Early this week we carried the news that large offline retailer Croma has gone online and that the ecommerce game has just seemed to begun. Where ecommerce has always been about better deals and higher discounts, offline retailers have never fallen in the purview. But now it’s a different ball game altogether. It’s exciting to realise that the ecommerce competition is getting stiffer and bigger.
While we were discussing the effects and the need for big brand retailers to join the ecommerce bandwagon, we spoke to Ajit Joshi (AJ), MD & CEO, Infinity Retail (Promoted by the Tata Group and owns Croma). Below are excerpts of the interview.
Q – Why did Croma decide to hop online now when there are already established players like Flipkart and India plaza?
AJ – We have successfully completed five years of operations and emerged as the most preferred retailer in the CDIT (consumer durables and tech products) category. There is a great demand for Croma products in Tier II & Tier III towns but the lack of good distribution channels and real estate has prevented us from setting up stores. We decided to cater to this customer; with e-commerce growing steadily and internet penetration increasing we have arrived at the right time. With e-commerce we expect to cover 319 cities and 24 states with nearly 6,000 pin codes across the country.
Having given India the opportunity to experience the best consumer electronics and durables through the country’s first large format specialist retail chain, we believe it is a natural step for us to build on our success and deliver a robust online experience to consumers across the country.
Q – What are the kinds of deals you plan to give your customers? Will it be lower than competitive sites?
AJ – Ours is an online retail model that is different from the deal-sites. We will not compromise on the quality at the cost of quality and service. Having said that, we have a strong relationship with most of the brands we partner with and we will come up with exciting deals that become an instant hit with our customers. Some of our partners include premium brands like Apple, Bose, Samsung and many more.
Q – First look of the site makes it look exactly like Flipkart. Same offerings in terms of free shipping, money back, easy returns etc. What is your USP? Why would I want to break my loyalty with Flipkart or any other e-commerce site and come to you?
AJ – Our focus will be to provide an unparalleled user-friendly buying experience to our customers. The content is rich with comprehensive buying guides, expert reviews and enhanced product experience. From the moment they visit our website to the point of delivery at their doorstep, we have paid extra attention to detail to ensure they get a hassle free experience which prompts them to choose cromaretail.com every time they want to purchase their favourite electronic goods. We are also the first exclusive online portal in India to offer products from Bose and Apple.
Q – Are you offering any benefits for return customers?
AJ- We don’t have a loyalty program as of now but check-out is faster for customers who have registered with us since their data is already available with us.
Well, it certainly seems Croma has a well planned strategy to aggressively build themselves on the online front as well. What the future beholds, only time will tell. For now, customers get a wider range of products and sites to choose from. Take your pick.