Croma to launch voice-controlled home solution products by Sept-Oct

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In talks with Amazon for using Alexa in its devices

Croma, the omni-channel electronics and home appliances retailer from Tata Group, is planning to launch voice-controlled home solution products such as speakers, curtain openers and lights. The company is in talks with Amazon for using Alexa (virtual assistant) in its devices.

According to Avijit Mitra, ED & CEO, Croma, the company is likely to launch some products around the festive season in September-October this year. The offerings will be through Croma’s private label.

“We are working with Amazon to make Alexa available in Croma. We are trying to figure out where all we want to introduce it. We could start with speakers, curtain openers and lights,” Mitra told BusinessLine on the sidelines of opening Croma’s first store in the city on Tuesday.

The voice-controlled devices could find use in both residential and commercial applications.

Private label

Croma has a range of products, including refrigerator, air-conditioner, television, washing machine and microwave under its private label. It also offers a range of kitchen appliances and other products such as earphones, headphones and Bluetooth speakers.

Private labels account for nearly 6-7 per cent of its total sales in value terms, while in volume terms it is higher at around 10-12 per cent. Croma is likely to clock a turnover of 4,800 crore as of March 2019.

“Nearly 20-30 per cent of our business in some categories comes from private labels. For instance, in categories such as TV and AC, the share of private label is around 20 per cent, while in case of appliances and entertainment it is higher at around 40 per cent,” he said.

The products under Croma’s private label are priced at least around 10-15 per cent lower as compared with those offered by other brands.

Expansion plans

Cromais present across 29 cities and is looking to foray into 15-20 new cities this year. Plans are afoot to increase its presence in around 200 cities in the next three years. The retailer currently has 130 stores and plans to add 65 more stores this year.

Out of 130, only one is a franchisee, while the remaining are all company-owned. Croma is working on the franchise model on a pilot basis to understand how it would pan out for the company.

“The first store in Mumbai was set up on a franchise model on a pilot basis, we are also planning to have another larger store on franchise to get the model correct before scaling it up,” he said.