With stiff competition from online players, brick-and-mortar retailers are now looking to beef up their online presence through e-commerce, social media and mobile apps. “Buoyed by growth rates of more than 15%, large retailers are leveraging non-store channels to reach tier-2 and tier-3 cities and far-flung areas where they do not have a brick-and-mortar presence,” says a report from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on retail operations benchmarking.
And while most retailers have begun their multichannel journey with non-store revenue less than 3%, according to the report, they are hopeful of better gains.
In such an approach, a company is able to communicate and facilitate a purchase across various channels, integrating the physical stores with online websites, apps, tablets and social media. The customer can experience a brand seamlessly through this approach.
“Omni-channel is here to stay, as it offers the same benefits, value and shopping experience across formats, and at Croma we are providing consumers with products with the same prices across different formats. We have also started to include our website, cromaretail.com, in marketing campaigns to help us tap customers both online and offline,” says Ajit Joshi, MD & CEO, Infiniti Retail, which runs Croma.
Retail baron Kishore Biyani launched Big Bazaar Direct last year, which is a franchisee-based model where franchisees personally visit consumers and take orders for products on their tablets. The company is now aiming to have 50,000 franchisees by the end of this year, as per Big Bazaar Direct director Vivek Biyani.
Interestingly, in case of more than 70% of retailers surveyed by TCS, the CEO or COO drives the multichannel initiatives, indicating its strategic significance.
Shoppers Stop, which gets less than 2% of its sales from its website at present, has big plans for its online foray. “Over the next 24 months we will ramp up our online business and are working on a model that will enable us to become a bigger player in the entire online space,” says Govind Shrikhande, MD, Shoppers Stop.
Tata’s Croma, which launched its online operations in April 2012, is already clocking R80 lakh to R1 crore of