STAR CJ Alive is one of the largest home shopping networks, with viewership over 65 million. The shopping network offers unmatched, ultra-convenient shopping experience making stylish and intelligent products available at the consumer’s doorstep even as it entertains and informs with its unique television programming. The company has recently forayed in to m-commerce venture and is optimistic about the network’s growth through this new channel. In an exclusive conversation, Kenny Shin, CEO, STAR CJ highlights more on the future of tele-retailing.
How do you see the market for TV retailing in an environment where e-commerce is said to be the next big thing?
The market of TV retailing in India is colossal. There are words doing the rounds that major global players have plans to penetrate into the Indian market but so far it has not happened. Right now, based on sources, the market size of TV home shopping is around Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 2,500 crore in India, and STAR CJ holds around 35–40 per cent of this market. We have received promising response in India. We started our internet business in 2011 while mobile commerce business happened in 2014, and we already have 6 million customers in our kitty.
Presently, how many products and categories are you retailing through your shopping channel?
We have more than 20 categories and sub-categories, and thousands of products operating at our TV and internet platform.
What was the rationale behind launching an m-commerce site?
We have been into e-commerce since 2011. We turned to m-commerce to tap the growing number of mobile internet users in India. Another reason for choosing m-commerce was the phenomenal response we received for our mobile Direct Message (DM) service, which was launched as a pre-requisite to this m-commerce website in June, 2014.
Will consumers have access to all the live categories of STAR CJ on your m-commerce site?
Yes, all the products which are available on television shopping are listed on our m-commerce portal as well. In fact, we have live streaming option on m-commerce through which people can see our channel live.
How much revenue are you expecting from the m-commerce medium?
Since we have just stepped into m-commerce, we are expecting about 10 per cent of our overall business coming in from this channel. However, this number is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years.
E-commerce vs. M-commerce – which medium do you see as the future of retailing in India?
Both the mediums are developing rapidly in India. According to sources, mobile internet users are estimated to be 120 million, while users surfing the net on their computers are estimated at 100 million. These numbers are not going to diminish; they will just move northwards. So m-commerce is expected to move ahead of e-commerce.
Please share the accumulated turnover (last quarter or financial year) and projected figure for upcoming FY14–15.
Since this is not a listed company, sharing exact figures is not possible. However, on a larger note we can say that home shopping is a market worth Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 2,500 crore, where STAR CJ has 35–40 per cent of stake; and this market is growing at a year-on-year (YoY) rate of 40–45 per cent.
Tell us about your growth plans.
STAR CJ has received stupendous response in India since its inception. We have started our m-commerce business, and are in the process of launching our mobile app, so mobile commerce will soon start contributing in an enormous way. Our average delivery time is around 3–4 days in the west of India but in eastern India, in cities like Assam, it is 7–8 days. So we would like to bridge the gap by trying to deliver at a faster pace in the eastern part of the country as well. Currently, we are concentrating on expanding our southern market. We have a warehouse in Bengaluru from where we deliver our products in neighbouring states but I believe that is not good enough, so we are figuring out a strategy for the same.
What are the ongoing trends in teleshopping category?
The trend is digital (desktop/laptop) and mobile in terms of growth percentage. However, TV is here to stay and is a medium that will grow steadily. We have seen categories like cosmetics, household items, interior with exceptional growth rate on TV home shopping. This indicates that people are shopping for not only their apparels and accessories but also for interior and household items.
Please comment on the viewership of STAR CJ.
Currently, STAR CJ Alive 24×7 Home Shopping channel is available to more than 65 million households pan India.