Home / Industry / Retail /  All Godrej group firms to increase focus on e-commerce

Mumbai: Joining the corporate rush to sell goods and services online, officials of the Godrej group on Tuesday said all group companies were focusing on the online platform, which will be a strategically important distribution channel for the group.

“All Godrej businesses will foray into e-commerce, either directly or through marketplaces," Tanya Dubash, executive director and chief brand officer of Godrej group told reporters.

At online marketplaces, the products displayed are sold by multiple third parties, while the marketplace operator processes the transactions. Flipkart and Snapdeal are examples of such marketplaces.

A couple of Godrej businesses are already in e-commerce and others are testing the waters. The group’s retail chain Nature’s Basket sells online, while the appliances business has been selling washing machines and refrigerators on various e-commerce websites.

For Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (GCPL), the packaged consumer goods division, the focus is on premium products for online sales. “FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) as a category is still a very nascent one in Indian e-commerce," said Sunil Kataria, chief operating officer of sales and marketing for Saarc at GCPL. GCPL has created a dedicated e-commerce team within its sales team to focus on the channel. For packaged consumer goods, the focus is only on marketplaces and there is no plan for a company-owned platform, said Kataria.

Godrej Properties Ltd, the group’s real estate business, is also keen on online sales. “Even today, almost 25% of the business is coming through the digital medium," said Girish Shah, executive vice-president of Godrej Properties, commenting on the number of customers who compare properties online before buying.

Now, the company is also looking to sell homes online. “We are in talks with Snapdeal, Flipkart and Amazon," said Shah. Godrej will start selling homes online on Snapdeal and on the company’s own portal by the end of December, he added. It is also looking at starting its own online payment gateway.

The company has earmarked two projects, one each in Chennai and Kolkata, for online sales. Initially, the focus will be on selling smaller homes, he said.

In the appliances business, e-commerce accounts for just 2-3% of overall sales, but it is a big area of focus, said Kamal Nandi, business head and executive vice-president of Godrej Appliances. The company is active on Facebook, which is another important channel for the company, he said. The company is also focusing on developing a mobile app. The appliances business also has its own e-commerce platform.

Some Godrej companies are also looking at creating products to be sold exclusively online. The security business, which sees 7% of its sales coming in through e-commerce, is an example. “We were the first ones in India to start selling security products online and we are developing products exclusively for the online channel," said Mehernosh B. Pithawalla, associate vice-president of Godrej Security Solutions.

For Godrej, the differentiation on e-commerce will not just be on price but on customer experiences and services, said Nandi. “We want to create a whole ecosystem around e-commerce as we believe that experience is the key and not just price," he said.

Swaraj Singh Dhanjal
" Based in Mumbai, Swaraj Singh Dhanjal is responsible for Mint’s corporate news coverage. For the past eight years he has been writing on the biggest deals in private equity, venture capital, IPO market and corporate mergers and acquisitions. An engineer and an MBA, he started his journalism career in 2014 with Mint. "
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