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A Brand-first, Omnichannel Strategy is Our Key Differentiator: Gopal Asthana, Tata CLiQ

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Sandeep Kumar
Sandeep Kumar
A multimedia journalist with over eleven years of experience in print and digital media, Sandeep Kumar is assistant editor with Images Group. Books, retail, sports and cinema are an inextricable part of his life.

Gopal Asthana, Chief Executive Officer, Tata CLiQ on the brand’s strategies, approach to technology, personalisation, sustainability and more

Fashion & Lifestyle e-commerce platform Tata CLiQ by Tata Group has come a long way since it started in 2016 as a marketplace focusing mainly on electronics. In recent years, the platform has undergone a strategic shift to emerge as a strong player in the fashion and lifestyle segment. It has been continuously pivoting in the direction of its desired positioning through a series of collaborations, launches and more.

Recently, Tata CLiQ partnered with Rediff.com, a news, entertainment and shopping portal, aiming to target a much wider and newer cohort of consumers, further extending its reach. As part of this partnership, the shopping icon on Rediff’s homepage will lead users to a Rediff shopping site powered by Tata CLiQ.

The platform currently offers over 4,000 brands from India and around the world, along with fashionable products in beauty, home decor, and jewellery. The brand has also forayed into the pre-owned category with the launch of its ReLoved Store in January. The new store offers a wide range of vintage, limited-edition pieces that are in high demand from sought-after luxury brands. To begin with, the platform partnered with Jay’s Watch Store to offer a curated selection of rare pre-owned timepieces from brands such as Rolex and Omega.

In an exclusive interaction with IndiaRetailing, Gopal Asthana, CEO, Tata CLiQ talks about emerging trends, the role of technology and innovation at the retail destination. Edited excerpts:

What is your brand’s unique selling proposition?

Tata CLiQ is a multi-category e-commerce platform having three verticals, inform of Tata CLiQ, which is the lifestyle vertical and the oldest one; Tata CLiQ Luxury, which is the luxury vertical; and Tata CLiQ Palette, the newly launched beauty vertical. The key differentiation is our brand-first, omnichannel strategy, through which we are offering consumers a wide range of assortments directly from brands that cater to their evolving needs and desires. Since we are directly connected to brand stores and warehouses, we have the largest number of in-season styles in 25%–30% of the top 100 brands. Because of this, the consumers are assured that they get 100% authentic and genuine products. Apart from this, we also have partners like Westside on board, which are selectively available on Tata CLiQ and Tata Neu.

Can you elaborate on Tata CLiQ Luxury?

Tata CLiQ Luxury offers consumers a curated assortment of luxury and premium products from renowned global and homegrown brands. We are building the platform as a destination for luxury shoppers that not only caters to their wardrobe but also different aspects of their lifestyle, such as gourmet, fitness, audio, coffee table books, home decor, and more. The platform has launched many brands online for the first time. The most recent one is TimeVallée, the luxury multi-brand boutique that launched its first-ever digital boutique in India on our platform.

With the competition in the beauty space intensifying how does your beauty vertical differentiate itself?

Tata CLiQ Palette aims to offer a personalised experience with the help of technology. The USP of the app is the Beauty ID technology that we are building, enabling customers to find their right beauty match. The platform offers a curated assortment of authentic products from over 1000 global and Indian brands across categories like makeup, skincare, fragrances, haircare, bath & body, and men’s grooming, along with interesting and relatable content that educates and engages.

Which emerging trends are you excited about?
One standout trend is the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into e-commerce operations, revolutionising the industry by empowering brands to leverage customer data to offer personalised experiences. AI is employed in analysing consumer behaviour, preferences, and purchase history, allowing for tailored product recommendations that enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty. The rise of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies has introduced a new era of immersive shopping experiences. Customers can do virtual tryons in their own physical spaces before making a purchase, reducing uncertainty and minimising the likelihood of returns. This trend not only fosters deeper customer engagement but also has the potential to reshape the way consumers interact with products in the online realm. Voice commerce stands out as another compelling trend, with virtual assistants playing a pivotal role. As voice-enabled devices become increasingly prevalent, brands need to adapt their platforms to accommodate voice search and facilitate seamless voice-activated shopping experiences.

Apart from the above, conscious consumption is on the rise, and consumers look forward to shopping at brands and platforms that are sustainable in nature.

Is Tata CLiQ doing something on this front?

At Tata CLiQ, we are committed to ethical business practices and have taken significant steps towards prioritising the preservation and rejuvenation of the environment. The platform is registered with the Central Pollution Control Board and has adopted a sustainable approach to packaging across all three platforms. Tata CLiQ Luxury also has an initiative called the Circular Packaging Programme. In addition to ensuring that every aspect of the packaging is sustainable, through this initiative, customers can return their high-quality black boxes and the outer carton after the delivery is done. Once the quality check is performed, these materials are refurbished and used to package and deliver new orders, thus allowing us to recover, reuse, and reduce.

In addition, Tata CLiQ Luxury has also forayed into the pre-owned category with the launch of the ReLoved Store. Given the growing consciousness among consumers about the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions, purchasing pre-owned goods helps extend the lifecycle of products, reducing the overall waste and carbon footprint associated with manufacturing and disposal.

How does Tata CLiQ technology and innovation to enhance the customer experience?

Across our three platforms, we employ several technological interventions to offer a  seamless and unparalleled online shopping experience. Our post-purchase support on CLiQ is enriched with tools such as chat bots and automation techniques, ensuring a reliable experience for order tracking, easy returns, and prompt refunds.

At Tata CLiQ Luxury, the focus is on elevating the online luxury shopping journey by embracing the principles of our ‘Slow Commerce brand philosophy’, as a result of which the emphasis is on finer elements like craftsmanship and heritage while shopping for luxury. We adopt a storytelling approach across various consumer touchpoints that includes meticulous brand curation, thoughtfully designed brand stores, luxury delivery services, and unboxing experiences.

On Tata CLiQ Palette, we leverage our cutting-edge AI-enabled Beauty ID technology that we are building to offer a unique experience to consumers.

How does your brand manage and optimise its supply chain and logistics for efficient operations and timely deliveries?

We strategically collaborate with brands to ensure close customer proximity by positioning inventory strategically. This involves the establishment of strategically located warehouses and distribution centres, coupled with the activation of multiple seller locations. The primary goal is to not only enhance inventory availability but also minimise shipping distances, thereby optimising overall order fulfillment efficiency. We prioritise logistics optimisation, placing a strong emphasis on real-time updates from our logistics partners. This ensures consistent and accurate delivery timelines, fostering transparency and trust with our customers.

The selection of the optimal mode of transport is a critical aspect of our logistics strategy. This involves a meticulous evaluation of factors such as delivery urgency, cost considerations, and the specific characteristics of the transported products. By making informed decisions about transport mode selection, we aim to further streamline delivery timelines while minimising associated costs.

Automation plays a pivotal role in streamlining various order processing stages, encompassing order fulfillment, inventory tracking, and communication with logistics partners. This not only saves valuable time and resources but also enhances overall accuracy throughout the supply chain. By harnessing the power of historical data, we gain valuable insights that enable us to make well-informed decisions. This helps identify and address
inefficiencies, ultimately contributing to heightened customer satisfaction.

While these are some of our strategic initiatives, there are challenges stemming from a dependence on third-party logistics (3PL) and partner brands, including warehouses and stores, for order fulfillment within promised  delivery timelines. Addressing and minimising this dependency is an ongoing focus to ensure a seamless, efficient, and reliable supply chain  operation to consistently meet and surpass customer expectations.

 

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