The Indian Conglomerate Tata Group, a $103 billion company with operations spanning multiple industries from salt, software, telecommunications to steel, is poised to embrace consumer technology. The 154-year-old giant worked – and tested internally – its audacious plan to offer a range of services from e-commerce, groceries to hotel stay in a single app to take on Flipkart, Amazon and Mukesh, property of Walmart. Ambani’s Jio Platforms. The culmination of years of effort, called the Tata Neu “superapp”, was unveiled to the public on Thursday.
Tata Neu brings together nearly a dozen properties belonging to the Tata group or in which it has a significant stake. Services include online grocer BigBasket, electronics store Croma, pharmacy service 1mg, luxury brand Cliq, streaming app Tata Play, as well as ticketing with AirAsia and food and drink with the Starbucks coffee chain. The app also includes Tata Pay, the giant’s own UPI payment service, which debuts with the launch of Neu.
Tata has been working on the app for at least three years, but has been planning to play a bigger role in e-commerce and start-up investments for at least six years. Media outlet The Information reported on earlier talks between Tata and Alibaba that ended unceremoniously after the surprising departure of Cyrus Mistry, then chairman of the Tata Group.
Within the company, many executives were still not on the same page as in January about how Tata Group plans to position the app, according to two people familiar with the matter. TechCrunch gained early access to a February release of the app, which was plagued with bugs and strange design flaws at the time. The new version of the app – 2.0 – sees a significant improvement, according to Thursday’s tests.
Tata Neu marks a milestone in the group’s ambition to tackle the growing universe of digital services like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Walmart to the empire of local billionaire Mukesh Ambani. At stake is India’s online retail market, which is estimated to be worth nearly $150 billion over the next four years.
“Tata Neu is an exciting platform that brings all of our brands together in one powerful app. Combining our traditional consumer-focused approach with modern tech ethics, it’s a whole new way to experience the wonderful world of Tata. said N. Chandrasekaran (pictured above), chairman of the Tata Group, in a statement.
“Our goal is to make the lives of Indian consumers simpler and easier. The power of choice, seamless experience and fidelity will be at the center of Tata Neu, delivering a powerful One Tata experience.
“As the Tata Neu app goes live today, I am proud to see so many of our trusted and loved brands Air Asia, BigBasket, Croma, IHCL, Qmin, Starbucks, Tata 1Mg, Tata CLiQ, Tata Play , Westside on the Tata Platform Neu already, and soon Vistara, Air India, Titan, Tanishq, Tata Motors.
To incentivize customers, Tata offers them “NeuCoins” as a reward, where one NeuCoin equals one Indian rupee. The company plans to phase out different loyalty offerings from BigBasket, 1mg and other services, and use NeuCoins universally across all of its services, a person familiar with the matter said.
Rewards are one of the Tata Group’s main goals as it tries to create a ‘connection layer’ for its services which operate across a wide range of categories. If successful, the giant is well positioned to create the largest loyalty program in the country. In addition to rewards, the company also offers cashback and deep discounts on items across all of its properties on the app.
This is a developing story. More soon…