In August 2020, the Tata Group announced that they are working on a super-app, a move likely to lock horns with the offerings of Jio umbrella.
Two months later, as part of their ambitious plan, the salt-to-software services conglomerate initiated a discussion to acquire a 50% stake in BigBasket for close to a $1 billion.
Now, as per the latest news, the proposed acquisition of the online grocery retailer by Tata Group’s digital arm Tata Digital has picked up the pace while on the other hand, Trent which is a group retail company shifted to an omnichannel route to scale faster.
So, what does this indicate? Well, the much-touted Tata SuperApp might just launch sooner than anticipated!
Tata SuperApp Launch In India
Tata Digital, with the SuperApp, wants to consolidate all of Tata Group’s consumer businesses under a singular platform. According to people in the know, Tata Digital’s decision to initiate acquisition discussions with BigBasket came after its plan to aggressively scale up the StarQuik (which is a platform of the grocery chain Starbazaar owned by Trent) failed.
As of now, Noel Tata, Trent Chairman has injected fresh investments in StarQuik in order for it to adopt an omnichannel strategy. Using these freshly infused funds, StarQuik has set up ‘dark stores’ which are small warehouses to fulfil online orders. Along with this, Westside, Trent’s apparel store, has also set up its own e-commerce platform.
In a statement about the same, Noel Tata said that StarQuick began its operations in 2017 well before Tata Digital came into existence and it will continue to be an omnichannel option for the Star customers as StarQuik majorly serves the customers who leverage the Star store network.
Noel Tata further said that they are excited to be part of Tata Digital’s upcoming super app which promises to help their Westside brand to connect with over a whopping 45 million user base of Tata.
Trent was one of the first Tata entities who agreed to Tata Digital’s terms of engagement and is currently actively engaged with Tata Digital to list all of their brand apps on its platform.
When it comes to StarQuik however, people in the now said that Tata Digital initiated talks about getting it on the super app for grocery retailing. But the scale up plan failed to fructify as it didn’t appeal to Noel Tata who believes to take a more conservative approach in retail wherein profitability is always kept in sight.
According to company executives, Tata Group Chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran’s strategy for Tata Digital is to tap scalable opportunities in the post-Covid scenario. Therefore he will most certainly look for external acquisitions if collaborations with existing groups fail as it did for StarQuik.
Lastly, Noel Tata believes that Trent too has an ‘aggressive growth’ agenda as well. However, online is simply one part of it and cash flow along with profitability are key factors they are focused on.
He also mentioned how Trent continued to remain on its track despite the increasing difficulties 2020 brought upon everybody and opened 25 Westside rand 75 Zudio stores in this financial year.
Now, how soon the super-app will be made accessible to the public and if it will stack up against Jio’s offerings, only time will tell. We will keep you updated. Until then, stay tuned.