Marking The Hours With Gopal Asthana, CEO Of Tata CliQ To Understand The Rising Tide Of Pre-Owned Luxury Watch Market

THM Desk
1 Apr 2024 |
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The pre-owned luxury watch market in India has been experiencing a significant surge in recent years. As the affluent middle class in the country continues to grow and gain more disposable income, the demand for high-end timepieces has skyrocketed. However, the steep prices of brand-new luxury watches from brands like Rolex, Omega, and Patek Philippe have made many aspiring watch enthusiasts turn to the pre-owned market. This has led to the emergence of several reputable pre-owned watch dealers and online platforms that authenticate and facilitate the buying and selling of pre-loved luxury watches. 

Tata CLiQ Luxury is the pioneer in the luxury e-commerce space in the country. Since its launch in 2016, the platform has witnessed immense growth. As the leader in the omni-channel luxury sector in India, the platform has enabled and encouraged the shift in buying luxury online. And now with their ReLoved Store, they are venturing into the pre-owned market. 

We caught up with Gopal Asthana, CEO of Tata CliQ to understand more about the rising tide of pre-owned markets and more. 

Gopal Asthana, CEO, Tata CLiQ.JPG

THM: Walk us through the behind-the-scenes process of curating pre-owned luxury items for the ReLoved store. What criteria do you use to select items? What inspired you to launch this?

Gopal Asthana: Globally, pre-owned market is gaining a lot of popularity and has witnessed significant growth in recent years. At Tata CLiQ Luxury,  our journey to launch the ReLoved Store began with an extensive market study that allowed us to understand evolving consumer preferences, which indicated how there’s growing acceptance for pre-owned products in India as well. Recognising a market gap for a reliable player with a trusted name in this space, we decided to introduce this segment on the platform. We further identified the categories we would like to launch in this segment and kick-started it with watches.

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Our meticulous curation process ensures that each pre-owned product aligns with the dynamic demands of our discerning customers. This curation process involves the careful selection of top brands and products based on criteria such as product condition, brand reputation, and market demand. The inspiration behind launching ReLoved was deeply rooted in addressing this market need and establishing Tata CLiQ Luxury as a trusted player in the pre-owned luxury segment.

THM: When launching ReLoved, what challenges did you face in terms of changing consumer mindsets around pre-owned luxury, especially in India? How did you overcome them?

Gopal Asthana: During the launch of ReLoved, we anticipated challenges in changing consumer mindsets around pre-owned luxury. To address this, we took a proactive approach by providing answers to some of the frequently asked questions about pre-owned products in the store. In addition, assisted sales, which is our dedicated customer service where experts can address product-related queries and guide consumers in their purchases, was also enabled for this. This team helps consumers with videos of the product, shares recommendations and address queries they may have before making a purchase. This has significantly contributed to alleviating the concerns of customers who might otherwise be hesitant to buy pre-owned luxury products online.

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THM: Why do you think the pre-owned luxury market is ripe for disruption in India? How much of an edge does Tata CLiQ have here?

Gopal Asthana: The pre-owned category in India has witnessed a significant surge in popularity and acceptance in recent years, reflecting a shift in consumer attitudes towards sustainable choices. This trend can be attributed to various factors, i.e., consumers' desire to own rare and unique products and be more sustainable in their purchases. As the country experiences economic growth and an expanding middle class, pre-owned allows individuals to access products that might be out of reach in the new market, thereby democratising access to a broader range of goods. In addition, the market is currently fragmented and lacks organisational structure and transparency, thus presenting an opportunity for a trusted name like Tata to fill the gap.

Since its launch in 2016, Tata CLiQ Luxury, India’s premier luxury lifestyle platform, has pioneered slow luxury. The platform embraces the brand philosophy of Slow Commerce to offer an elevated online luxury shopping experience. We’ve advocated for meaningful and responsible consumption with access to some of the most renowned brands across the world. Our commitment to a curated selection and authenticity is paramount. Given the opportunity the pre-owned segment offers, Tata CLiQ Luxury launched the ReLoved Store by bringing on board its first partner, Jay’s Watch Store, which is a leading destination for pre-owned luxury watches known for its collection of top-tier timepieces that its in-house experts have thoroughly vetted.

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The ReLoved Store aims to be a reliable guide, urging consumers to make conscious choices by presenting a thoughtfully curated assortment of rare pre-owned timepieces from distinguished brands renowned for their artistry and heritage, including Rolex, Omega, and others. The store encourages consumers to 'Relove Timeless Treasures’ as it invites them to discover and explore the stories of each product. In addition to the authenticity certificate from Jay’s Watch Store, which verifies the watches through invoices, past ownership history, and client information, the platform offers an elevated and seamless experience for consumers, which includes assisted selling.

The launch emphasises Tata CLiQ Luxury’s commitment to redefining luxury while embracing sustainability by serving as a trusted platform for authenticated luxury that maximises the lifecycle of the product.

THM: The watch category is vast. How are you personalizing the watch buying experience for customers on Tata CLiQ Luxury? Any tech-led solutions like authentication services, blockchain technology (for provenance verification), appraisal pricing, and customer service? 

Gopal Asthana: Currently, we offer personalised assistance throughout the watch-buying process, from selection of the watch to payment processes. Our future plans include the introduction of tech-enabled authentication services in collaboration with partners, enhancing the overall customer experience.
THM: What role does e-commerce have to play in the growth of the luxury retail market?

Gopal Asthana: Consumer behaviour and purchasing habits have evolved, which is reflected in how people shop. There’s been an increase in digital adoption among people who now understand the convenience and accessibility offered by e-commerce, as well as the safety and ease of returning products, which has encouraged people to switch to online platforms to shop.

People have embraced this new way of shopping in luxury as well. As a result, it has also helped the country’s luxury e-commerce boom. This growth is being fuelled by a combination of factors such as ease of access, trust in online shopping, excellent online customer experience (both pre-and post-sales), and the greater reach of online platforms. Luxury brands today are leveraging digital commerce and strategizing to expand their business beyond major cities given the wealth is distributed across the country.

They are building the platform as a go-to destination for luxury shoppers that caters to every aspect of their lifestyle. The aim has been to build a luxury experience without diluting it. Shopping for luxury is an experience, and at Tata CLiQ Luxury, the efforts are focused on consistently providing customers with an unmatched shopping experience. They do this through careful curation of brands, mindfully developed brand stores, luxury delivery, unboxing experiences designed to bring luxury shopping to the customer’s doorstep, and personalised privilege programs managed by attentive relationship managers.