Tata group to launch e-commerce venture CLiQ on 27 May

2Tata CLiQ will initially offer consumers apparel, electronics and footwear products and later expand by adding more categories, brands and features

Tata Unistore, a Tata Industries incubated business venture, on Tuesday announced the launch of its e-commerce platform, Tata CLiQ.

It will open to consumers on 27 May across its website, mobile site and mobile apps (Android and iOS), the company said in a statement. At launch, Tata CLiQ will offer consumers apparel, electronics and footwear products. Over the next few months, it plans to expand by adding more categories, brands and features.

“Clique and Click came together to form the perfect name for our platform, which curates authentic and exclusive products for customers with impeccable taste. A name that says shopping online is now so easy and trustworthy, that all it takes is a click. The ‘Q’ in the logo represents a magnifying glass—a visual representation of the brand’s focus on curating only the best brands and products,” said Ashutosh Pandey, chief executive officer (CEO), Tata CLiQ.

In an interview with Mint on 6 August, 2015 Nirmalya Kumar, member of the group executive council at Tata Sons Ltd had said the e-commerce website will sell both Tata and non-Tata brands across lifestyle, electronics and other segments. Software services exporter Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) will build the backbone for the venture. The group has signed up 80 brands, which will be offered on its website as well as through omni-channel options.

The venture will be an omni-channel branded marketplace, which will connect the online and offline assets of companies. The experience for consumers will be different from that offered by pure-play e-commerce companies, such as Amazon India, Flipkart and Snapdeal. “What we have experienced so far is e-retail 1.0 with two different sets of people doing retail by themselves,” K.R.S. Jamwal, executive director, Tata Industries Ltd, which houses e-commerce initiatives of the conglomerate, in an interview in September.

Sreedhar Prasad, partner- e-commerce at KPMG India said Tatas could bring in a unique value proposition of an onmi-channel model with a hyper local type delivery format using their existing stores. “Their strong retail presence in the two key categories of electronics/cellphones and fashion can enable them in this type of fulfilment. Further, the brand promise of Tatas could attract a newer set of customers online, and generate loyalty from their vast employee base in India,” said Prasad.

E-tail in India is growing at a faster clip than brick-and-mortar retail. The share of modern trade will slip from 17% in 2013 to 13% in 2019, while that of e-commerce companies will jump from 2% to 11% in the same period, according to a February report published by property consultant and advisor Knight Frank India Pvt. Ltd and lobby group Retailers Association of India.

The e-commerce market will account for 2.5% of India’s gross domestic product by 2030, growing 15 times and reaching $300 billion, a Goldman Sachs report said in May. The current size of e-commerce is $20 billion.

Encouraged by the potential, conglomerates have been firming up plans for a slice of the fast expanding e-tailing sector. In September 2015, the Mahindra Group announced plans to launch its e-commerce venture, which will offer the entire range of Mahindra products and services. It will be operated through a separate wholly-owned subsidiary called e-Marketplace Pvt. Ltd.

In October 2015, the Aditya Birla Group launched a new online fashion store, joining the growing trend of brick-and-mortar companies moving online. The portal will offer shoppers brands from both the Aditya Birla Group and other companies. Reliance Industries Ltd is planning its own e-commerce business.

An analyst at a consulting firm who declined to be identified said, “the more, the merrier,” of large firms entering the e-tail sector in India. There is enough scope for everyone as the market is still very much untapped, he said pointing out that the entry of the Tata Group will not nibble into other’s share but only expand the market.