Tata Steel unveils India’s first organised steel retail store

by David Fleschen

Tata Steel, India’s largest steel manufacturer, today, launched its steel retail store ‘steeljunction’ in a new avatar with an aim to create new paradigms in steel retailing for the ‘B2C’ consumers. This unique outlet will provide a ‘one stop destination’ for consumers intending to go ‘steel shopping’.

Inaugurated by Tata Steel CEO & MD Mr. T. V. Narendran, the store will showcase steel products catering to four consumer segments - Home Décor & Gifting, Home Building, Home Making and Tools & Implements. Located in a premium Kolkata area, this 6,000-sq. ft. store promises to offer a unique steel shopping experience, better quality products, greater time and money value to customers through a comprehensive product range, services and in-store facilities.

Tata Steel continues to invest in stronger customer relationships, distribution networks and brands that focus on value-added segments such as retail, and help to strengthen the revenue profile. steeljunction will feature premium branded products of Tata Steel including Tata Tiscon, Tata Pravesh, Tata Wiron, Tata Colour, Tata Agrico and Durashine. Apart from showcasing its own branded products, Tata Steel has also collaborated with its vendor partners to feature their premium branded products in the home making space at this store.

While the steeljunction store will promote the look and feel of products, customer can easily book these products online through the Company’s E-selling platform ‘Aashiyana’, that clocked a business of over Rs 100 crore within one year of its launch. ‘Aashiyana’ is the online retail platform of Tata Steel that empowers home builders with relevant information, inspirational ideas and reliable contacts at their fingertips.

In order to achieve the Company’s objective and constant endeavour to create superior customer experience, the Company has adopted best-in-class manufacturing practices, invested in creating brands, developed products keeping customers at the centre, and focussed on environment and safety. Furthermore, the Company is steadily venturing into a new gamut of solutions and ready to use products for further value creation.

Mr. T. V. Narendran, CEO & MD, Tata Steel, said, “steeljunction is integral to our strategic focus on the retail segment. It is aimed at providing a differentiated steel purchase experience to discerning customers. Steel is the most sustainable metal with diverse applications. This initiative will give a fillip to consumption of steel as products will be made available from more accessible locations.

The Company has a large retail business that leverages an extensive network of over 200 distributors and 12,000+ dealers and a strong portfolio of brands to sell branded steel across the country. This segment is relatively insulated from the international cycles and provides strong cash flows.

The core purpose of steeljunction has remained the same since 2005. It is to provide a touch-and-feel experience to its consumers, including consultation on the right choice of product for their home building and home making needs. With Tata Steel’s foray into digital via www.aashiyana.tatasteel.com, steeljunction offers a physical store support in deliveries and order management”, said Mr. Peeyush Gupta, Vice President - Steel (Marketing & Sales), Tata Steel.

It merits mention that steeljunction has the distinction of being India’s first organised steel retail store that was set up way back in 2005. Products on offer in the store showcased the versatility of steel, from the aspects of functionality to aesthetics. Over the last few years, the ‘Company-owned, Company-operated’ store has clocked an average turnover of Rs 40 cr per annum, besides providing retail customers with a unique steel shopping experience.

If pioneering steel-making in India was a pathbreaking step by Tata Steel then de-commoditising steel is a quantum leap. Tata Steel has been a pioneer in introducing brands like Tata Steelium - the world’s first branded Cold Rolled Steel, Tata Shaktee, Tata Tiscon, and many others years ago.

Branding is only one of the many initiatives taken by Tata Steel towards unlocking customer value and product optimisation. Tata Steel also made changes in its distribution system and introduced the hub and spoke model to reduce expenditure on logistics.

Tata Steel's branded products, retails and solutions business grew by 30% year-on-year during the last fiscal. The Company achieved 3.9 MnT annual sales of branded products; brands like Tata Tiscon and Tata Astrum achieved higher sales of 1.43 MnT and 1.52 MnT, respectively.

Tata Steel has further strengthened its position in Service & Solutions space by providing better consumer connect and experience. Since inception, 1,00,000 units of Tata Pravesh have been installed and over 10,000 consumers have been served. Last fiscal, the turnover from Tata Pravesh Doors and Windows have increased by ~80% as compared to previous year. Further, another premium Services & Solutions brand - ‘Nest-In’ has doubled its business during financial year 2018-19 compared to previous year.

The steel industry is cyclical in nature. In order to insulate itself from this cyclicality, the Company is focusing on strengthening the branded consumer business and downstream product portfolio. Tata Steel has embarked on Services & Solutions (‘S&S’) business to reduce the impact of steel cyclicality. Pravesh and Nest In are examples of our offering in S&S.

These businesses are seeing significant growth. Leveraging our deep knowledge of customer needs and ability to execute insight-driven innovation, the Company believes that this portfolio will provide it with significant competitive advantage in future. Tata Steel plans for strong growth in S&S and these businesses can contribute 20% of its revenue going forward.

Source and Photo: Tata Steel

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