Tata Digital's SuperApp plan takes a rise
SuperApp plan that includes the proposed acquisition of online grocery retailer Big Basket has picked up speed, even as group retail company Trent has also taken a parallel but conservative “scale with profitability” omnichannel route.
With the SuperApp, Tata Digital plans to bring all the Tata Group consumer businesses on one platform. Tata Digital decided to acquire Big Basket after its discussions to aggressively scale up Starquik, the online platform of Trent-owned grocery chain Starbazaar for the SuperApp plan did not work out, people close to the group said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Tata Digital is now in the last leg of closing the Big Basket deal, said the sources. Meanwhile, Trent chairman Noel Tata has commissioned fresh investments to push the omnichannel strategy of the retailer. As part of this, Starquik has set up 'dark stores' — miniature warehouse-like spaces — to fulfil online orders. Trent’s apparel store Westside has also set up its own web store recently.
“Starquik began operations in 2017 with the objective of extending the reach of our Star stores well before Tata Digital was conceptualized. It will continue to be an omnichannel option for Star customers. Starquik generally serves its customers leveraging the Star store network," said Noel Tata.
The Trent chairman indicated that the retailer would have its own online channels along with offline, but also look at listing its products on Tata Digital’s platform.
“We are excited to be part of Tata Digital’s plans with its promise of connecting over 45 million Tata customers for our Westside brand. Trent has been one of the first Tata entities to agree terms of engagement with Tata Digital and we are actively engaged with Tata Digital to list all our brand apps on its platform,” Noel Tata said.
Tata Digital is part of group chairman N Chandrasekaran’s strategy of tapping scalable opportunities in a post-Covid world and, according to executives, he would look at external acquisitions if collaborations with group companies did not happen.
Trent has an aggressive growth agenda, said Noel Tata. But online is just one part of the strategy, and cash flow and profitability are key to it.
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