel, as it symbolises and assures our consumers of authentic and exclusive goods and trustworthy service. We promise to deliver authentic and trustworthy products at honest price. The camel campaign was one that naturally belonged to the digital space and we have leveraged it quite well, it also went out in physical stores. 
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

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