Tata packs power brands in mega app to rival Amazon, Ambani

[MUMBAI] The US$103 billion Tata Group rolled out its long-awaited all-in-one e-commerce app allowing users to buy everything from apparel to airline tickets as the sprawling Indian conglomerate vies for a piece of the fiercely competitive sector currently dominated by Amazon.com, Walmart and Reliance Industries.

Mumbai-based Tata Digital's digital services platform, Tata Neu, which went live to consumers on Thursday (Apr 7), will have in-house brands including Croma, Westside, AirAsia India, the Taj chain of luxury hotels and BigBasket, according to the group's website.

Described as a "super-app" and in the pipeline since at least mid-2020, the website called it "a unified platform that connects several brands across the Tata universe like never before."

The 154-year-old Tata group, which makes luxury cars, trucks, air conditioners, smart watches, tea besides operating luxury hotels, airlines, utilities, departmental stores and the local Starbucks Corp. franchise, wants to leverage the diversity of its products and services to lure buyers in a country of almost 1.4 billion people, who are increasingly shopping online. India's e-retail segment is expected to be worth as much as US$140 billion by March 2026, Bain & Co estimates, and is the only large consumer market still open to foreign companies, making it a prize fight for global and local retail firms.

"Tata Neu is an exciting platform that gathers all our brands into one powerful app," Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chairman of the main holding company Tata Sons, said in a statement on LinkedIn. Airlines Vistara and the newly acquired Air India, watch maker Titan, jewelry brand Tanishq and automaker Tata Motors are some of the other Tata Group firms that are expected to join Neu soon, he said.

The all-in-one app also has a loyalty programme for retaining customers. Each brand on Tata Neu is "connected by a common reward called NeuCoins, which can be earned across all brands online and at physical locations and can be used similarly as well," according to the Website.

The e-commerce project was closely overseen by Chandrasekaran who has been championing the digitisation drive in the group. Pratik Pal, chief executive officer at Tata Digital, which developed Tata Neu, has helped with digital transformation at some of the world's largest retail chains including Walmart, Tesco, Target, Best Buy and Marks & Spencer Group.

Tata Neu is expected to give more firepower to the Indian conglomerate against entrenched rivals such as Amazon, billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance and Walmart-owned Flipkart. Tata Group, founded by Jamsetji Tata in 1868, that has 29 listed companies across ten sectors across steel, automobiles, technology, consumer retail, infrastructure, financial services, trading, defence, travel and tourism. BLOOMBERG


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