One of the largest conglomerates in India, the Tata Group is plotting an ambitious move to enter the e-commerce race in the country. The monumental empire with an astounding annual revenue of $113 billion is set to undergo a digital makeover in the coming months. Sources have revealed that the jewellery-to-salt brand is building an all-in-one application for its consumer products and services to establish an online presence in a market where the power of the internet is estimated to reach the hands of 55% of the Indian population by 2023, according to Cisco Systems Inc reports.
Application in the Making
The prototypes of the application are ready and anticipated to launch by the end of this calendar year or the beginning of 2021. It shall consolidate all of the Tata group’s consumer-driven businesses and existing online assets to make a one-stop for their products and services. The all-in-one aims to capitalize on the scope and scale of the Tata group that emerged from thriving businesses in dispersed sectors like air-conditioning, automobiles, accessories and tea. The colossal conglomerate also operates in the hospitality, airlines, utilities and insurance industry. In addition, it owns brands like Tetley and Jaguar Land Rover, a supermarket and a retail chain, Trent.
The digital transformation is spearheaded by Tata Digital Chief Executive Officer Pratik Pal who has been a part of Tata Consultancy Services Ltd for three decades. He worked in the capacity of Global Head of Retail at TCS and helped with the digital makeover of some of the world’s largest retail chains including Walmart, Tesco Plc, Aldi Inc, Best Buy Co., Target Corp and Marks & Spencer Group Plc.
Catching Up with Rivals
Tata is also strategizing to catch up with rivals like Amazon.com Inc., Walmart Inc.’s Flipkart and billionaire business magnate Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd., who have unveiled grandiose plans for India. Reliance raised more than $20 billion in three months from investors for its digital services platform, including deals with Facebook Inc. and Google, while Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has bet $6.5 billion on growth in the world’s second-most populous country.
In the last annual shareholders’ meeting of Jio Platforms Ltd, Mukesh Ambani outlined plans to offer a plethora of services, including a fifth-generation wireless network that can be launched as early as next year and a mega video-streaming platform that will bring Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, Amazon Prime and dozens of other TV channels under one umbrella. JioMart, the online shopping portal, and WhatsApp will be working closely to create growth opportunities for millions of Indian small businesses. While Jio Glass shall bring teachers and students together in 3D virtual rooms and conduct holographic classes through Jio Mixed Reality.
Amazon is doubling down on India’s large small-business base to remain a dominant player in the Indian e-commerce sector. In April, the company announced a new initiative ‘Local Shops on Amazon’ to help customers discover and buy products from their local shops. This initiative is expected to help local vendors supplement their footfall through a digital presence amidst this pandemic. Jeff Bezos on a trip to India earlier this year had said that the company plans to get over 10 million (1 crore) micro, small, and medium-sized sellers online by 2025. Bezos had also pledged $1 billion investment for digitalization of small businesses.
Flipkart also revealed its objective to bring an additional 200 million Indian shoppers online. “With the launch of Flipkart Wholesale, we will now extend our capabilities across technology, logistics, and finance to small businesses across the country. The acquisition of Walmart India..will strengthen our position to address the needs of kiranas and MSMEs uniquely,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Chief Executive Officer of Flipkart Group.
After the glorious updates in the e-commerce sector in India, this move by Tata Sons will be one to look out for. Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chairman of holding company Tata Sons Pvt. and CEO of Tata Consultancy Ltd, is now championing the digitization drive. At the Lalit Doshi Memorial Lecture in August, the perspicacious chairman of Tata Sons said digitization could positively impact 30 million jobs but would call for a lot more than digital imitations; it would mean rethinking and re-designing the economy to suits the country’s needs.