Kiki Challenge lost to dabbing lost to flossing. These dancing trends didn’t necessarily die out in that order, but if they had corpses, they would have piled one on top of the other. The head spins thinking how quickly things are becoming irrelevant. In this accelerated digital world, should you even try, if you are a brick-and-mortar anything?
This is the story of a brand that tried and is winning. Settle in, it is as comforting as a cup of hot chocolate on a winter evening.
Enter Croma. Well, it really entered the retail scene more than a decade ago. It opened its first store in 2006, as a retail chain run by Tata Group’s subsidiary Infiniti Retail. This was the beginning of modern retail in consumer electronics in India. Till then, we bought our televisions and washing machines from the neighbourhood store or the few multi-city chains such as Viveks and Vijay Sales.
There was no brand that went national like Croma did. “We were at the forefront of the migration of desktops to laptops, CRT (cathode-ray tube) to LCD (liquid crystal dis-play) and then LED (light-emitting diode) TVs, and phones to smart-phones,” says Ritesh Ghosal, CMO at Infiniti Retail (Croma).
E-commerce came to India in 2007 but it got aggressive only in 2012. Its sales went from $6.3 billion in 2011 to $14 billion in 2012, on the back of discounts and offers. This was also the year Croma was hoping for a turnaround. “By 2011-12, we had 100 odd stores and were on the verge of becoming profitable in spite of the emergence of numerous competitors in the offline space. Traditional electronics retailers had re-invented their showrooms and new competitors were opening shops; everyone managed to create showrooms that looked like ours, but none were able to match our selling process,” claims Ghosal. The retailer was riding a high just when online sellers entered the race.